Dealing with Overwhelm: How Salad Dressing Saved Me

When there are too many options, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed

Do you ever wonder why there are so many options for salad dressing? I wondered about that while I shopped for groceries after returning home from a 6-day trip to the Deep South.

I drove to my favorite store, gathered a few things, and eventually found my way to the aisle with the salad dressing. The one I wanted was out of stock, so I stood there, for a while, looking at the variety, but not really.

To an outsider it might have seemed I was overwhelmed and confused, but I wasn’t. I was actually overwhelmed with the amount of work I needed to do when I got home.

Thoughts formed, then quickly disappeared in a cloud of dust. Poof. I could feel my eyes glazing over. I could feel the drool trickling down my chin. It felt like my entire life – rather, my entrepreneurial life, which made more sense before the trip – transformed into a crunchy mess, drizzled with zesty Italian dressing.

So there I stood, just staring at the options, thinking of emails that had yet to be returned, projects to get back to, calls I needed to make, but didn’t really want to make…

When all I really wanted to do was lie on the couch and watch Netflix.

I didn’t do that, but here’s what I did:

  • I slowly dipped back in. Some of the tasks I had planned to do the days after getting home? I rescheduled them into the next week and focused on the ones that did not require too much brain… but enough brain to feel accomplished and satisfied.
  • As for feeling satisfied, I decided what was satisfactory for ME. Not what anyone else or even my own over-achieving self might think. I’m regularly reminded via email or Facebook that I need to be doing more More MORE!!! Well, that just wasn’t possible – not without burning myself out – and that’s OK.
  • And while I did have many options, such as I did with the salad dressing, I needed to focus on the ones that were most relevant for moving my business forward. As much as I want to, I can’t do all the things. I’m only human, and self-care is a priority.

Slowing down to evaluate my options

After staring at the selections for a while, I finally chose one – creamy parmesan. It’s not low-fat or low-carb or gluten free or anything like that. I just wanted salad dressing that sounded yummy.

And I just wanted to work my business – and my life – at my speed, my way, and in a way that’s aligned with who I am and what matters to me.

So I paid for my groceries and went on my way, confident in the knowledge that it’s okay to slow down, narrow down my options, or even pick just one. My business won’t break.

How about you?

How do you handle overwhelm? Do you give in and do nothing, or do you find a way to gently overcome it? Comment below!

Felicia Baucom
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