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Getting SOBER - a Tool to Help with Overwhelm


Overwhelm calls us to pay attention.


It is a trigger/signal for us to notice and identify where the biggest imbalance is. It calls us to get SOBER.


S.O.B.E.R. consists of five steps:

  1. Stop what you are doing

  2. Observe what is happening around you

  3. Breathe

  4. Expand awareness to the whole body and environment, and

  5. Respond with awareness.

When utilized for stress interruption, this tool helps us to better identify the most disruptive imbalance and in doing so, the better we can effectively solve it. We don't always have control over every circumstance in our life, but we do have the power to shift our mindset about how we perceive or interpret that circumstance.


The fastest way to rebalance is to name it - call it what it is.

If the imbalance is caused by:

  • Toxic relationships - put up a stronger boundary and schedule your day to distance yourself as much as possible.

    • Learn conflict resolution skills. Diffuse aggressive situations while understanding the needs of others.


  • Too much work and not enough time - prioritize, delegate and communicate.

    • Make a to-do list. Consider including the amount of time necessary for each task. Once you’ve developed this list, plug the information into your digital calendar to plan your project over time.

    • Chunk your larger projects into a series of manageable tasks. Sometimes a task can seem more difficult when seen as a whole and appear easier when broken down into pieces.

    • Work at your peak hours. Understanding your body’s rhythms and working when you have the most energy.

    • Take breaks. Working while exhausted can create more stress. Plan breaks in your schedule to prevent feeling overloaded.

    • Say no. Being assertive when you are too busy can prevent chronic time stress. Do not be afraid to turn down or delay other commitments when you have too much work already.


  • Energy Drains. This is the place where you know your values and goals are not aligned with organizational values.

    • Know your limits. Understanding when you’ve had too much socialization will help you carve out time for yourself to rest and recharge.

    • Communicate clearly. Expressing how you are feeling can help you set boundaries and feel heard. It can also evoke the same kind of communication from others, helping you connect more honestly.

    • Take breaks. If you feel overloaded with social interaction, perhaps during a day of meetings, try taking a walk or practicing deep breathing during your time in between.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to stand in your power and protect your precious energy!

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