Overwhelmed at Work: Tips to Decrease Your Stress and Anxiety Levels

No matter what your job is, we all inevitably face a period of increased workload. Whether your job has seasonal increases, such as a shop during the holiday gift rush, or someone just left the company and you took on their previous responsibilities, we can all struggle with the feeling of being overwhelmed at work.

So how do you combat the symptoms so you avoid complete burnout?

Here are some preventative and crisis steps you can take to alleviate the stress that comes with being overworked.

Ask for Help

On some level, being stressed at work on occasion is to be expected. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you have a pressing deadline or huge presentation to prepare for, and certain levels of stress are normal. However, this isn’t something you should feel on a daily basis.

If you do have a large project on your plate and you feel like you can’t handle it on your own, talking to your boss about asking coworkers for help is the first step. Your team members are there for a reason.

You are all working towards a common goal, and in a healthy work environment, you succeeding is them succeeding. Pinpoint which tasks could be better managed by someone else and ask them to share the workload with you.

If someone has more experience with one of the tasks on your to do list, it will actually be more efficient for them to step in, rather than you struggling through it on your own. If writing isn’t your strong suit, it will take you twice as long to write the copy for a brochure that eventually won’t be as good as the one the team writer can create in half the time.

Your coworkers are excellent resources to tap into. When they have a project that’s overwhelming them in the future, they can rely on you in return.

Analyze Your Work Life Balance

If you aren’t taking steps to rejuvenate yourself on a consistent basis, your work style is unsustainable and will lead to inevitable burnout. Waiting to do self care until you’re overwhelmed won’t help you. It’s much healthier to take proper care of yourself before you hit your breaking point.

If you’re working too much, you can’t take the time to properly recharge. And this isn’t just about getting enough sleep. If all you do is work, then you aren’t recharging your spirit. Spending time with loved ones or working on a passion project will revive you and give you fresh energy to bring to work everyday.

Here are some methods you can use to audit your relationship with work.

  • Take a look at your time management skills. Are you staying on task so when the clock hits 5, you can leave your work in the office? If you find that you’re wasting time on your phone, it might be because you’re tired from chronic burnout and can’t focus. If you make those hard boundaries and only leave work for the office, you could have a better chance at finishing your assignments without having to bring them home.
  • Set boundaries by working only during office hours. Turn off your work notifications on your phone while you’re at home. Make it clear to coworkers that you’re more than willing to invest in them during work hours, but you need to focus on yourself when you’re off the clock.
  • When was the last time you took a personal day? If you can’t think of a time you dropped work to focus on something you wanted to do, you need to change that ASAP. No, taking the day off to get your car serviced doesn’t count. If you’re hitting a slump and feeling stressed, one of the best things you can do is take a mental health day to do something you love.
  • Take a look at your response to stress. Is your typical response to higher workloads to work harder? Maybe the best thing to do is take a step back and recharge. You aren’t going to stop feeling overwhelmed if you continue to push through whatever is causing the stress in the first place. Take a short break. Whether it’s a 5 minute meditation session or a day off from work, you need to find something that reduces stress for you. There’s no one way to get rid of feelings of being overwhelmed, so find what works best for you.

Always Feeling Overwhelmed at Work?

If day after day, week after week, month after month, you are consistently feeling overworked in your job, you need to look at the underlying issue responsible for this feeling.

  • Is your office chronically understaffed?
  • Do you not have the resources you need to succeed?
  • Is your boss unsupportive?
  • Are you given unrealistic expectations?

If asking these questions reveals that you’re stuck in a toxic workplace, it’s time to start submitting resumes elsewhere. You deserve to work somewhere where you feel supported and your talents are valued.

Challenge Yourself to Pursue the Career of Your Dreams

Looking to change your job? Your career? Your industry? WBD is here to help. We believe that you should work somewhere that makes you feel fulfilled and purposeful: not somewhere that makes you consistently overwhelmed at work.

If you want to talk to industry professionals about redirecting your current career along a different path, this group of women will support you every step of the way. Check out our available memberships and invest in yourself and your growth today.

Sarah Margaret Henry
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Published in Career, Featured Articles

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