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How to Overcome Overwhelm at Work - Know the Signs

Ask a resilience expert:
Signs of Overwhelm at Work

Ask a resilience expert,  Jenn DeWall Denver based Resilience & Confidence Expert and Speaker

3 Signs You Are Overwhelmed— and What to Do About it! How to Overcome Overwhelm


Have things been hectic in your life lately? I know things have been pretty fast-paced in my life these days! Modern life during a pandemic is complicated. Lines are blurred between work and home, there are upsetting headlines in the news, and making ends meet is tougher than usual. If you aren’t feeling quite like yourself these days— you are not alone! You might be overwhelmed like so many of us are right now. So how do we know if our stress is starting to become chronic and might lead to overwhelm or burnout? 

3 Signs of Overwhelm to Watch Out For:

  1. You are experiencing unusual aches, pains, dizziness or frequent illness. If you notice you have been feeling new aches and pains or experiencing unexplained dizziness throughout the day—it could be chronic stress. Constant stress and tension take a big toll on your immune and nervous systems. Maybe you are carrying stress in your shoulders or getting headaches from too much screen time. These unpleasant symptoms might be your body telling you it is time to rest and recover! 

  2. You are irritable, moody, or withdrawn around friends and family. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, you may lose your temper about things that usually wouldn’t bother you. Your reactions may be out of proportion to the problem. Have your friends or family mentioned that you are “grumpy” or not spending time with them like you used to? Stress can affect our emotions and behavior negatively, impacting all areas of our life. 

  3. You can’t focus on tasks, miss deadlines, and cancel plans at the last minute. Not being able to concentrate like you used to should be cause for concern. It could be due to lack of sleep, increased stress and anxiety, or a medical condition. If you miss deadlines because you can’t complete tasks, it can cause you to feel as if you are constantly falling further behind. These feelings may have you canceling plans for fun so you can “catch up.” Unfortunately, those fun plans might be just what you need to feel better!

How to overcome overwhelm? 

First and foremost, build awareness of your stress levels. Self-care is not just about occasionally pampering ourselves— it can also mean checking in with ourselves to assess our stress levels. Take a few minutes each day to do a quick body scan. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and notice how you feel. Where are you carrying tension? Are your shoulders tight? When we get better at detecting signs of stress, we can deal with it before we become overwhelmed by it! 

Now, suppose you check in with yourself and discover you are feeling stressed out or overwhelmed. In that case, the next step is to take a deep breath and identify things you can control or change to start feeling better. 

Here are some of my favorite quick fixes for stress:  

  • Do Some Breathing Exercises

  • Take a Walk Outside

  • Listen to Your Favorite Song

  • Hug Your Pet, Family Member or Friend

  • Finish One Task on Your To-Do List

  • Take a Personal Day

However, you may also need to make long-term changes to overcome feeling overwhelmed. If work is too overwhelming, you may need to delegate some of your responsibilities. If things are too hectic at home, you might need to ask someone for help. If you tend to procrastinate and rushing around at the last minute is causing you stress and anxiety— you might have to work on changing your behavior. Sometimes, it can be hard to figure out what needs to change or how to change it! Especially if you are suffering from stress, anxiety, or feeling overwhelmed. If that’s the case, consider reaching out to a professional! A Life or Career Coach can help you find clarity about your direction and help you reach your goals without sacrificing your wellbeing! You don’t have to figure out everything yourself. If you are curious about how Coaching might help, don’t hesitate to contact me for more info!

Jenn DeWall is a resilience and workplace well-being expert, keynote speaker, and podcast host. Jenn focuses on all things related to burnout, resilience, confidence, leadership, and happiness.

Book Jenn for your next event. Looking for a speaker? Check out what Jenn can talk about:

  • ​Burnout & Resilience
  • Mental Health
  • Confidence & Imposter Syndrome
  • Connection & Belonging
  • Growth vs. Fixed Mindset
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