That overwhelming feeling
I recall many times feeling overwhelmed by everything hitting the inbox, all those requests with ‘when you get the chance today’ through to last-minute invitations to a company wide initiative that someone decided that internal comms is needed.
With the increase in workload many of us are facing you won’t be alone and here are some ways I’ve found helpful over the years that might be useful for you to try. You can also find a previous article I wrote ‘You can’t do everything so slow yourself down’ that contains some thoughts about looking after your wellbeing.
Step away and breath
When you feel yourself worrying and stressing about everything physically step away from your computer, turn around and take a deep breath. It might sound simple but by taking a few moments to focus on your breath, slows down your heart rate and can help you refocus. Fresh Air Friday runs a free breathing space group, great for learning about different breathing techniques.
I’ve then found it helpful before going back to the computer to write everything that’s going around in my head about work as I then feel more confident that I won’t forget about something. You can then use a priority matrix (check out the video below) to identify what needs to be achieved and what isn’t a priority. It’s also useful to refer back to your team/personal objectives and ask yourself ‘What is strategically important to the business and offers the greatest value to my audience’.
Talk out loud
It’s important to try to not let things bottle up inside, but I appreciate it’s easier said then done. Most times, I’ve found that after I’ve spoken out loud with someone, getting off my chest everything that I’m trying to juggle a) it feels much better having vented everything and b) they can help put everything into perspective and talk through what you can focus on first. It can be harder working remotely to speak with colleagues and friends, but setting regular time to aside to talk can help.
If you aren’t feeling comfortable in speaking to someone at work, give a friend or family member a call and talk to them. You’ll surprise yourself at how helpful someone independent of your work can help. There is also the support of various comms groups on WhatsApp and Guild who have fantastic members who’ll be willing to help support you. The Horizon Comms Guild group is a great place to start (you can join here) and you can also DM me directly if you need a friendly face to help.
Celebrate the small things
A great way to start a team meeting or a weekly one-to-one catch up with your boss is to talk about what went well over the past few days and something that you’re proud of. It doesn’t matter how small the achievement is; the fact is you’ll feel better for saying out loud something positive and helps put your colleagues in a positive mindset. This post by Jennifer Louden is a great reminder on celebrating those small achievements.
Another tip that works for me to blocking some time on a Friday, to look back on the week before I think about the week ahead. I go back through all the communications that the team has published, to read them and to read the comments and responses from colleagues. I’ve often found that because I’ve read copy in the various draft versions and checked after hitting publishing to make sure the intranet article looks correct, that I didn’t spend the time absorbing everything as an employee. It’s a great feeling to look at everything that’s shared and realise that it all came together.
Complete something different
I often found that when things are work were getting on top of you that overwhelming feeling then carried across into my personal life as let’s be honest, it’s hard to switch off from work. A helpful tip that I came across was to complete something at home, whether it’s putting the washing away or reading a chapter of a book. That sense of achievement will help boost your mental wellbeing as you’ll feel better for being able to tick something off the to do list.
Set yourself some boundaries
This really can’t be emphasised enough – there are only so many hours in the day and no one, I mean no one expects you to work 24/7. Understanding your personal and professional boundaries will give you the chance to plan out your priorities, like a set of guidelines. This was a new concept for me last year so I attended the Compass workshop, run by Jo Hooper of Mad and Sad Club, the full review you can read here.
Finally, give yourself a pat on the back
Well done for pausing and taking the time to read this article. It means you’ve already taken a step forward in seeking support and finding techniques that work for you. There is no right or wrong in this. Try different methods, see what works for you and adapt them.
It would be great to hear about anything you find helpful, share in the Horizon Comms Guild group or post in the comments box below. I’m here to help, so get in touch if you need some advice or signposting.