stressfulYes, officially, we may have survived a stressful “Maycember.” But the pivot from spring to summer, the school year to break and camps, is still in full force.  As with parental leave and the back-to-school transition, I like to remind parents that these transition periods in our lives are weeks-long processes.  Not one-day events.  So if you find yourself swimming in waters that won’t seem to stop swirling, you’re not alone.

To bring some grounding and calm to the blog, I’ve invited Felice Winograd to join us with a guest post today.  Felice was a Capitol Hill press secretary  turned New York City lawyer, and now she is a yoga instructor and coach.  The three tools she talks about below are simple and timeless.  And I know from experience that they are incredibly effective.  But are you actually practicing them?  Personally, I need weekly – if not daily! – reminders to put these tools to good use.

Here’s Felice, with some specific advice on de-stressing our entry into summer.


These are complex times in the world and in our personal lives at work and at home, yes?  Stressful experiences are all around us. I don’t know about you, but when I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I tend to ‘react’ rather than ‘respond’ to the people and situations around me. It’s not always pretty.

Can you relate?  My fuse is shorter. I say things or send emails or texts from that stressful place. In these moments, our systems move into a ‘fight or flight’ mode. And it can be challenging to deal with all the things we have to do, let alone experience them with some sense of ease.

Here are three things that support me in stressful moments. I share them with the hope that you find them useful in your day.



I have found in my own life that a pause always helps. In work situations, interactions with my partner or with my child – really for anything I do in life. What can this look like in practice? The next time you’re about to write an email when you’re feeling stressed, or you walk into a room to say something to a loved one when you’re overwhelmed, try this:

Invite yourself to PAUSE.  If you’re in the room with someone else – walk to another room. Just for a moment, turn to your breath and intentionally slow it down.  Breath in for 2. Breath out for 2.  Do this three times.  Then check in with yourself.  Does the reply or conversation seem as urgent as it seemed before?  You might make this into an experiment for yourself throughout your week.  It’s not often easy to catch ourselves, but when we do it can be supportive.


We often hear that exercise is scientifically proven to help us manage stress.  And, yes, of course, take that run or go to the gym, for sure! But also consider the smaller, incremental movements throughout the day that also can be supportive. Perhaps schedule 10 minutes for a walk around the block in between meetings.  Put on your favorite song and dance with the door closed for five minutes in the early evening. (Dancing has been proven to elevate our moods!) Set a timer for three conscious breaths three times in your workday. These small, micro movements add up to support our nervous system.


We live in a perfection-crazed society. But isn’t it a false and destructive myth? One that causes stress for everyone involved. For me, much of that messaging came from my childhood. Maybe you picked it up in your own childhood or elsewhere.

The next time you feel like you’ve ‘made a mistake,’ or are feeling awful because of perfectionist ideals at work, with your children, or around your body, ask yourself: what would I tell my best friend if she was in the same moment?

Would you be more kind and gentle with your friend?  When I feel negative self-talk creep up, especially in stressful times, on my best days, I catch myself and say, “aww, it’s ok Felice.”  Then I do something nice for myself.  Every experience helps us progress in this grand experiment of being human. Progress not perfection, indeed.

Stressful times in modern life can be messy.  The more we give ourselves permission to get curious about what helps us – and it’s different for each person – the more we can be gentler with ourselves and others.

stressfulFelice Winograd helps women find ways to move from stress and overwhelm to more calm in their lives. Working within the lenses of coaching, body, sexuality and relaxing the nervous system, she is known for her non-judgmental and supportive way. A former Capitol Hill press secretary and New York City lawyer, she understands the intensity and complexity of balancing work, family and life in the modern world.


Back to Work After Baby

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