If you are reading this, you’ve likely experienced burnout at some point in your life. It is a state of exhaustion caused by stress. The woman’s self-help book, Burnout, by Emily Nagoski, PhD and Amelia Nagoski, DMA explores why it happens and what to do about it.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with or endorsed by the publisher or authors, and am receiving no compensation for writing this article.


This book addresses both stress and stressors, and why stress doesn’t always naturally resolve itself in a modern-day world. It outlines patriarchal society and its effect on women, then shares what we can do daily to defend ourselves against burnout.

The Stress Cycle

One particularly useful part of the book talked about the stress cycle. In caveman or hunter and gatherer days, stressors took the form of animals that wanted to eat us. Our bodies helped us survive by giving us the fight, flight, or freeze response. Chemicals were released in our bodies so we could get away from the predator, and the stress cycle completed naturally. Unfortunately, in modern society, stressors take the form of deadlines and difficult-to-work-with people. Running typically isn’t the appropriate solution in those situations, so we end up with a bunch of incomplete stress cycles building up. These eventually cause burnout. The authors list some ways to complete the stress cycle:

  • Physical activity (best solution)
  • Affection
    • 6 second kiss
    • 20 second hug
    • 6 minutes of snuggling after intimacy
  • Helpless laughter
  • Creativity 


Humans need both autonomy and connection, and cycle between them. Loneliness is a type of starvation. The authors list a few ways you can tell that you need connection, when you:

  • Have been gaslit
  • Feel like you’re not enough
  • Are sad
  • Are boiling with rage

Rest and Sleep

Sleep is a topic that pops up in a lot of self-help books. You can’t be your best self if you don’t take care of your body. And your body needs sleep. Sleep is seriously so underrated.


The authors assert that self care won’t cure burnout. The solution is everyone caring for each other.

I try to “take the meat and leave the bones.” So, while I don’t agree with every idea presented in this book, I did find value there. The section at the beginning on completing the stress cycle all by itself was worth reading the book for. I recommend you pick up a copy so you can learn how to avoid or get out of burnout, too.

Looking for another great self-help book? Check out Girl, Wash Your Face.

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