#246: English Conversations on Well-Being at Work | Essential Vocabulary

Jul 20, 2022 | Business Professional English, English Conversation

How do you effectively have English conversations on well-being at work, deal with overwhelm, or discuss setting boundaries with your boss?

Time management, self-care, and overall well-being are common topics of English conversation with members of my Confident Women Community

Meaningful English conversations on well-being require knowledge of the vocabulary we use on this topic.

Get your notebook and pen out because today you’ll learn more than 15 key English collocations, phrases, idioms, and phrasal verbs so you can effectively communicate on the topic of well-being at work in English.

And, if you’re currently struggling with maintaining overall well-being at work, you’ll also get concrete action steps you can take to overcome common obstacles plus easily participate in English conversations on the topic.

Effective English Conversations on Well-Being at Work with Essential Vocabulary

Let’s dive right in by clarifying some confusion between the words “well-being” and “wellness.” 

Both are hot topics in the workplace and, when you’re participating in English conversations on well-being, you’ll want to make sure you have clarity.

  • Wellness: a state of physical health in which people have the ability and energy to do what they want to do in life, without illness. To boost wellness, we may eat healthier, sleep more, or exercise.
  • Wellbeing: a state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. It goes beyond physical health to include wellbeing in your emotional life, career, relationships, finances, environment, and mental health. Wellness is a component of wellbeing, while wellbeing is a holistic view of health and satisfaction in all areas of life.

So, why is wellbeing so important and often discussed at work?

A sense of wellbeing ultimately impacts your engagement, productivity, sense of fulfillment, and more. 

Prioritizing well-being, in all aspects of life, helps us to thrive and feel fulfilled in more ways than one.

To thrive means to flourish and prosper.

  • Someone who has optimal physical health but faces stress in finances and career satisfaction may lose their motivation and feel like they’re drowning. This person may not thrive as much as someone who has complete satisfaction in the same areas. 


As you have conversations on well-being at work with your coworkers, you might notice there are some obstacles that get in the way, resulting in stress, overwhelm, and frustration. 

Here are 5 of the most common:

  1. Lack of boundary setting
  2. Mental exhaustion
  3. Saying ‘Yes’ too often
  4. Bottling up emotions
  5. Not prioritizing renewal


How do you effectively overcome those obstacles and create opportunities for well-being?

Let’s look at 5 key strategies and review the English collocations, idioms, and phrasal verbs you need to easily participate in these common topics of English conversation.

Strategy #1: Set Boundaries For Personal Time

Balance and boundaries are essential for optimal wellbeing. For well-being in every aspect of life, it’s important to establish a strong boundary for personal time and space.  

When setting boundaries for your time and space at work, clarify your priorities and clearly establish a plan. 

In other words, set your priorities straight and communicate.

To set something straight means to figure out and make certain someone understands something correctly. 

Scenario #1: Imagine you’ve booked the day off to be present for your child’s graduation. However, a team member or manager has emailed you with a request to review a document by tonight. To set a healthy boundary, you may say:

I understand you will need this reviewed for Friday’s meeting. Since I’m currently on vacation, I will prioritize this as the first task when I return to work.”

Strategy #2: Step Away Without Guilt

When working around the clock and juggling tasks, you may experience mental exhaustion. During this time, you might think that you’ve hit a dead-end – a situation in which it’s impossible to make progress. 

During your working hours establish a specific time in your schedule to step away from work. 

To step away means to pause involvement, or to stop being involved in something.

Communicate the need to step away to your team or boss, without any guilt. The best way to do so would be to briefly state the reason, state the need for a break, and inform them of when you’ll return. 

Scenario #2: Perhaps, you’ve been in back-to-back meetings all day and feel mentally drained to focus on one last task. You might tell your team,

“I’m starting to feel overwhelmed and need to step away to help me refocus on this task. I will return to this in 15 minutes”.

To feel overwhelmed means to be completely overcome/overpowered by thoughts, feelings, or circumstances. 

Stepping away when you notice signs of exhaustion will help you avoid overwhelm. 

Strategy #3: Harness the Power of ‘No’

Regularly take stock of your commitments to help you determine whether adding on another task or responsibility would be acceptable. 

It’s easy to get excited about new opportunities, collaborations, or even be a people pleaser.

A people pleaser is a person who has an emotional need to please others often at the expense of his or her own needs or desires


Of course, saying yes too often leads to a sense of overwhelm and unnecessary stress.

To overcome this challenge, harness the power of saying ‘no’ by rejecting politely or pushing back.

You can say that you are…

Tied up: to be busy occupied or engaged

  • I’m a little tied up with this project, but I’d be happy to take a look at it on Monday.

That you…

Have a full plate: to have a schedule or workload that is filled to capacity with obligations, tasks, or problems

  • My plate is quite full with the upcoming deadlines. Could we revisit this once I’m past them?

Or, some things.

Fall outside: to be beyond and/or not be included in the scope

  • This falls outside my expertise, but Jennifer could certainly help you with this.

For more on how to say no in English, I have a full lesson on this topic titled How to Say No Politely in English

Strategy #4: Confide In Your Confidante

At times, you may feel as if you just need to get something off your chest.

This refers to telling someone about something that you’ve had negative feelings about for a long time. Think of opening a bottle of emotions that you’ve hidden away.  

Identify a person in your life that can empathize with your situation and be a pillar of support.

A pillar of support is something, or someone, that is strong and incredibly supportive.

Sometimes, you may have more than one person; the person you talk to about balancing work and parenting may not be the same as the person you talk to about career growth.


Regardless of whether you need advice or not, this person will be comfortable being your sounding board.

A person you trust to listen, help your process, and think through solutions.\

Scenario #4: Imagine you’ve had a tough time juggling your responsibilities and feel overwhelmed. You might call a trusted colleague/friend and say,

This past week has been stressful and I need to get a few things off my chest. I’d really appreciate it if you could listen and help me clear my mind.”

Strategy #5: Energize Your Mind & Body

Prioritizing renewable sources of energy for your mind and body is essential for resetting when required.

Renew means to make new or restore.

While, reset means to set, adjust, or fix in a new or different way


High-quality sources may include:

  • Adding more movement to your day (ex. Going for a walk or fitting in a quick stretch break)
  • Doing a quick meditation or mindful breathing exercise
  • Eating food that makes you feel good

You may even find that a change of scenery may be necessary to break up the monotony.

A change of scenery refers to a temporary shift from one’s ordinary surroundings to someplace more desirable.

Scenario #5:  Perhaps, the constant monotony of your office space doesn’t quite spark any inspiration.

Moving your weekly meetings to an outdoor space may improve your team’s performance and produce creative ideas.

If you’re not at the office, you may find working in another room, in the garden, or anywhere other than your home is perfect.

Related Lessons

If you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, learn how to say no politely in English.

Feeling overwhelmed? Learn how to simplify your life or create better work-from-home strategies.

Learn how to talk about Feeling Busy.

And consider How to Request Someone’s Time/Help or try one of these strategies for Time Management.

Time to practice this essential vocabulary for conversations on well-being.

After you review the lesson, consider these two questions.

  1. How do you prioritize wellbeing at work versus outside of work? 
  2. Which of the steps from today’s lesson will help you to improve your wellbeing? Why?

Share your answers with me in the comment section below and aim to use key vocabulary from today’s lesson.

    ~ Annemarie


    P.S. Are you looking for a community to provide support, help you stay motivated, and guarantee that you grow? Check out our Confident Women Community.

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