The Key to Reducing Stress and Overwhelm

Find the minimal effective dose.

This isn’t a new concept and I certainly can’t take credit for it.

In fact, I’m sure you’ve heard it before in the form of:

“Work smarter. Not harder.”

“Less is more.”

“Keep it simple, Stupid.”
In a society that glorifies ‘busyness’ and activity, we often unknowingly do more than is necessary – even and often when we’re trying to do good – and that creates stress and overwhelm.


Sarah is a full-time corporate exec, with a husband and two kids at home.

She works 8-ish till 5-ish, Monday to Friday.

She exercises 6 days per week because she values health, enjoys exercising and she says it helps to “manage her stress”.

With travel, changing and shower time, her gym sessions take 90 minutes – before or after work, depending on her schedule.

That’s 9 hours per week.

Sarah feels stressed, tired and overwhelmed, with a constant to do list that she can’t get on top of. She has a few aches and pains in her neck and back.

She doesn’t feel fit or healthy.

What’s the minimal effective dose of exercise for Sarah to be and feel fit and healthy?
It’s actually 3 to 4 sessions per week: 4.5 to 6 hours. Not 9.
In fact, Sarah needs to exercise less in order to feel better.
If she does that, she will:

✅ improve her health and fitness

✅ increase her energy levels

✅ reduce her aches and pains

✅ regain 3 to 4.5 hours per week that she can dedicate to her to-do list

… and all of that will ultimately reduce her stress and overwhelm.

This doesn’t only apply to health and exercise.

It applies to anything and everything that you spend your time doing.

What’s the minimal effective dose?

Can you do less and still achieve the same result?

And do you actually need to do less in order to achieve a better result?

Why my 11 month old is a health and wellness expert

If you have children or have spent time around babies and children, you’ve probably noticed and commented on their genuine joy and happiness and abundance of energy.

“He/she is so happy and smiley all of the time.”

“Where does he/she get all of that energy from?”

Our daughter is 11 months old now and we make those comments all the time.

And why is that?

Your initial response might be something like, “Because they are young and carefree.”

Yes, that’s true – but I believe it’s more than that.

Babies and children are truly present and in tune with their body, wants and needs.

They notice, investigate and enjoy every little detail in their environment.

They eat when they are hungry.

They sleep when they are tired.

They ask for something when they want it.

They don’t stifle their emotions.

And what are we taught and institutionalised into doing as we grow up?

Eat at meal times, even if you aren’t hungry and finish all of your food.

Sleep at bed time and only after all of the “jobs” are done.

You can’t always have what you want, so stop asking.

And don’t “act out” in public.

Don’t be present. Delay your wants and needs. Stifle your emotions.

And fighting and squashing our natural behaviours in that way ultimately leads to heightened stress, anxiety, overwhelm, sickness and unhappiness.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you should nap in the middle of today’s staff meeting or start stomping your feet next time you don’t get your way.

But what small steps can you start taking today to be more present and honour your wants, needs and emotions?

Can you eat at your desk when you feel hungry?

Can you take a 5 minute break to sit outside in the sunshine?

Do you need to set a boundary with a partner, friend or colleague?

And what help or support do you need in order to do that thing?

– Coach Han