Coping with Overwhelm: Strategies for Employees
March 13, 2024

In the fast-paced and demanding world of modern work, it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed. Whether it’s a heavy workload, tight deadlines, or a barrage of emails, the feeling of being swamped can quickly take its toll on our mental and emotional well-being. However, it’s crucial to recognize that overwhelm is a common experience and there are strategies that employees can employ to cope with it effectively.

Understanding Overwhelm

Before diving into strategies, it’s important to understand what overwhelm actually is. Overwhelm occurs when the demands placed on us exceed our ability to cope with them. This can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and a sense of being unable to keep up. While occasional feelings of overwhelm are normal, chronic overwhelm can have serious consequences for both mental and physical health.

Strategies for Coping with Overwhelm

1. Prioritize Tasks

One of the most effective ways to combat overwhelm is to prioritize tasks. Take a step back and assess what needs to be done immediately and what can wait. Break down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps and tackle them one at a time. By focusing on the most important tasks first, you can regain a sense of control and reduce feelings of overwhelm.

2. Practice Time Management

Effective time management can go a long way in reducing overwhelm. Set aside specific blocks of time for different tasks and stick to them as much as possible. Avoid multitasking, as this can actually decrease productivity and increase feelings of stress. Instead, focus on one task at a time and give it your full attention.

3. Learn to Say No

Many of us have a tendency to overcommit ourselves, saying yes to every request that comes our way. However, learning to say no is crucial for protecting our time and energy. Be realistic about what you can and can’t take on, and don’t be afraid to decline requests that will only add to your overwhelm.

4. Take Breaks

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be tempting to push through and keep working non-stop. However, this approach is not sustainable in the long run and can actually make overwhelm worse. Instead, make sure to take regular breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. Even just a few minutes away from your work can make a big difference in how you feel.

5. Practice Self-Care

Self-care is essential for managing overwhelm and maintaining overall well-being. Make sure to prioritize activities that help you relax and recharge, whether it’s exercise, meditation, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing hobbies. Taking care of your physical and mental health will better equip you to handle the challenges of work.

6. Seek Support

Don’t be afraid to reach out for support when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Whether it’s talking to a trusted colleague, manager, or mental health professional, sharing your feelings can help lighten the load. You may also find that others have valuable insights or strategies for coping with overwhelm that you hadn’t considered.

Feeling overwhelmed at work is a common experience, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and there are strategies you can use to cope effectively. By prioritizing tasks, practicing time management, learning to say no, taking breaks, practicing self-care, and seeking support, you can reduce feelings of overwhelm and regain a sense of control over your work and your life. Remember to be patient with yourself and give yourself permission to take care of your well-being.

If you would like to get in touch to see how we can best support your staff wellbeing you can contact or reach out to Marina directly via LinkedIn:  Marina Sabolova.