Friday, August 16, 2019

Burnout

I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister.  I teach kids in China how to speak English each morning over the internet.  I have friendships to maintain, a home to care for, and I am a resident of this world.  If you can identify with any of these things then you too probably face some amount of stress. 

I know I do.

not.

When I saw the book Burnout on bookstagram I knew I had to read it.  I bought it and set it aside, a bit intimidated.  Honestly, a book with the subtitle, "The secret to unlocking the stress cycle"  seemed like it would stress me out more.  

After reading You're Wearing That?  I thought my reading life could use some more nonfiction.  And then I heard Annie Jones talking about Burnout on her podcast and I thought, "Ok...I'll give this a try." 

From the start, I liked the voices of the authors (twin sisters), who felt like friends who were looking out for me.  They had great insight into the stress cycle women feel and how the patriarchy rigs the system.  The research they used was reliable but they also included anecdotes that made the science go down real smooth. 



Here's what I learned:

1.  Modern life doesn't help us complete our stress cycles.  We need to be active, creative or connect in some way (30 minutes of exercise, dance, 20-second hugs, good laugh or cry) in order to signal to our bodies that the stress is behind us. 

2. "Planful problem solving" (doing what you can to plan for problems) and "Positive Reappraisal" (changing your view of problems to opportunities) can help mitigate some of the things that cause us stress. 

3.  Watch out for relationships where you're being a human giver (someone whose value is only found in their good appearance, pleasant mood, and care for others).  This is draining and an impossible way to live.

demanding kids ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ 

4.  I can counteract some of the damage done to society by the patriarchy by practicing self-acceptance and seeing myself as "the new hotness."  I am hot, right now, stretch marks, zits, and lines around my eyes.  And so are you.  And so is she. I can redefine "hot" and resist some of the stress that comes from society.  

5.  Connection is required.  Introvert or otherwise.  We need each other and there is scientific evidence to back that up.

6.  Getting rest is crucial and an act of rebellion against a society that says busyness and exhaustion are signs of a good life and getting proper sleep is selfish. 

preach.

7.  We all have a "madwoman in the attic"--that voice in our head that pushes us to be a human giver.  I sat with this idea for a while and thought about what my madwoman looked like.  She is a version of me from the upside-down: a mess, slovenly, disorganized, and weak and she yells at me that there is no difference between me and her...so then I work extra hard to prove her wrong.  I'm still considering the implications of this. 

8.  Self-compassion allows you to heal without inflicting more damage.  Practicing gratitude makes you aware of the good people in your life and the ways circumstances have worked out in the past which can give you hope for the future.  Not necessarily earth-shattering, but very good reminders. 

These things scratch the surface of what I learned.  There were multiple studies and facts provided in the text that made me tell whoever was near me and call my husband at work.  It's been three weeks since I read it and I feel better equipped for those times I feel overwhelmed by stress and I now incorporate completing the cycle in my daily life.  I'm not perfect, but I did just get back from a vacation with my mom and my mother in law and didn't lose my cool.  That is PROGRESS, my friends!  

I think Oprah would be proud. 
Overall, my new approach to stress is hopeful and healthy and if nothing else, that makes reading Burnout a smashing success.  

Have you read it?  Share your thoughts in comments.  

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