What to do when you feel panic setting in

There are those times when you have to buckle down and dive deep into a project that requires hours of focused attention and detailed work. There can be moments, especially if you are in unfamiliar territory, when you just want to pull your hair out and cry because you aren’t getting the results you’re looking for. At that point, you have a choice: keep clawing your way through, seek guidance, or call it a night.


This weekend I found myself in just such a predicament, working on a website host transfer and redesign for beopenyoga.com. I am by no means a web designer, but thankfully WordPress makes things fairly accessible for all skill levels. That being said, I chose a template that would allow for maximum customization, meaning, there was much work to be done and many decisions to be made.


Thanks to a dear and generous friend, the transfer part went fairly easily, but when he left me to deal with the design and layout, I started to crumble. The template was so completely different from my last site that not even my logo made much sense with it. Plus I had to figure out new colors, new fonts, and re-upload many of the photos from my posts (still in progress).


I straight up started to panic and almost called my friend to have him switch it back to the old template. I wasn’t getting anywhere because I didn’t know how to navigate this new template, and my site looked down right ugly! Then I laughed at myself. Hello resistance to change! Clearly I needed to take a step back and come up with a plan of action.


I went into this project without any clarity on how much work it would take and how long it would be. So when things weren’t happening as quickly and smoothly as anticipated, I wanted to call it quits! Instead, I said a little prayer for guidance and the answer was, “Go to bed.” It was very late, I was exhausted, and I was walking down the insane path of doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.Meditation by pool


In the morning, I meditated, and with a little bit of rest and fresh eyes, I looked at the site again and thought, “Wow, it looks kind of pretty.” I realized I could not solve the issue with the logo on my own, so I sought help from my designer (Amelia LeBarron, she’s brilliant, link to her site below). I came up with a temporary solution and Amelia is plugging away at new options now. I read the documentation related to my chosen template, and took one step at a time.


Here are some suggestions on what to do when things are not going as anticipated and you find yourself entering panic mode:

1)    Take a breath, step back and assess in that moment if your best option is to rest (sleep, take a bath, go for a run, etc.) or seek help.

2)    If you are so inclined, say a little prayer for guidance on what to do next.

3)    Determine what areas of the project you are able to handle and what tasks you can assign to someone else with more expertise in that area.

4)    Come up with a prioritized plan of action, and take one step at a time.

5)    Along the way, never be afraid to stop, do some research and/or ask for help as needed.

6)    Go easy on yourself! Rome was not built in a day (an apparently neither are websites).


So here I am with a work in progress, and excited to see it taking shape and becoming something totally new. Through all of this I am grateful for my meditation and yoga practices to keep my grounded and balanced even with all of these long hours in front of the computer.


Take Action Now:

1)    In the comments below, share your methods of panic intervention.

2)    Forward this to a friend who is struggling with a task and may need a little guidance.


Be well,



P.S. You can find Amelia at http://www.ameliaville.com/

[fblike style=”button_count” showfaces=”false” width=”450″ verb=”like” font=”arial”] [fbshare type=”button”]

Published by Sasha Marie Stone

Happiness Engineer at Automattic, work-from-home wellness expert, life coach, and dog mom.

11 thoughts on “What to do when you feel panic setting in

  1. Hi Sasha,

    The site design is great! Even though it is different, there’s still a sense a familiarity from your previous one. It looks good on the mobile side as well. Keep up the good work. You’re doing an awesome job!



  2. I love that you’re willing to say, “Here’s a work in progress.” Thanks for modeling that. Usually when I get into panic mode, there’s perfectionism lurking… I try to remember that perfectionism is my coping mechanism for stress, and it’s actually not helpful. So, my intervention is to lower the standards. When I take a step back, I can always see that the standards were way too high to begin with! Having a sane, kind process is more important to me than achieving a certain result.


    1. Yes Patty, I totally relate. Perfectionism made me a very stressed out kid, and still lurks in a big way today. But I am so much kinder to myself now, and realize that whatever I am able to contribute at this moment in time is awesome. And I am thankful for my perfectionism! It keeps my personal standards high and keeps me on my toes. The key is for it contribute to productivity, not paralysis.


  3. Congrats Sasah!!! You did a great job!!!! You should give yourself a big credit and a pat on the shoulder.
    You tried it and it’s in progress…
    I like the new version. It’s awesome!!!!


  4. Congrats Sasah!!!
    I had to delete a paragraph..cuz the wordpress says I’ve already said what I had to delete…
    duplicate detected???
    Let see if this will work..or else I need to delete it again..

    way to go Sash!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: