Career Woman

You’ve got this: How to deal with killer stress


Dr Froswa’ Booker-Drew answers your questions, putting her years of experience and practice into the goal of solving those knotty problems that beset us, and assuring us: ‘you’ve got this’. If you’d like Froswa’ to look at your particular problem, email it to [email protected].

Question: I am totally overwhelmed with work, and they seem to be piling more on more on me all the time. I don’t want to complain in case that sounds like I’m incompetent, but I’m worried I’m going to completely burn out. Karen.


You are in an unhealthy situation. Literally, stress kills. Cortisol  is a hormone that is produced when we deal with stress.  It creates inflammation in our bodies as a result of long-term, chronic stress. Cortisol impacts your gastrointestinal, immune, and cardiovascular systems. It isn’t that cortisol is a bad thing but when we are under constant stress, the impact has enormous consequences even on a cellular level.

I personally understand being overloaded in some of my past roles.  I think my problem was that supervisors saw that I could do the work and I never complained.  When I did say something, it was usually in a joking manner and in retrospect, my indirect attempt for help wasn’t taken seriously.  After some time, I changed my approach.

When I’ve been placed in those situations, I arranged a meeting with my lead and/or supervisor to share my accomplishments and all of my responsibilities.  I also made sure that I had in mind a remedy to deal with the influx of responsibility. I asked for guidance on what tasks were considered major and minor priorities in their opinion. This included statements like, “So let’s brainstorm on what can be removed from my list of tasks so I can focus on the priorities we’ve declared.” I know you don’t want to be viewed as incompetent but this approach avoids you being seen as a complainer and more of a solution-oriented individual that is willing to collaborate for the best answer.

In this season, you must address both your professional and personal needs.  Although you didn’t share, I hope that life after work for you provides the space for retreat and relaxation—even if only for an hour in the evenings.  If it doesn’t exist, you must create that for yourself.  For most women, we are juggling so many responsibilities at work and at home.  What can you do outside of work to help you with the challenges you face on the job? Is it reading, writing in a journal, or exercising?  Whatever it is, please make sure you are committing to you and definitely getting a good night of sleep which is necessary!

Ultimately, if things cannot be resolved, your health and sanity are critical. If you need to move on, do so.  Find an opportunity that will allow you to have both!

Breathe. You. Got. This.

About Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew is a Partnership Broker. Relational Leadership Junkie. Connector. Author/Speaker/Trainer. Co-Founder, HERitage Giving Circle. She been quoted and profiled in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Huffington Post and other media outlets around the world. In addition, she has been asked to speak on a variety of topics such as social capital and networking, leadership, diversity, and community development to national and international audiences. This included serving as a workshop presenter at the United Nations in 2013 on the Access to Power. One of the most impactful life events for her was being a part of the documentary, Friendly Captivity, a film that followed a cast of 7 women from Dallas to India. Honors for her work include: Semi-finalist for the SMU TEDx in 2012, 2012 Outstanding African American Alumni Award from the University of Texas at Arlington, 2009 Woman of the Year Award by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Diversity Ambassador for the American Red Cross. Graduating with a PhD from Antioch University in Leadership and Change, she also attended the Jean Baker Miller Institute at Wellesley for training in Relational Cultural Theory and completed facilitator training on Immunity to Change. She has also completed training through UNICEF on Equity Based Evaluations, and is the author of 2 workbooks for women, Ready for a Revolution: 30 Days to Jolt Your Life and Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last as well as a writer for several publications around the globe. WFAA Attention Series: Froswa Booker Drew on Vimeo

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