Navigating Work Stress: How To Tell Your Boss You'Re Overwhelmed &Raquo; Image Asset 2


Employee burnout is an issue that is frequent in modern workplaces, but it is still an important one. Employees can frequently find themselves feeling overwhelmed and stressed out due to the ever-increasing workloads and continual pressure to deliver because of their employment. It is crucial to communicate properly with your supervisor about feeling overworked if you want to enhance your experience at work and prevent health problems related to stress. These problems can be caused by stress. But how exactly do you launch into such a delicate discussion?

According to Michael D. Levitt, a global HR and workplace specialist and the Chief Burnout Officer of the Breakfast Leadership Network, “Silence solves nothing,” “The fear of having the conversation is often perceived as being worse than actually having the conversation.” Before approaching the topic with your boss, there is no way for you to know how he or she would respond. The most important thing to keep in mind when approaching the topic is to do so with clarity, self-assurance, and a potential solution in mind.

Recognize and Accept the Reality of Your Predicament

It is essential, before approaching your manager, to have an understanding of the feelings of being overwhelmed that you are experiencing. Finding the exact triggers and examining the activities at hand can be helpful in gaining perspective on the situation. When you have a talk with your supervisor, having this level of self-awareness can help you articulate your requirements in a way that is understandable to them.

Prepare for your upcoming discussion

The next step is to establish a plan for what you will say. This method not only assists in calming your anxiety but also guarantees that your boss has a complete understanding of the predicament you are in. Levitt recommends that you “Write down the key points you wish to cover,” and you should do so. “This includes your tasks, what’s causing stress, and the impact that it has on both your performance and your well-being.”

Maintain a Professional Attitude Throughout the Conversation

Find a convenient time to discuss the matter with your superior. Find a place that is private, peaceful, and undisturbed where you may have a conversation without being interrupted. Start the conversation by reiterating your dedication to your work, and then move on to how you’re finding it difficult to keep up with everything. Be accurate, and avoid making it seem as though you are whining or putting the blame on others.

Be Specific

Give some concrete instances of the kinds of activities or circumstances that are causing you to stress. As an illustration, rather than stating, “I have too much work,” you may say something like, “I have been handling three projects simultaneously, which frequently results in long hours and burnout.” Both my performance and my health are suffering as a result of this.

Make a Suggestion for an Answer

You shouldn’t wait around for your boss to come up with a solution; you should offer one of your own. When you convey a concern to your supervisor, it is important to also bring a solution, as explained by Levitt. This demonstrates to your manager that you are willing to take initiative and strive towards finding a solution to the problem. Tasks might be delegated to other members of the team, deadlines could be moved back, or support could be obtained from other members of the group as potential solutions.

Maintain a Receptive Attitude Toward Critique

After you have described the problem and suggested a solution, you should be receptive to comments and suggestions. It’s possible that your manager has a unique viewpoint or some more ideas to provide. Maintain your composure and calmness even if they disagree with you or appear indifferent. Demonstrate that you are open to the possibility of reaching a compromise. Remember, it’s a dialogue, not a monologue.


Send a follow-up email after your talk that provides a summary of what was discussed and any activities that were agreed upon. This ensures that everyone stays accountable and provides a record of the talk that you had.

“Having the courage to address feeling overwhelmed is a strength, not a weakness,” adds Levitt. “In the end, having the courage to address feeling overwhelmed is a strength.” “It demonstrates self-awareness, responsibility, and a desire to improve, all of which are qualities that any good boss ought to value,”

It may be frightening to talk about feelings of stress and overwhelm at work, but doing so is crucial to maintaining your health and increasing your productivity. You may improve your work-life balance, build your connection with your supervisor, and create a healthier working environment if you approach the topic with confidence, clarity, and a constructive solution. Keep in mind that it is your privilege to have this discussion, and the contributions you make can contribute to the development of a more sustainable and well-balanced workplace.

Originally Published on

Michael Levitt Chief Burnout Officer

Michael D. Levitt is the founder & Chief Burnout Officer of The Breakfast Leadership Network, a San Diego and Toronto-based burnout consulting firm. He is a Keynote speaker on The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting and Burnout. He is the host of the Breakfast Leadership show, a Certified NLP and CBT Therapist, a Fortune 500 consultant, and author of his latest book BURNOUT PROOF.