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  • Writer's pictureDavid Stamation

Overwhelm: Tools and Strategies for Regaining Control + Quiz

Overwhelm is a common challenge addressed in coaching sessions, as individuals often find themselves burdened with too many tasks and not enough time to accomplish them. Many times, simply introducing a new tool or concept can empower individuals to regain control and break free from overwhelm.

While overwhelm in short bursts can be energizing or motivating, persistent overwhelm can lead to a cascade of problems. Prolonged stress negatively impacts physical health. Relationships can become strained, with parents that are not present with their children or spouses feeling distant and disconnected from each other. In some cases, individuals may turn to alcohol or recreational drugs as a means of escaping overwhelm, leading to further shutdown and disengagement from life. The result: shut down.

What are the tools? Here is a subset: break down tasks, prioritize, time management, set boundaries, and challenge negative thoughts. The two that coaching addresses are negative thinking and boundary setting. We’ll dive into boundaries today. Pretend you’ve tried them all and you are still in a state of overwhelm, what do you do? I go to my advanced toolbox, here’s an example.

Coaching often delves into underlying behaviors, such as the inability to say 'no', commonly known as being a People Pleaser. Individuals of this type often struggle with setting boundaries and asserting themselves, prioritizing others' needs over their own. Over time, this can lead to feelings of anger and resentment, as personal needs are neglected, and emotions are suppressed. By constantly saying 'yes' to every request, they fail to prioritize self-care and protect their personal time.

The core fear driving this behavior is the fear of jeopardizing relationships by saying 'no'. Many individuals go to great lengths to maintain relationships, even at the expense of their own well-being. It's common to compromise ourselves by saying 'yes' when we want to say 'no' to preserve these connections. Coaching can help individuals recognize and address these patterns, empowering them to set healthy boundaries and prioritize their own needs without sacrificing relationships.

Coaching takes small steps encouraging the client to practice saying ‘no’ in low-risk settings such as with children, or a close friend or other people they have a stable relationship with. Saying no does not necessarily mean a flat refusal; you may have planned to read a book for the evening and were asked to join someone for a dog walk. You might say, “I’m sitting with my book tonight, how about tomorrow or the next?” After the exercise clients come back the following week and say, “Hey, nothing bad happened. The world didn’t blow up when I said, no”. Then they graduate to bigger ‘no’s’ and build from there.


Curious or unsure of your relationship with overwhelm? Take the Quiz it’s a fast way to orient without having to read a lot, making for a good starting point to begin exploring self-knowledge.

The Stretch

If you live in a state of overwhelm craft a list of all you do. Everything. Then go over the list asking is this Energizing or De-Energizing? Separate the lists. Next go over the de-energizing list slowly and carefully with the intent to eliminate items completely, or ask what would make this energizing? Work on eliminating one thing each day or week and pursue it aggressively for one month then re-rate your overwhelm levels. Look for incremental improvements in mood, sleep patterns and improved focus.

Overcoming Overwhelm with Executive Life Coaching

Tried everything and keep getting sucked into overwhelm? Then call me and we’ll evaluate a new approach; it might be something deeper. Your situation is not hopeless, you can get a handle on it. Whether you're feeling emotionally inundated, stressed out, or anxious, coaching can provide the guidance you need to shift to a more manageable state.


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