A booth with soothing lights, aromatherapy and massages greeted journalists as they approached the stairs leading to the NABJ-NAHJ Convention and Career Fair career expo. There Lauren Hogan offered a zen oasis and the promise of a brief pause between panels.
“This is a space to take a moment and relax in the midst of the conference,” Hogan said.
While the emotional weight of being a Black or Hispanic journalist is not discussed enough, the challenges they face can have an impact on their mental and physical health. That’s why prioritizing self care and wellness is one of the most important things, Hogan said.
“There is so much craziness that is going on in the field that it is important to just take a break,” she added.
Hogan is the associate director of communication of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which focuses on the health and wellness to the Black community. She has worked with the organization for 6 years. She likes that the job allows her to help other people.
“At the end of the day, even though I am working in communications, I know that the work that I am doing is actually impacting people and having a positive effect on them,” she said.
And Hogan practices what she preaches. She even received a massage at the booth.
“Self care is highly important because if you don’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of others?” said Hogan.
Claudia Rivera Cotto is completing a masters degree in investigative journalism at the University of Missouri. She works as a teaching assistant for cross-cultural journalism as well as research assistant for the Watchdog Writers group. Reach her at claudia.riveracotto13 [at] gmail [dot] com and on Twitter at @claudiam_rivera.