Book Reviews and Highlights

Burnout

Emily Nagoski, PhDAmelia Nagoski, DMA

  • Health & Fitness
  • Self-Help
  • Self-Management
  • Social Science
  • Stress Management
  • Women's Health
  • Women's Studies
  • This is a book for any woman who has felt overwhelmed and exhausted by everything she had to do, and yet still worried she was not doing “enough.”
  • Introduction | Page: ix
  • #first-sentence
  • Emotions, at their most basic level, involve the release of neurochemicals in the brain, in response to some stimulus.
  • Introduction | Page: xii
  • In short, emotions are tunnels. If you go all the way through them, you get to the light at the end. Exhaustion happens when we get stuck in an emotion.
  • Introduction | Page: xii
  • In Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, philosopher Kate Manne describes a system in which one class of people, 7 the “human givers,” are expected to offer their time, attention, affection, and bodies willingly, placidly, to the other class of people, the “human beings.” 8 The implication in these terms is that human beings have a moral obligation to be or express their humanity, while human givers have a moral obligation to give their humanity to the human beings. Guess which one women are.
  • Introduction | Page: xiii
  • Givers are expected to abdicate any resource or power they may happen to acquire— their jobs, their love, their bodies. Those belong to the beings.
  • Introduction | Page: xiii
  • Human givers must, at all times, be pretty, happy, calm, generous, and attentive to the needs of others, which means they must never be ugly, angry, upset, ambitious, or attentive to their own needs.
  • Introduction | Page: xiii
  • Science is the best idea humanity has ever had. It’s a systematic way of exploring the nature of reality, of testing and proving or disproving ideas. But it’s important to remember that science is ultimately a specialized way of being wrong.
  • Introduction | Page: xvii
  • Research is the ongoing process of learning new things that show us a little more of what’s true, which inevitably reveals how wrong we used to be, and it is never “finished.”
  • Introduction | Page: xvii
  • A second caveat: Social science is generally done by measuring lots of people and assessing the average measurement of all those people, because people vary.
  • Introduction | Page: xvii
  • A third caveat: Science is often expensive, and who pays for it can influence the outcome and whether or not the results are published.
  • Introduction | Page: xviii
  • Science has a fourth specific limitation worth mentioning in a book about women: When a research article says it studied “women,” it almost always means it studied people who were born in a body that made all the grown- ups around them say, “It’s a girl!” and then that person was raised as a girl and grew into an adult who felt comfortable in the psychological identity and social role of “woman.”
  • Introduction | Page: xviii
  • If you’re moving toward a specific, desired goal, your attention and efforts are focused on that single outcome.
  • Introduction | Page: xix
  • We thrive when we have a positive goal to move toward, not just a negative state we’re trying to move away from.
  • Introduction | Page: xix
  • The “cheese” of Burnout isn’t just feeling less overwhelmed and exhausted, or no longer worrying whether you’re doing “enough.” The cheese is growing mighty, feeling strong enough to cope with all the owls and mazes and anything else the world throws at you.
  • Introduction | Page: xix
  • “Dread is anxiety on steroids,” Amelia said, remembering her own days teaching middle school music, “and the anxiety comes from the accumulation, day after day, of stress that never ends.”
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 4
  • Dealing with your stress is a separate process from dealing with the things that cause your stress. To deal with your stress, you have to complete the cycle.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 4
  • Stress is the neurological and physiological shift that happens in your body when you encounter one of these threats. It’s an evolutionarily adaptive response that helps us cope with things like, say, being chased by a lion or charged by a hippo.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 5
  • When your brain notices the lion (or hippo), it activates a generic “stress response,” a cascade of neurological and hormonal activity that initiates physiological changes to help you survive: epinephrine acts instantly to push blood into your muscles, glucocorticoids keep you going, and endorphins help you ignore how uncomfortable all of this is.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 5
  • Your heart beats faster, so your blood pumps harder, so your blood pressure increases and you breathe more quickly (measures of cardiovascular functioning are a common way researchers study stress).
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 5
  • Your muscles tense; your sensitivity to pain diminishes; your attention is alert and vigilant, focusing on short- term, here- and- now thinking; your senses are heightened; your memory shifts to channel its functioning to the narrow band of experience and knowledge most immediately relevant to this stressor.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 5
  • Plus, to maximize your body’s efficiency in this state, your other organ systems get deprioritized: Your digestion slows down and your immune functioning shifts (measures of immune function are another common way researchers study stress). 3 Ditto growth and tissue repair, as well as reproductive functioning.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 5
  • Your entire body and mind change in response to the perceived threat. And so here comes the lion. You are flooded with stress response. What do you do? You run.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 5
  • Just telling yourself, “You’re safe now; calm down,” doesn’t help. Even seeing the dead lion isn’t enough. You have to do something that signals to your body that you are safe, or else you’ll stay in that state, with neurochemicals and hormones degrading but never shifting into relaxation.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 7
  • Suppose the stressor is not a lion, but some jerk at work. This jerk will never be a threat to our lives, he’s just a pain in the ass. He says some jerky thing at a meeting, and you get a similar flood of adrenaline and cortisol and glycogen, oh my. 5 But you have to sit there in that meeting and be “nice.” “Socially appropriate.” It would only escalate the situation if you vaulted across the table and scratched his eyes out, as your physiology is telling you to do.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 7
  • Instead, you have a quiet, socially appropriate, highly functional meeting with his supervisor, in which you recruit the supervisor’s support in intervening the next time the jerk says another jerky thing.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 7
  • Chronically activated stress response means chronically increased blood pressure, which is like constantly turning a firehose on in your blood vessels, when those vessels were designed by evolution to handle only a gently flowing stream. The increased wear and tear on your blood vessels leads to increased risk for heart disease. That’s how chronic stress leads to life- threatening illness.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 8
  • Many of us were raised to be “good girls,” to be “nice.” Fear and anger and other uncomfortable emotions can cause distress in the people around you, so it’s not nice to feel those things in front of other people. We smile and ignore our feelings, because our feelings matter less than the other person’s.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 9
  • Be nice, be strong, be polite. No feelings for you.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 10
  • So many ways to deny, ignore, or suppress your stress response! For all these reasons and more, most of us are walking around with decades of incomplete stress response cycles simmering away in our chemistry, just waiting for a chance to complete. And then there’s freeze.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 11
  • Flight happens when your brain notices a threat and decides that you’re more likely to survive by trying to escape. That’s what happens when you run from a lion. Fight happens when your brain decides you’re more likely to survive the threat by trying to conquer it. From a biological point of view, fight and flight are essentially the same thing. Flight is fear— avoidance— whereas fight is anger— approach— but they’re both the “GO!” stress response of the sympathetic nervous system. They tell you to do something.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 11
  • Freeze is special. Freeze happens when the brain assesses the threat and decides you’re too slow to run and too small to fight, and so your best hope for survival is to “play dead” until the threat goes away or someone comes along to help you.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 11
  • You know how everyone says exercise is good for you? That it helps with stress and improves your health and mood and intelligence and basically you should definitely get some? 6 This is why. Physical activity is what tells your brain you have successfully survived the threat and now your body is a safe place to live. Physical activity is the single most efficient strategy for completing the stress response cycle.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 15
  • Breathing. Deep, slow breaths downregulate the stress response— especially when the exhalation is long and slow and goes all the way to the end of the breath, so that your belly contracts.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 15
  • A simple, practical exercise is to breathe in to a slow count of five, hold that breath for five, then exhale for a slow count of ten, and pause for another count of five. Do that three times— just one minute and fifteen seconds of breathing— and see how you feel.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 15
  • Reassure your brain that the world is a safe, sane place, and not all people suck. It helps!
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 16
  • Laughter. Laughing together— and even just reminiscing about the times we’ve laughed together— increases relationship satisfaction. 9 We don’t mean social or “posed” laughter, we mean belly laughs— deep, impolite, helpless laughter.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 16
  • Affection. When friendly chitchat with colleagues doesn’t cut it, when you’re too stressed out for laughter, deeper connection with a loving presence is called for.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 16
  • Kissing for six seconds requires that you stop and deliberately notice that you like this person, that you trust them, and that you feel affection for them. By noticing those things, the kiss tells your body that you are safe with your tribe.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 16
  • Another example: Hug someone you love and trust for twenty full seconds, while both of you are standing over your own centers of balance.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 17
  • The research suggests a twenty- second hug can change your hormones, lower your blood pressure and heart rate, and improve mood, all of which are reflected in the post- hug increase in the social- bonding hormone oxytocin. 11
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 17
  • Like a long, mindful kiss, a twenty- second hug can teach your body that you are safe; you have escaped the lion and arrived home, safe and sound, to the people you love.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 17
  • No wonder people who walk their dogs get more exercise and feel better than people who don’t— they’re getting exercise and affection at the same time.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 17
  • A Big Ol’ Cry. Anyone who says “Crying doesn’t solve anything” doesn’t know the difference between dealing with the stress and dealing with the situation that causes the stress.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 18
  • Creative Expression. Engaging in creative activities today leads to more energy, excitement, and enthusiasm tomorrow. 15
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 18
  • You can probably already think of a few things that feel right, but experiment, then schedule that stuff into your day. Put it in your calendar. Thirty minutes of anything that works for you: exercise, meditation, creative expression, affection, etc. Because you experience stress every day, you have to build completing the cycle into every day. Make it a priority, like your life depends on it. Because it does.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 23
  • You might notice yourself checking things, picking at things, thinking obsessive thoughts, or fiddling with your own body in a routinized kind of way. These are signs that the stress has overwhelmed your brain’s ability to cope rationally with the stressor.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 24
  • stressors. To be “well” is not to live in a state of perpetual safety and 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. Wellness happens when your body is a place of safety for you, even when your body is not necessarily in a safe place. You can be well, even during the times when you don’t feel good.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 27
  • Technically, it’s called the “discrepancy- reducing/- increasing feedback loop” and “criterion velocity,” but people fall asleep immediately when we say that, so we just call it the Monitor. It is the brain mechanism that decides whether to keep trying… or to give up. The Monitor knows (1) what your goal is; (2) how much effort you’re investing in that goal; and (3) how much progress you’re making. It keeps a running tally of your effort- to- progress ratio, and it has a strong opinion about what that ratio should be. There are so many ways a plan can go wrong, some of which you can control and some of which you can’t, all of which will frustrate your Monitor.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 31
  • In an almost painfully funny video posted in January 2017, the satirical news website The Onion reported that “an increasing number of women are leaving the workplace to pursue lying facedown on the floor full- time. A Department of Labor report says lying motionless in utter resignation on nights and weekends is just no longer enough for most women.” That’s the pit of despair: resignation and helplessness.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 32
  • If you carry a purse laden with the complete contents of a drugstore, you already know about planful problem- solving. If you write lists, keep calendars, or follow a budget, you know what planful problem- solving entails. It does what it says on the label: you analyze the problem, you make a plan based on your analysis, and then you execute the plan.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 32
  • The good news is that women are socialized to planfully solve problems. The bad news is that every problem calls for a specific kind of planning.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 32
  • Positive reappraisal involves recognizing that sitting in traffic is worth it. It means deciding that the effort, the discomfort, the frustration, the unanticipated obstacles, and even the repeated failure have value— not just because they are steps toward a worthwhile goal, but because you reframe difficulties as opportunities for growth and learning. 3
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 33
  • And, most straightforwardly, people who challenge their bodies with regular exercise develop stronger bones, muscles, and cardiovascular systems— strength is the body’s response to doing something effortful.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 35
  • When you’re frustrated by the slow or interrupted progress toward your goal, and planful problem- solving and positive reappraisal don’t help with the frustration, you need to redefine winning.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 36
  • Hillary Clinton’s failure to win the White House set the stage for record- breaking numbers of women to enter and win political contests and other leadership positions in the United States.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 40
  • There are other coping strategies that don’t necessarily help, and some strategies that are actively destructive. These maladaptive strategies include things like self- defeating confrontation, suppressing your stress, and avoidance. We often turn to such strategies when we feel out of control in a stressful situation and are desperately trying to regain control.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 40
  • Her Monitor is well tuned to the environment and automatically triggers a decision to move on to the next patch. It’s not a rational, cognitive decision; her instincts are connected to the world, reading the environment, and they signal her to move on, taking into account the cost of the change, including traveling to a new patch, risk of predation, and so on. 14
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 45
  • If you want to try using this principle rationally, all you have to do is write four lists: What are the benefits of continuing? What are the benefits of stopping? What are the costs of continuing? What are the costs of stopping? And then you look at those four lists and make a decision based on your estimates of maximizing benefit and minimizing cost. Remember to consider both the long- term and the short- term costs and benefits. And if you decide to continue, remember to include completing the cycle in your plan.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 45
  • Humans— especially women— have an extraordinary capacity to ignore this voice. We live in a culture that values “self- control,” “grit,” and persistence. Many of us are taught to see a shift in goals as “weakness” and “failure,” where another culture would see courage, strength, and openness to new possibilities.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 47
  • For so many reasons, quitting is hard, and we can’t tell you what the right decision is. But knowing the factors that shape our reluctance to give up, we can say this: If you’re feeling not just frustrated and challenged, but helpless, isolated, and trapped, like you want to hide in a cave, or like you’d rather put your hand in a toilet full of tadpoles than spend one more day doing the thing, you should definitely quit whatever it is.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 48
  • It resonated so powerfully because persisting is what women do, each and every day. Often we persist because we literally have no choice.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 49
  • But raise your hand if it gets exhausting. Raise your hand if you’ve wanted to quit. Raise your hand if you’ve asked yourself, How much more do I have to do before I’ve done enough? How much of myself do I have to give? How smoothly do I have to polish myself before I can move through the world without friction?
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 49
  • It was a list of questions, including, Is this worth it? Do I want it to be worth it? Should it be worth it? How can I respect myself, if I give up? How can I respect myself, if I can’t let go? What kind of person am I? What is love? What matters?
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 55
  • You can chart the progress of women in America by the things Disney heroines sing about in their “I Want” songs. Though what they sing about changes, there is one constant: a heroine feels called by something.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 55
  • But like all heroines, we thrive when we are answering the call of something larger than ourselves, when all the commuting and laundry and picking up dog poop and repeating “No television until you finish your homework!” has a meaning larger than the grind of daily routine.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 56
  • Ask yourself, What am I doing when I feel most powerfully that I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing?
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 60
  • Try writing your own obituary or a “life summary” through the eyes of a grandchild or a student. Ask your closest friends to describe the “real you,” the characteristics of your personality and your life that are at the core of your best self.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 61
  • Finally, think of a time when you experienced an intense sense of meaning or purpose or “alignment” or whatever it feels like for you. What were you doing? What was it that created that sense of meaning?
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 61
  • Think of Human Giver Syndrome as a virus whose only goal is to perpetuate its own existence. You were infected with it as soon as you were born, inhaling it with your very first breath. And, just as the rabies virus makes dogs aggressive and bovine spongiform encephalopathy makes cows “mad,” Human Giver Syndrome changes human behavior in order to perpetuate itself— even if it kills the host (that’s us) in the process.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 62
  • On the surface, Human Giver Syndrome seems to support some Something Largers, like being of service. Service is what givers are supposed to do anyway, and it is a defining characteristic of the great figures of history.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 63
  • Audre Lorde: “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” 19
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 63
  • Malala Yousafzai: “I raise up my voice— not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.”
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 63
  • Shirley Chisholm: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 63
  • Hillary Clinton: “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, for as long as you can.” 20
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 63
  • She works extremely hard, many hours a day, in environments that are often pretty toxic, and she makes a real difference in the world. Hundreds of people could tell you how she has changed their lives for the better.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 66
  • When our lives bounce through pockets of turbulence— such as the uncertainty of joblessness or a confrontation with death or a sense that our work is not making a difference or that we don’t belong— our brains grab hold of our Something Larger, as if it can stop our lives or the world from tumbling out of the sky. And it works. 24 It helps us tolerate the uncertainty, the mortality, the helplessness or loneliness, until we find ourselves on the other side of the turbulence and back in smooth airspace.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 68
  • Even though I couldn’t control (adversity), I managed to (survival tactic), and then I used (resource) to grow stronger. After that, I could (skill/ win/ insight).
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 70
  • Writing an origin story can even help you identify your Something Larger, because it helps you notice the parts of your past experience that you leveraged to survive. 28 Meaning is not made by the terrible thing you experienced; it is made by the ways you survive.
  • Part I: What You Take with You | Page: 70
  • In the twenty- first- century West, “one damn thing after another” is what being a woman often feels like. It’s a constant, low- level stream of stressors that are out of your control. Most individual examples are little more than an annoyance… but they accumulate.
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 84
  • Female rats exposed to chronic, mild stressors persist more than males do. They work harder in the face of difficulty; it takes twice as long for their brains to shift into helplessness. Even female rats, it seems, #persist.
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 84
  • And that feeling you have when someone is doing it to you but you’re not sure because maybe they’re right and you’re overreacting and being too sensitive? Like you can’t trust your own senses, except what your senses are telling you is unambiguous? That’s feeling gaslit. You’re filled with simultaneous doubt, fear, rage, betrayal, isolation, and panicked confusion. You can feel that a situation is wrong, but you can’t explain why or how. So you worry that you misunderstood something, or you feel inadequate for being unable to articulate your objection.
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 85
  • The message is consistent and persistent— whatever is wrong, it’s your fault. It can’t be true that the whole rest of the world is broken or crazy; you’re the one who’s broken and crazy. You haven’t tried hard enough. You haven’t done the right things. You don’t have what it takes.
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 86
  • Worse, Human Giver Syndrome is the framework on which sexual violence hangs— the basic belief that men have a right to women’s bodies, and if a woman looks attractive to a man or puts herself in a position where a man can take control of her body, well, that’s what happens; men have a right to take what they can get.
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 87
  • Now, what if… just what if… we raised everyone to be a version of a human giver? What if we assumed it was every person’s moral responsibility to be generous and attentive to the needs of others? What if we assumed no one was simply entitled to have what they wanted from another person, but everyone was supposed to try to help others whenever they could?
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 89
  • No one would sit watching television while the other cooked dinner and did the dishes, unless both had mutually agreed that what worked best for both of them was that one should rest while the other gave. No law would allow anyone to take control of another person’s body, because no one would expect that right. No one would feel the mess of doubt, betrayal, sadness, and rage that comes from being gaslit, because no one would gaslight. And when anyone dropped into the pit of despair, the givers who surround them would turn toward them with generous compassion, without judgment. The absence of the patriarchy (ugh) makes being a human giver safer.
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 89
  • Human Giver Syndrome blinds us to the patriarchy (ugh), because it constrains our ability to view gender- based inequalities, imbalances, and injustices as unfair.
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 89
  • As Gloria Steinem wrote, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 97
  • It’s not true, and the people who say it is are gaslighting you. The truth is you learned helplessness from experiences of being helpless. We unlearn helplessness by doing a thing— a thing that uses our body. Go for a walk. Scream into a pillow. Or, as Carrie Fisher put it, “Take your broken heart, make it into art.”
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 99
  • And when your brain wants to give up because there’s no land in sight, you keep swimming, not because you’re certain swimming will take you where you want to go, but to prove to yourself that you can still swim.
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 99
  • Looking at the scale and scope of the rigging can be painful— scary and enraging and overwhelming. No wonder people hate the word “patriarchy.” It’s a word that exposes and names a source of pain so old and deep we’ve learned to ignore it or treat it as if it’s how life should be.
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 101
  • Here is the secret Human Giver Syndrome doesn’t want you to know: Nothing has changed. No matter what has happened to that body of yours between the day you were born, beautiful and perfect, and the day you read this, your body is still beautiful and perfect. And it is still full of needs.
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 105
  • The Bikini Industrial Complex, or BIC, has successfully created a culture of immense pressure to conform to an ideal that is literally unobtainable by almost everyone and yet is framed not just as the most beautiful, but the healthiest and most virtuous.
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 108
  • The body mass index (BMI) chart and its labels— underweight, overweight, obese, etc.— were created by a panel of nine individuals, seven of whom were “employed by weight- loss clinics and thus have an economic interest in encouraging use of their facilities.” 8
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 108
  • The point is, you define and redefine your body’s worth, on your own terms. Again and again, you turn toward your body with kindness and compassion.
  • Part II: The Real Enemy | Page: 121
  • A 2015 meta- analysis, encompassing seventy different studies and over three million research participants from around the globe, found that social isolation and loneliness increased a person’s odds of an early death by 25 to 30 percent.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 134
  • An identity grounded in autonomy is considered stronger, superior, and masculine. An identity grounded in connection is weaker, inferior, and feminine.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 134
  • Connection— with friends, family, pets, the divine, etc.— is as necessary as food and water. Humans are not built to function autonomously; we are built to oscillate between connection and autonomy and back again.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 152
  • As “human givers,” women live with the expectation that we give every part of our humanity, including our bodies, our health, and our very lives. Our time, energy, and attention should go toward someone else’s well- being, not be squandered on our own. What’s the matter with you, you lazy, selfish monster, sleeping seven hours a night? Get back in line, with the rest of us exhausted, righteous givers.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 156
  • As Audre Lorde put it, “Caring for myself is not self- indulgence, it is self- preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 157
  • Boredom is the discomfort you experience when your brain is in active- attention mode, but can’t latch on to anything to attend to.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 160
  • Without rest, you are not fully yourself. Without sleep, you will literally die. And beyond mere survival, rest is a first step to listening to and believing your body.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 186
  • We are not built to persist incessantly, but to oscillate from effort to rest and back again. On average we need to spend 42 percent of our time— ten hours a day— on rest. If we don’t take the time to rest, then our bodies will revolt and force us to take the time.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 187
  • Human Giver Syndrome tells us it’s “self- indulgent” to rest, which makes as much sense as believing it’s weak or self- indulgent to breathe.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 187
  • You deserve respect and love; you deserve to be cherished. You deserve kindness, right now, just as you are. Not when you lose ten pounds, or a hundred. Not when you get a promotion or finish your degree or get married or come out or have a baby. Now.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 190
  • When the unbridgeable chasm between us and expected- us looms, our madwoman assesses the situation and decides what the problem is. She has only two options: Is the world a lying asshole, with bogus expectations? Or is there something wrong with us?
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 192
  • Many women reading this will find, when they confront their madwoman’s harsh criticism and toxic perfectionism, that deep down they know they are doing their best and they can forgive themselves for the ways their best sometimes falls short.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 197
  • We know that with greater personal power would come greater personal responsibility, and we’re afraid when we have the greater power, we won’t be able to deal with those greater responsibilities.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 202
  • James Baldwin famously said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 206
  • 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.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 211
  • Self- compassion and gratitude empower us to recognize the difference between who we are and who the world expects us to be, without beating ourselves up or shutting ourselves off from the world.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 212
  • Joy arises from an internal clarity about our purpose.” 1 When we engage with something larger than ourselves, we make meaning; and when we can resonate, bell- like, with that Something Larger, that’s joy.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 213
  • The stepping stone to joy is feeling like you are “enough,” and feeling “not enough” is a form of loneliness. We need other people to tell us that we are enough, not because we don’t know it already, but because the act of hearing it from someone else— and (equally) the act of taking the time to remind someone else they’re enough— is part of what makes us feel we’re enough.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 214
  • The cure for burnout is not “self- care”; it is all of us caring for one another. So we’ll say it one more time: Trust your body. Be kind to yourself. You are enough, just as you are right now. Your joy matters. Please tell everyone you know.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 214
  • “Human Giver Syndrome” is the contagious false belief that you have a moral obligation to give every drop of your humanity— your time, attention, energy, love, even your body— in support of others, no matter the cost to you.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 215
  • Pay attention to how different it feels to interact with people who treat you with care and generosity, versus people who treat you as if they are entitled to whatever they want from you.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 215
  • Connection—with friends, family, pets, the divine, etc.—is as necessary as food and water.
  • Part III: Wax on, Wax Off | Page: 215
  • #last-sentence