Down with Work Stress

May 3, 2022

Yesterday was going swimmingly until I received a work-related email that was deflating, to say the least.

I can’t really go into detail (and I know vague-blogging is HIGHLY annoying, and for that I am sorry!) but just trying to move on and act constructively rather than reactively. Some work things are in flux (more on that at some point but probably not for a while) and I have to admit I look forward to a day when things might feel less roller-coaster-y in my professional life.

That said, I know I get to choose my reaction to things, including whether I take things personally or not. So I will think calm and constructive thoughts, and try not to ruminate, as it accomplishes nothing.

I will go for a run.

I will wake A up early to work on long division (not her fave, she needs to practice).

As it’s another clinical day, I will focus on each patient (and finish my notes — I am happy to say I did really well with this yesterday!)

I will (if time) spend my lunch break brainstorming future podcast topics (ideas welcome!).

I will try to have a nice evening with the kids after work.

one answer to hyper children: DANCE PARTY. ignore the boxes.

On the upside, I AM READING AGAIN! I started a preview of Dial A for Aunties PLUS I am back into In A New York Minute and on a new non-fiction pick (Anxiety Sisters — for a future pod ep). To those of you who recommended an e-reader — I do have a kindle paperwhite! I just happen to actively dislike it (lol). I did however get Dial A‘s preview via Libby and I like how that app makes the background black while in night mode on the phone! So maybe Libby/kindle on my phone is my answer for “lying in kids’ rooms” for now. It definitely beats scrolling. Though I am also going to order one of the lights recommended!

Well, happy Tuesday. Onward + upward, I suppose.


  • Reply Seppie May 3, 2022 at 6:59 am

    Similarly to managing your reaction to work emails, you can have a nice evening with the kids no matter what they do. It probably means expecting mischief and delays in advance and then deciding what you want to think/who you want to be when the kids aren’t cooperating.

    That makes your nice night contingent on your behavior, not theirs, making it possible to have a great night no matter how many tantrums, meltdowns, unreasonable requests, drinks of water and subsequent bathroom trips, whiny voices, fights, etc. are involved.

  • Reply Amanda May 3, 2022 at 8:37 am

    Podcast idea for BOBW: a throwback episode to life when you and Laura had only little children, like maybe under age 4. I love when the mom hour talks about this sort of thing even though they have bigger kids. And I know you and Laura still have little ones too, but also having big kids in the mix changes things I’m sure. So talking about what childcare, outsourcing, division of labor, dinner, screen time, work hours, weekends etc. looked like when you were newer moms.

    Wishing you success in not letting the email get you down. Working in medicine and esp med Ed can be such a thankless field.

  • Reply Connie C May 3, 2022 at 8:56 am


    I’ve had a lot of those work emails over the last few years, since my supervisor was changed. I feel you.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns May 3, 2022 at 9:06 am

    The kindle ap also shifts to a black background/white text. I prefer using the kindle ap on my phone v libby because it tells me how many minutes are left in the chapter. The libby ap does not do that – or it’s more complicated to figure out how much is left in the chapter. But either is a good way to read on your phone in your kids’ bedroom without putting off light. It’s the only thing getting me through the bedtime slog right now. If i wasn’t reading, I would lose my mind thinking about how much time I was spending sitting in our son’s room, waiting for him to fall asleep.

    I am sorry to hear about the work stress. That is really tough and it can be hard not to ruminate on things. It can take me days to get over something upsetting.

    Podcast recommendations: interview with Kendra for BLP – guessing she is making the podcast circuit with her book coming out today? For BOBW, I also agree that flashback episodes from when you had younger kids would be interesting. I enjoy those when they do them on the mom hour. Granted, their kids are WELL beyond the baby/toddler/preschool years so it is really quite a flashback for them whereas Laura has a toddler and you have a preschooler, so you are sort of still in the thick of things, but maybe have more perspective about the stages kids go through since you’ve been through it before? I think an episode on handling criticism/constructive feedback would be interesting, too. I also really like the slice of life type of episodes where you share what you are loving. Or a week of real-life dinners? I also like those episodes on the mom hour. Would your husbands ever go on the podcast? It would be fun to hear from your other halves, too!

    • Reply Kate May 3, 2022 at 9:54 am

      The kindle paperwhite also has a “black background, white text” option!

  • Reply lawandcreative May 3, 2022 at 9:16 am

    Sending hugs for the work stress. While you can’t talk about it here, do you have a safe space to talk about it? I hope so!

    I just picked up Dial A For Aunties from the library today!

  • Reply Elizabeth May 3, 2022 at 9:31 am

    Deflating emails, from work or anywhere, just stink. I’m so sorry. Your plan to handle it is a good one, and also I hope you don’t beat yourself up for being down about it. Hopefully time will take some of the sting away. For an Upholder especially I think, negative feedback or decisions/results outside of what one had been hoping for/planning for/counting on can be very discouraging. Take heart! One day this will be far enough in the past that you know how it all worked out. For now, a run and maybe a cup of tea and a chapter of an engrossing book is called for. Plus, internet support and hugs.

  • Reply Coree May 3, 2022 at 10:11 am

    I loved the BOBW interview today despite not being in medicine and would love to here from people with different career paths (that haven’t ended in influencing). I am so nosy, I love those stories.

  • Reply Amanda May 3, 2022 at 10:25 am

    I echo the previous comments. Those gut-punch emails are the worst and take a while to shake off. No matter what career, age, or stage in life you are in. Sending hugs.

  • Reply Kristie May 3, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    Hi Sarah, I’m a longtime listener of both podcasts but can’t remember if you’ve had a guest talk about raising kids with special needs? Would love to hear others’ experiences as well as how it’s affected their career and parenting.
    Hope you got a run in—that’s my go-to for stress relief as well! Speaking of running, an amazing guest would be Keira D’Amato, the runner who recently set an American record in the marathon. She’s a mom and also a realtor! She had an unconventional path to being a pro runner and would be so interesting to talk to.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 3, 2022 at 9:05 pm

      We have had others but this one comes
      to mind:

      • Reply Kristie May 3, 2022 at 10:30 pm

        Thank you for the reply. I’ll listen to this one next! 😊

        • Reply Alyce May 4, 2022 at 1:26 am

          Also look through the archives for Sarah Baldwin and Katie Forrest who are also parenting kids with disabilities. I have listened to all of these episodes a couple of times (before my kid was born/diagnosed, and after), and the experiences of both women rang true to me.

          Also, Sarah, I would love to be interviewed about my experience parenting a toddler with disabilities and having a big job managing a team of 10 that advises on billions of dollars of federal funds. (I am literally writing this from my kid’s hospital bed as we are on day two of three of an inpatient hospital stay.)

          • Sarah Hart-Unger May 4, 2022 at 5:39 am

            Alyce! We would love to have you. I will email you!

  • Reply Omdg May 3, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    I also received a shit email yesterday and even though there was nothing I could have done differently to prevent it, it still makes me like my job a whole lot less. If you find the secret to not giving a f*ck would you please share it with me because I apparently lack that gene. *hugs*

  • Reply coco May 3, 2022 at 9:00 pm

    I’m sure the run would have helped you, it always does when I get work related stress.

  • Reply Jess May 15, 2022 at 10:28 pm

    Hi Sarah, I just wanted to comment on the Libby/kindle on your phone at night with the black background. I too struggle at bedtime with my daughter (age 3 1/2) and I find that reading while I am in her room for 15 minutes each night gives me some reading time and also calms me a bit after the frustration of finally getting her to sleep.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 16, 2022 at 5:37 am

      This has actually become my new ritual. I resisted it for a while but it’s actually really nice. Sort of just leaning into the whole thing 🙂

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