Lessons Learned from Burnout

The cover of the book Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski - it's a black background with the word "burnout" repeated on it in different shades of pink.

I'm not going to lie, my expectations were high when I started reading Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski. Emily Nagoski's last book, Come As You Are is by far one of my favourite non-fiction books of all time. I wrote three blog posts about some of the mega "ah-ha!" moments I got from it.

Burnout wasn't the revolutionary follow-up to Come As You Are, at least not for me. But it was very good and in the end I realized that I had still written down a bunch of quotes and notes from the book that I want to share with you.

"To be 'well' is not to live in a state of perpetual safety or calm, but to move fluidly from a state of adversity, risk, adventure, or excitement, back to safety and calm, and out again."

"Stress is not bad for you; being stuck is bad for you."

Ooooooh guys. These were worth the price of admission alone. (In my case, the price of admission was the time I waited to get it from the library.)

Despite the fact that I wrote about this very concept in my own book (Feeling Better), I would guess that 50% of the content of my recent counselling sessions is my counsellor reminding me that feelings ebb and flow and our goal isn't to turn all my feelings golden. (And then I say, "I know I know I know, but also that's just what I want to do!" and we loop around again. Counsellors are so patient.)

Other Pearls of Wisdom:

Positive Re-Appraisal: It isn't telling yourself that things are ultimately "okay" or forcing yourself to be grateful, even in the worst situation. It's recognizing that a circumstance is hard while still seeing the opportunity for growth within it and then seeing the growth as worth it. Still hard, but worth it.

Decision Grid: If you are making a "should I stay or should I go?" decision, don't make a pros and cons list. Instead, make a grid. The two columns are "staying the same" and "quitting". In each column you list the benefits for right now, the benefits in the long-term, the costs for right now, and the costs in the long-term.

Trust: We should be wary, not only of people we don't feel are trustworthy, but of people who are incapable of trust. Not that we toss them aside, but that we maybe don't offer them our deepest hopes and dreams and fears--their inability to trust is likely to rub off or make us feel worse.

Motivation: Many of us think we will only achieve a goal or work hard if we constantly beat ourselves up along the way. But maybe we only think that works because we have always done it, and really we have an innate desire to do good work and contribute to the world that is working double-time alongside all that self-flagellation and if we stopped being so mean to ourselves that desire would thrive.

Finally, the last lines from the book that brought tears to my eyes:

"Trust your body.
Be kind to yourself.
You are enough, just as you are right now.
Your joy matters.
Tell everyone you know."
An animated GIF of a group of people running together and hugging

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