The Hobart

Overwhelm – Work Life Overload

by Genevieve Morton
Overwhelm – Work Life Overload

It’s time to slash your ‘to do’ list and switch off your screens. The state of ‘overwhelm’ is increasingly highlighted by wellness practitioners as the inability to think clearly and emotionally manage all the tasks we’ve set for ourselves.

“We end up stuck, unable to move forward from the enormity of it all,” says Amy Crawford, Tasmanian health coach, author and creator of The Holistic Ingredient. She says overwhelm comes from trying to achieve too many things at the same time. “Now more than ever we are connected to our devices, our attention fluttering between emails, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, text messages and we’ve become so busy and distracted that it is costing us not only our efficiency, but for many of us, our peace of mind,” she says. “With each email, text message, phone call, invitation, social media post, another layer of distraction or pull on our time is added to the burgeoning list of things that need to be done.”

Dr Greg Schwarz from Gore Street Medical in South Hobart says overwhelm can impact our health and wellbeing. “When you’re overwhelmed cortisol levels are high, which impacts on blood sugar, immune function, how your brain works and how you sleep,” he says.”Sleep is critical, we think we’re tough and can live without it – we can’t.”

He says the first step to managing overwhelm is to set personal boundaries and practice self-care. “It’s really important to be able to prioritise and stop saying yes to everything. I see spectacular changes in people when they simply say ‘I’m not doing that’ and prioritise their own self care.”

Amy recommends meditation, yoga and the use of calming essential oils, lavender and frankincense. She says it’s time to accept we will never be able to do everything – and to simply prioritise living in the present. “Bringing our attention to the present moment supports greater clarity,” she says. “Our capacity to be present to whatever is going on around us allows us to witness the emotion rather than be overwhelmed by it.”


  • Establish priorities
  • Schedule in down time
  • Set realistic time goals for work projects
  • Resist multitasking
  • Don’t rush to answer texts messages and respond to social media
  • Set boundaries and say no
  • Switch off notifications

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February 2024

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