Back to work? How to Deal with Feeling Overwhelmed

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Back to work? How to Deal with Feeling Overwhelmed

Posted by: Phil Kelly
Category: Articles

It can be difficult to switch off from work.

A lot of the time we do actively want to be engaged and aware of what is going on. It is important to many of us to be accessible, up to speed and to feel connected to your colleagues.

But, while staying informed is important, constant exposure to emails, calls and messages can take a toll on your wellbeing. It can easily contribute to feelings of being overwhelmed

As home and mobile-working practices becoming increasingly commonplace, it can feel impossible to disengage from work. Living in the digital age, our exposure to other responsibilities is also greater than ever. We are consistently contactable and visible, and constantly absorbing information and answering to others – for good and for bad.

Left unbridled, these levels exposure can easily contribute to feelings of overwhelm.

Whatever may be triggering to you, we wanted to share some general tips on how you can find a balance between being on top of things and not overwhelmed.

Regulate Your Accessibility

Regulating how much information you access and consume means making the conscious decision to take “time outs” from the screens. Alternatively, you may have noticed a pattern around the negative impacts you are experiencing. For example, do you tend to feel more negatively if you read emails first thing in the morning? or when the children have just come home from school? or during periods of increased general stress? If so, you may wish to limit your availability at certain times of day, in particular contexts or both.

With home and mobile-working practices becoming increasingly commonplace, it can feel impossible to disengage and close off from work.

Keep calm before carrying on

Feeling overwhelmed can also cause an increase in negative emotions, such as irritation and anger. Because you are already so busy, anything else that might affect you emotionally or mentally aggravated. One deafly toned email can send you over the edge.

In these instances, it is important to step back and to give yourself time to not think emotionally, but rationally.

Stepping away from the screen and redirecting your energy into a present-moment task – even something as simple as making a cup of tea or going for walk around the block – can help you to feel calmer and to curb an urge to react in a way you would later regret.

Be realistic

Sometimes we unintentionally overcommit or over-promise at work. Often, we do this by underestimating how long a task may take, or how complex a project really is. We then find ourselves playing catch up or feeling like we are not doing a good job.

If this is a familiar feeling for you, try to actively notice and record how long you are spending on things. Include how much time you spend in meetings, answering emails, organising documents, and other parts of your job.

You can then have a realistic, practical gage for how long work takes you, allowing you to better plan your time in the future.

If it turns out your responsibilities add up to an unreasonable number of hours, it could be time to have a conversation with your manager.

Make sure you are practicing ‘self-care’.

‘Self-care’ is such a common phrase these days, it is easy to dismiss and roll your eyes at. BUT investing time in your physical care can help provide you with the best chance to react positively to stressful situations. Healthy body, healthy mind.

Try to eat healthy meals, get regular – but not excessive – exercise and maintain a good sleeping pattern. Remember the emphasis is on health, not weight loss or other potentially negative drivers. Similarly, take care of your mental health by striving for that positive work life balance, practising mindfulness, and doing things you genuinely enjoy.

Share your feelings

It is so important to recognise the value of positive social support and to recognise that seeking help is a positive and strong step. The past couple of years have been difficult for many workplaces – lots of organisations are still adapting to post-pandemic modes of operation.

It’s important to remember you are not alone and your feelings and emotions are entirely valid; it is natural to feel concerned, apprehensive, and stressed at times. Take time to talk to supportive people, your colleagues or reach out to a coach or mentor. You may well discover they also share your concerns.


For more advice, guidance and support on your professional development, get in touch.

Author: Phil Kelly
An award-winning business owner and TED presenter, Phil lives and breaths performance. Having designed and delivered successful training packages across various industries worldwide, he now spends most of his time within business development and consulting. Phil Kelly