Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, written by sisters Emily and Amelia, takes a look at "why women experience burnout so much differently than men." The co-authors explain the problem (women being exhausted, overwhelmed, and stressed) and offer some explanations as to why women experience this differently. They also offer some very practical solutions for dealing with stress and overwhelm including how to complete stress cycles, how to confront the madwoman in the attic (that voice in your head that tells you you're not good enough), and how to include more rest in your daily routine. I think that this somewhat lengthy quote sums up the book really well:
Why does anything in this book matter? Does it matter how well we are--that is, how free we are to move through the cycles and oscillations of being human? If we're not hurting other people, does it really matter how exhausted, overwhelmed, and self-critical--how burned out--we feel?
It does matter. It matters because we, your authors, want the world to be a better place. We want life to become increasingly good for an increasing number of people. We think you want that, too. And you are part of the world.
When you are cruel to yourself, contemptuous and shaming, you only increase the cruelty in the world; when you are kind and compassionate toward yourself, you increase the kindness and compassion in the world. Being compassionate toward yourself--not self-indulgent or self-pitying, but kind--is both the least you can do and the single most important thing you can do to make the world a better place. Until you are free, we can't be fully free, which is why all of us together have to collaborate to create freedom for everyone. Our wellness is tied to yours.
I went back and forth a few times about whether to give this book 4 or 5 stars. I ended up giving it 4, just because I wasn't a huge fan of some of the writing techniques the authors used (e.g. interspersing snippets of stories throughout that start and pick back up later in other parts of the book). Aside from that, I really, really loved this book. It's one that I will most likely go back to many times in the future. The section about ways to end your stress cycle alone make this book well worth the time and money spent. Apparently there is a reason that going to the gym makes me feel better after a stressful day. Movement and cardio are actually one of the best ways to end a stress cycle (very long hugs also work well for me). I'm also a big fan of the chapter on rest and facing the madwoman in the attic (I've officially named my inner critic Bertha). All in all, I think this is a very important book for all women (and probably men as well) to read.
Disclaimer: While I think that everyone should read this book, I feel like I should let you know that the authors are very much feminists. If that word offends you or ruffles your feathers (as it did me at one point in my life), then I recommend that you start by reading We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It's very short and is the book that changed my perspective on feminism for the better.
Have you read this book? I'd love for you to share you thoughts in the comments!
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