Talk to your boss about stress

Stress affects everyone, and if it is taking a toll on you, it’s time to have a direct conversation with your boss. Follow this advice to do so, without looking like you can’t handle your job:

Be honest with yourself. Are you putting in enough effort? Are you procrastinating or letting distractions steal your time? If you are using your time wisely and giving it your all, and you feel overwhelmed, it’s time to talk to your boss.

However, if you could be doing more, your boss likely knows it, and your calls for help will sound like complaining.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. You don’t want to hit your breaking point before you speak to your boss. That increases the chances that you will have an emotional breakdown or lose your cool.

Accept that it’s OK to ask for help. It can be hard to admit, especially if you are a top performer.

However, your boss would much rather you ask for help when you’re overwhelmed than drop the ball, turn in shoddy work or miss a deadline.

Just do it. Schedule a quick meeting with your boss to say “I’m feeling overwhelmed and I’d like your help.” Provide some context, explaining all that you’re working on. Also share that while you’re trying to juggle everything, you’re worried some things will slip through the cracks.

Suggest solutions. Discuss reasonable options, such as parking projects, shifting work around or pushing back deadlines. Your boss will see that you care about meeting the teams’ objectives, and that you aren’t just there to whine about your circumstances.

— Adapted from “The Right Way to Talk to Your Boss About Your Work-Related Stress,” FairyGodBoss, Ivey Exec,