Contact one of our experts

Working Through the Overwhelm

As the year is slowly ending and the festive season is sneaking up, we tend to see upcoming deadlines approach quicker than expected. Adding in our personal or family needs, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed during this season. When looking to understand our feelings of being overwhelmed or even our team’s feelings, we should look to how we can identify focus on our top priorities.

What causes the feeling of being overwhelmed?

  • Too much work
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Poor diet
  • Relationship problems
  • Loss of a loved one

How can we recognise the symptoms?

A sign of been overwhelmed is a change in response patterns, so seeing behavioural changes such as someone becoming quieter and more reserved or louder and more obnoxious is a obvious tell. However even small changes such as avoiding a meal can be telling. It is also important to realize that neither response is right or wrong, and further discussion and understanding is needed to help relieve the overwhelmed feelings.

What are some management strategies?

Reorganize to rejuvenate

One strategy is thinking, “where is 80% of my stress coming from?”. After we find our 80%, think, “How long will it take to finish?”. If our answer is “I’m nearly finished”, take a minute, appreciate how far we’ve come, then, when ready, focuses on the most important section. However, if our task can’t be completed in one go, prioritise, then celebrate completing each section as you take steps towards the goal.

By doing this we have now changed our perspective on the workload, which should remove some stress and allow for dopamine inflow when a completing tasks.

Take a breath

Sometimes you just need to take a moment, leave the room, and reorientate yourself. A way in which you can do this is through box breathing. Box breathing is a rhythmic breathing patten, four seconds in, four seconds hold, four seconds out, four seconds hold then repeated until stress is managed. What box breathing achieves is a clearer thought process by removing unhealthy self-talk loops.

Lean on your mates

It is important you know who, in your workplace to talk to when things get too much.

One method when your schedule gets busy is looking around the office and speaking with someone you respect, someone that is happy to listen and give you a compassionate response. Alternatively, we could go to our employee assistance program, which can provide confidential counselling sessions. During these sessions, the counsellor will be capable of sharing a plethora of mental health management strategies. Also, a problem shared is a problem halved so reach out to your friends.

Change things up

The final way to combat being overwhelmed is to reorganize yourself by touching three objects, hearing three sounds and smelling a new smell. By flipping our attention to our senses, we reduce our fight or flight response which has a calming effect.

These tips and tricks, give you some tangible strategies to tackle the festive season deadlines and grow your skills in identifying when yourself or others are overwhelmed.

If your business would like additional support, TMS Consulting has several wellbeing focused solutions. Contact us at if you’d like to discuss further.

About the author

TMS Consulting