We're thrilled to bring another installment of the Flowly Book Review Series. This week, let's join Flowly team member Christine and explore Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Code by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. & Amelia Nagoski, DMA.
What's it about?
This novel book delves into women's unique challenges with burnout, offering a science-based approach to reduce stress and enhance well-being. Authors Emily Nagoski, Ph.D., and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, address the disparity between societal expectations and women's experiences, providing practical solutions. The book guides women on completing the biological stress cycle, managing emotional triggers, overcoming societal pressures, and embracing self-care without unrealistic standards. Grounded in science and with actionable advice, it empowers women to combat burnout and achieve genuine wellness.
Why did you choose to read Burnout?
I acquired this book during a phase of intense burnout while employed at several major ad agencies. It was a time when my usual methods of relaxation and decompression weren't helping me bounce back. Even as I delved into these burnout-focused books, I remained in denial, hoping that I wasn't truly burned out. Re-reading this book now, I realize that I was, and I could’ve healed faster if I’d first accepted that I was burnt out.
What are the main takeaways?
1. While we might all intuitively understand "burnout," it is defined by three key components. The three elements of burnout are emotional exhaustion (the fatigue that comes from caring too much for too long), depersonalization (the depletion of empathy, caring, and compassion), and a decreased sense of accomplishment. For women, the first one is the most strongly linked as a contributing factor to burn-out symptoms.
2. "Meaning" is one of the main elements that promote happiness in people who are otherwise happy. Meaning isn't always "fun," and it's not constant. Meaning is most likely to come from three kinds of sources: (1) pursuit and achievement of ambitious goals, (2) serving the divine or other spiritual calling, and (3) loving, emotionally intimate connection with others.
3. What constitutes sufficient rest—i.e., the duration your body and brain require for rejuvenation? The answer: 42% of your time, roughly equivalent to 10 hours within a 24-hour period. While sleep is part of this equation, rest extends beyond mere slumber. It encompasses diverse activities such as engaging in stress-reducing conversations with loved ones, participating in physical activity, practicing mindful eating, and more.
How did Burnout affect you?
I didn't fully appreciate this book when I first read it because I was looking for confirmation that I wasn't experiencing burnout (even though I was). However, revisiting the book for Flowly, I recognize that many tools and techniques I've acquired while working at Flowly aligned with what I needed to recover from years of burnout in my previous life in ad-land.
Who should read Burnout?
Mainly women, regardless of whether they're working in a professional capacity or not. There are so many helpful frameworks and worksheets provided within these pages that'll help women in so many different capacities (e.g., making a major decision, creating a burnout recovery plan, etc.). However, there was an entire part within the book that I felt was irrelevant to me (key terms have to do with "patriarchy" and "bikini"), but some people might need the information on those pages.
I think the section on Rest would be especially useful to our Flowly community. Our Heroes are already living with very limited spoons on a daily basis, and rest is extremely important to their healing. Having a baseline percent of resting time necessary for an average woman to recover is a great starting point for our Heroes to figure out how much more rest they need to thrive.
Do you have a book you would like to review and share with the Flowly community? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.