Managing Overwhelm and Panic Attacks

Managing Overwhelm and Panic Attacks

Yes, I’m planning a nine-month trip. Yes, we are taking the whole family. Yes, we are packing up the entire house. Yes, I’m managing two start-up businesses.

My life is full – full of things to do, places to be, and plans to make. Staying on top of everything that needs to be done can overwhelm me.

Now that we are within 10 days of leaving, things seem to have ratcheted up a notch.  The 3 AM wakeups happen a little more frequently.  We are hearing more people say “This is the last time I might see you before you leave.”  Regular conversations bring a flood of emotion as we all wrap our heads around what’s about to happen.

There have been moments in this process when I have experienced fear, anxiety and panic.  Now as we get closer to the travel date, I see the same thing happen with the rest of the family.

We talked together about these moments of intense anxiety and how we want to manage them. While we each have our own unique set of signs, symptoms, and responses, we decided on three things to do when we feel the fear and overwhelm start to build.

1. We remind ourselves that the emotions of fear and excitement “fire up” in the exact same place in the brain. We learned that from Jim Nevill, founder of Go Adventure.  Fear and excitement produce the same adrenaline response, and it is only when we put our perspective to it does it become fear or excitement.  In other words, it is all in how we choose to label it.  This theory will really be put to the test when the time comes for us to skydive or bungee jump.  In the meantime, we are all working really hard to develop the practice of shifting fear to excitement.

2. We remind ourselves that we are not the first family to make this type of journey.  We are not “going where no one has gone before.”  There is support available.  Our family is resilient and capable.  We have faith and belief that what is meant to be will be.  As with any life-changing event like marriage, kids, adoption, business, there are resources available, people willing to help. All you need to do is ask.  Trust me, we are asking lots of questions, because the more we know the better prepared and confident we become.

3. We keep our to-do lists current. To-do lists are imperative!  Let’s face it, life is busy.  There is always a lot to do and get done.  For our family, lists help us all get “stuff” done.  For me personally, to-do lists give me focus, clarity, reason for celebration and a way to clear the clutter in my brain.  John and the kids do their own version of to-do lists which work for them.  My version consists of three columns on an 8 ½ X 11 sheet of paper.  The columns are titled as follows:  ASGN Hospitality (my other business), The Courage Vibe and Personal.  Under each column, I list what needs to be done for the day.  I am constantly adding to the lists as things pop into my head.  I work hard to evenly distribute my tasks for the day between the three columns so I feel like I have made headway in all the areas not just one or the other.  Whatever doesn’t get done one day gets moved to the next day and stays on the list until it is completed.

Fear, panic, worry and anxiety can cause us to freeze in place, rather than to reach toward what we want to achieve or experience. Our family has agreed to keep moving and shift our fear to excitement. There is so much to explore and discover.


  1. Krysti Coursey November 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    I just started a private middle school and thought it would be fun to take them on this journey with you. Are you ok with that? Is the blog the best way to follow you?

    Krysti (Kanoff) Coursey

    • Jody Temple White November 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm - Reply

      Hi Krysti,
      Congrats on starting your new school. How exciting and very courageous! The blog is a great way to follow us. Both Riley and Allison will be launching their blogs soon too, so your kids might like their perspective as well. I will send out info about those blogs once they are ready. Also let your kids know we would love to hear from them and will do our best to answer any questions they have about the area we are visiting. Very fun and thanks for your interest in our trip. Take care and it is great to hear from you. Jody

  2. Lena Crowley November 5, 2012 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    You are all fantastic friends and we pray that your every step is God blessed and God led.
    We love you guys –
    Brandon, Sarah, Emily and Lena

    • Jody Temple White November 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      Thank you. Brandon, Sarah, Emily and Lena. Please keep in touch and keep the photo ideas coming! Love to you all.

  3. Mark Murphy November 7, 2012 at 8:58 am - Reply

    I pray that you and your family have a safe journey of discovery. May God continue to enlighten you to share His love and be an impact to those people He place before you. I am confident that during these 9 months,you and the family will experience so much humility, growth, and gratitude it will be infectious to everyone in your sphere on influence. Please stay in touch and I will be praying and watching
    Do your thang girl! 😉

    -Mark Murphy

    • Jody Temple White November 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      Thanks Mark. I can’t wait to watch your business transform. I am so happy we met and I can’t wait to meet your family. Thailand maybe???

  4. Julie November 8, 2012 at 6:24 am - Reply

    Sorry I missed the going away festivities last Saturday. Greg and Brookie enjoyed hearing about your upcoming journey. We’ll keep tabs on you by reading your blog. What a great time you will have. Everyone in the family will come away with great memories and lessons learned. May your hands help others in need and may your words bring comfort to others. God Bless. jk

    • Jody Temple White November 9, 2012 at 6:05 am - Reply

      You were missed. It was great to see Greg and I did speak to Brookie for a few minutes. Thanks for your support and please keep in touch.

  5. Hatti December 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Hi Jody
    This is all very inspiring and what me and hubby have been thinking of doing for a while! Did you seel your house? And how is it going running your business on the move?
    Hatti x

    • Jody Temple White December 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Hatti. Our family talked about it for years and when we saw this window of opportunity, we had to take it. We didn’t sell the house. We thought about it, but it turned out that renting it for a year worked out better. We hired a management company to handle all the details while we are gone. About business, John has been able to get some work done. It requires some early mornings and late nights to catch people during their working hours. It does take some work to actually want to work with such beauty around us, but we are managing. If you the opportunity to do this, take it, but do it when your kids can really remember and appreciate it. Having them be able to carry their own bags is a plus too! Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays.

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The Courage Vibe

3519 NE 15th Ave #206, Portland, OR 97212

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