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6 Ways to Reduce Stress and Overwhelm and regain Control and Focus

The work lives of Australian employees are becoming more demanding and more challenging at a never-ending pace. And when personal and family needs are taken into consideration too, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. 

Typically, employees work harder and put in long hours as they cope up with the ever-growing workloads. They buy into the corporate culture that views “being busy” as a badge of honour. This is evident in a study conducted by Deloitte researchers, as 65% of executives rated “the overwhelmed employee” as an “urgent” or “important” trend.


“Information overload and the always-connected 24/7 work environment are overwhelming workers, undermining productivity and contributing to low employee engagement”, concluded Deloitte researchers. [1]

A report has found Australian workplaces are amongst the worst in the world regarding employee engagement. 71% of employees are not engaged, and 15% are actively disengaged. Moreover, the actively disengaged employees cost the country around $54.8 billion (AU) per year. [3]

“In Australia and around the world, our inability to create psychologically safe workplaces means we are effectively stuck in the Dark Ages of employee engagement,” said Dr Marc White, CEO and President of Canada’s Work Wellness and Disability Prevention Institute, in his speech at the 2018 Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association (ARPA) national conference in Sydney. [2]

Psychologically safe workplaces are vital to employees health and business success. How many of the following signs are showing up in your team?

  • people watch out for each other and can ask someone if they’re ok

  • managers and teams understand mental health and openly talk about it

  • people know about things they can do to build resilience for challenging times at work and home

  • staff with mental health concerns seek help early

  • team with mental health issues are supported in their recovery

These are just some signs that indicate your workplace is psychologically healthy [4]. How did you do?

Sometimes it can be challenging to remove increased workload. However, when our team feels stressed and overwhelmed, their minds become fogging, and negative talk can grow. Resulting in reduced effectiveness and productivity and adding to the pressure and overwhelm.

If you see anyone struggling with overwhelm or stress, here are some tips that can help them regain control and become more engaged.

Three things that you can do INSIDE the office

1. Get it out of your head

Ask yourself the question: “What one or two things, if taken off my plate, would alleviate 80% of the stress that I feel right now?” This question can help you pinpoint the primary reason why you are overwhelmed. You will still have the accountability of these tasks, but you are just going to break it down into more manageable pieces. 

In our previous article, we discussed few more techniques on how to regain control and clarity.

This includes:

  • brain dump using spider diagram

  • strategic to-do list using Eisenhower Matrix

  • the secret sauce in creating a routine

Read more here

2. Get up and move

Now that you have gotten it out of your head, it’s time to move! Put in a 5-minute break every 1.5 work hours. Getting up and moving around for a bit makes a significant difference. You can get a glass of water or stretch your legs. This will allow your mind to recover a bit before you start using it again.

Our brain is a muscle. If we work without giving it time to recover or breathe, we will become mentally exhausted by the end of the day. We have to build our mental stamina too so we can perform at our highest. (A bit like reps at the gym!)

3. The secret breathing technique

Scientific studies have shown that controlling your breath can help to manage stress and stress-related conditi