The best books on burnout

Harriet Griffey Author Of From Burnout to Balance: How to Reclaim Your Life & Improve Your Health
By Harriet Griffey

The Books I Picked & Why

How to Build a Healthy Brain: Reduce stress, anxiety and depression and future-proof your brain

By Kimberley Wilson

How to Build a Healthy Brain: Reduce stress, anxiety and depression and future-proof your brain

Why this book?

“One of the most common mistakes that people make in relation to managing their emotional and mental health is waiting until there is a crisis before they act,” says Watson, a nutrition-trained chartered psychologist, in the introduction of her book and she’s absolutely right. Being observant and informed about what can impact our mental health can help us avoid a crisis like burnout. This really comprehensive and accessible book is also excellent at explaining how the brain works and what it needs, from nutrition to exercise and sleep, and how we can make the improvements necessary to take better care of ourselves and avoid or manage a crisis like burnout that, in turn, can contribute to other problems.


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The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

By Bessel Van Der Kolk

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Why this book?

Again, not focussed specifically on burnout but related to it, this book was first published in 2014 and embodies over 30 years of research and psychotherapeutic work done by the author on the impact of trauma (and burnout is a form of psychological trauma) on body and mind. It’s a meaty read but one of its many pluses is providing an understanding of how the body’s physiological response can hijack the mind, and vice versa. An individual’s predisposition may lie deeper than a response to work-related stress and for many, this book is pure gold in helping to understand the underlying causes of a possible susceptibility to burnout.


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The Joy of Burnout: How the End of the World Can Be a New Beginning

By Dina Glouberman

The Joy of Burnout: How the End of the World Can Be a New Beginning

Why this book?

Originally published in 2002, the author took a revolutionary approach to burnout, suggesting that burnout could be an opportunity for making overdue changes rather than a reason to panic. Ignoring the warning signs of burnout, feeling exhausted, frustrated, empty, disconnected, spent, or cynical will ultimately lead to a state of collapse, but listening to the message of burnout and exploring life alternatives will enable you to make beneficial changes. One of the founders of Skyros Holistic Holidays in Greece, psychotherapist and imagework practitioner Glouberman promotes alternative ways of living and being that actively promote psychological health.


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In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed

By Carl Honoré

In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed

Why this book?

In Praise of Slow was first published in 2004 and it advocated rejecting the all-pervasive cult of speed and living in a way that allowed you to be present, mindful, in the moment and focused on doing one thing at a time whether that’s working on a project, talking to a colleague, cooking a meal, socialising with a friend or reading to a child. It’s the antithesis of the cult of speed that can easily pervade our lives and contribute to burnout. For anyone who’s wanted to reassess what might be contributing to the stress that puts them at risk, they will find this is an interesting and enlightening read.


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Burnout: Solve Your Stress Cycle

By Emily Nagoski, Amelia Nagoski

Burnout: Solve Your Stress Cycle

Why this book?

Identical twin sisters, Emily has a PhD in Health Behaviour and Amelia is a musician, they focus on the stress cycle as experienced particularly by women who, they persuasively argue, experience it differently to their male counterparts. Their inner critic is a woman’s own worst enemy and it can be difficult to override when it feeds into a stress cycle based on perfectionism, the idea that it’s possible to ‘have it all’, and the necessity for expensive ‘self-care’. Their objectives in examining the female stress cycle are science-based, simpler, and more accessible and in spite of being directed at a female readership, there’s a lot that’s relatable across the board.


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