Overcoming Overwhelm: 9 steps to go from complete overwhelm to peace and clarity

By Kelly Elizabeth Scott, Leadership & Wellness Coach

A few weeks ago, I moved! We only moved down the street, but it’s super exciting because we moved into our first home. Well, it’s super exciting…and complete chaos.

I’ve learned over these last few weeks just how influenced I am by my environment. Clutter – emotional or physical – really impacts my state of mind, productiveness, and overall well-being.

Basically, when things around me feel overwhelming (i.e. messy home, transition, being pulled in multiple directions, overflowing to-do list, too much noise), then I feel absolutely overwhelmed.

I don’t know if this is true for you, but it’s so easy for me to get caught up comparing myself, my life, my home, my work, and my progress to others. If I’m not monitoring my thoughts and practicing deep self-care, then I can be quickly thrown off my feet from one thought of doubt, insecurity, or fear.

The moments I’m feeling the most overwhelmed – in the middle of a move, during the busiest weeks of my work, when my house is an absolute mess – are the moments I most need to practice the kind of radiant, deep self-care that catches negative thoughts and replaces them with compassion, love, and encouragement. The kind of self-care that takes a deep breath, shuts out the noise, and sits in silence for a moment or two. The kind that surrounds myself with only the people, information, and objects that inspire, support, and unconditionally love me.

The moments when I’m feeling the most overwhelmed are the moments I need to pause, shut out the noise, and get really tuned in to what I most need.

1. I need to shut out all the noise.

“If you’re always listening to the shouts of the world, then you’ll never hear the whispers of your soul.” – Marie Forleo

If we’re always listening to others – reading emails, scrolling on social media, listening to podcasts, or watching webinars – then we’ll never hear the whispers – the moments of intuition, clarity, and truth – in ourselves.

When overwhelm has me in a stronghold, then I take a break from any email, profile, or person that leaves me feeling overwhelmed, not good enough, behind, or just plain crappy. I unfollow, unsubscribe, and turn off notifications on my phone.

I know that the majority of these people we follow do have great ideas, tips, and inspiration. But, I also know that they will always be there and there will always be more. In these moments, we often need to give ourselves the gift of white space in order to figure out what we want, what we believe, and what life & body of work we want to design

2. I need to brain dump everything I think I should be doing.

I brain dump everything I’m currently doing for my work, everything I’m currently doing at home, and everything I think I should be doing at home & work.

During moving week, this was a lot of “I should clean out the cabinets. I should unpack these every single one of these boxes today. I should keep producing content to the same extent, even if I also have to clean the apartment before we go.” I had the highest of expectations for myself in all areas of my life. I wasn’t prioritizing anything and so I wasn’t feeling a sense of accomplishment anywhere.

Once I get all my “to-do’s” and all the “I should do’s” out on paper, I brain dump everything I want in terms of my life & body of work. I write down all the outcomes I desire & all the goals I have for both my personal life (including growth, relationships, etc.) and work life (including dreams, projects, launches, salary, title, responsibilities, etc.). I take a few moments to generate possibilities, dream beautiful dreams, and visualize what is most important to me.

Then, one task at a time, I compare my two lists. I determine whether or not my “to-do’s” and “I should’s” make the highest possible contributions towards what I want. Are they essential? Do they support what I most want? Am I willing to let this go, so that I can focus on the essential? Does this excite me? Does this drain me? Does this task align with what I am prioritizing in this season of life?

I believe there are seasons in life where we prioritize our to-do list based on where we are and what we need in that moment, not what we needed yesterday or what we’ll need tomorrow. We have to ask ourselves, “What am I optimizing for in this present season?”

3. I need to focus on what I am already doing.

It’s time to be grateful for all that I am doing, all that I am accomplishing, and all that I’ve already done! And then, I need to celebrate…every progress, every struggle, every beautiful sight, and even every mundane moment.

The more often we can find a reason to celebrate ourselves and our lives, and allow ourselves to fully show that celebration, then the easier it will be to find peace in any given moment.

The easier it will be to embrace the present and show up fully, completely, and wholly.

4. I need to write out my beliefs. And repeat them over and over and over.

Writing out our beliefs allows us to step into the roles we want to step into and to feel how we want to feel more quickly. They re-focus us on what we want to be experiencing, who we want to be seen as, and the things that serve our highest level of impact. They also become our go-to phrases (our mantras and affirmations) when we find ourselves not feeling how we want to feel (like overwhelmed and way behind!).

I write my own beliefs list for each season I find myself in, but try a few of these on for size today!

I am a leader.

I step into my role as a leader.

I take radiant care of myself.

Clarity comes from creative action and engagement. 

I am infused with purpose, passion, and peace.

I am striving for a bigger footprint, not perfection. 

Done is better than perfect.

I am unique and I share my secret sauce as often and as fully as possible.

We have to catch our thoughts, replace the limiting beliefs with our empowering beliefs, and actively do something in support of what we want to be experiencing. Our beliefs create our experience and our experience confirms our beliefs.

5. I need to speak to myself (imperfections & all!) with compassion, love, and curiosity.

We have to practice a heck of a lot of self-love, especially when we’re stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling completely out of control. We have to decide that we can create the life and body of work we dream of. That we can say goodbye to the hustle, hustle, hustle and information overload. That we can embrace the notion of doing less, but better. That we can take back our time & create a life with more time, more energy, and more balance.

We need to remember the value we have to give no matter what we do, what we don’t do, or the things we do (or don’t) cross off our to-do list.

I am worthy. 

I am loved.

I am enough.

I love, accept, and forgive myself. 

6. I need to nourish myself and infuse my life with people who are already feeling how I want to be feeling and who are already doing what I want to be doing.

The easiest way to ensure lasting change is to make a change in our relationships, our environment, or our beliefs.

7. I need to actively pursue relaxation.

For me, relaxation takes a bit of an effort! I might have to sit in silence and focus only on the inhale and exhale of my breath for 10 minutes. Or, I might have to try EFT, a light form of acupuncture that targets pressure points on our body. Or, maybe I need to listen to a meditation or even take a soul stroll. Or, I might need to exercise, eat a beautiful meal, drink a ton of water, or take a day to bask in the sun. Whatever it is, I need to actively pursue relaxation and nourishment, especially when feeling overwhelmed.

8. I need to schedule & group tasks.

As defined by the amazing Katie Den Ouden in her latest program, The Authentic Launch, “batching is lumping together similar tasks and then scheduling them back-to-back to decrease distraction and increase productivity {and happiness}.”

I need to ask myself…How can I group daily tasking so that I am doing similar items on the same days? How can I arrange my schedule, so that I optimize for what I want and maximize my time?

For example, here’s my (rough) weekly work schedule:

Monday: Content Creation

Tuesday: Coaching

Wednesday: Coaching

Thursday: Coaching & Networking

Friday: Personal & Biz Growth

This is a rough outline of my week, but you can see I aim to group my top tasks into batches. I plan my blog writing, newsletter creation, and social media content for Monday (seriously – it’s currently Monday as I write this!). I plan my one-on-one coaching sessions to take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and half of Thursdays. I plan networking & relationship-building for the second half of Thursday. And, I plan courses, books, & learning for Friday.

9. Take action.

If nothing else, take action! It doesn’t matter what step you take or how much you move. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other!


About the Author

Kelly is a Leadership & Wellness Coach helping ambitious women dreamers live, lead, and be well. She’s an expert at helping you create the life and body of work that both makes you come alive and is the footprint you wish to leave in the world. Find out more about Kelly at her website, kellyelizabethscott.com.


Hi there!

I’m Jessica

The wellness work you are doing is needed now more than ever and I created the HEA to help you with the business side of things.

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