Best Books About Burnout and Finding Balance

Employees feeling sad, tired and overworked in office.

Burnout is a real issue for many people in the modern workplace, but it isn’t something you have to suffer through alone. There are some great books out there that can provide support and guidance on how to manage job burnout and create more balance in your life. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best books about burnout and how to deal with it. Whether you’re looking for something that dives deep into the psychology behind burnout or just a few tips on how to cope, there’s something here for everyone. 

What is Job Burnout?

Job burnout is a state of chronic physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that arises from prolonged exposure to high levels of stress and pressure in the workplace. It responds to prolonged intense work demands, often coupled with a lack of resources, support, or control over one’s work environment. 

Burnout has become an all too common phenomenon in the fast-paced and demanding world of modern careers. As the relentless pursuit of professional success takes its toll, individuals increasingly find themselves emotionally and physically drained, struggling to maintain a sense of equilibrium. According to the American Psychological Association, 3 in 5 employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation, or energy. 

Symptoms of Job Burnout

Burnout can manifest differently in everyone, however some of the most common symptoms include: 

  • Exhaustion. Persistent feelings of fatigue and depleted energy, even after sufficient rest and sleep.
  • Cynicism and Negativity. A negative and detached attitude towards work, colleagues, and clients.
  • Reduced Professional Efficacy. Feelings of incompetence and inefficiency often accompany a decline in job performance and productivity.

How to Overcome Job Burnout

If left unaddressed, job burnout can seriously affect an individual’s physical health, mental well-being, job satisfaction, and overall quality of life.

If you’re caught in this whirlwind and seeking ways to combat burnout and regain harmony, the answer may lie within the pages of insightful books on this topic.

This article serves as a curated guide for career-driven individuals, offering a selection of handpicked books on burnout and valuable strategies for reclaiming balance in the professional realm.

From expert advice on stress management to profound insights on work-life integration, these literary gems promise to equip you with the tools and wisdom needed to navigate the challenges of job burnout.

Recommended Books About Burnout

Below are some must-read books that address burnout and offer valuable insights to help combat it and find balance professionally:

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Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

By Emily & Amelia Nagoski

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“Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle” is a book by sisters Emily Nagoski, Ph.D., and Amelia Nagoski, D.M.A. It delves into the science of stress and burnout, providing valuable insights and practical strategies to help individuals overcome the challenges of modern life and regain a sense of balance and well-being.

The central premise of the book revolves around the concept of the “stress cycle.” According to the authors, stress is a natural physiological response that prepares the body to deal with challenges and threats. However, the stress cycle needs to be completed to effectively cope with stress, allowing the body to return to a state of equilibrium.

The Nagoski sisters emphasize that the stress cycle is often left incomplete in today’s fast-paced world, leading to chronic stress and burnout. They explore the various ways stress accumulates, particularly for individuals who face continuous pressure and high demands in their personal and professional lives.

The book combines scientific research, personal anecdotes, and practical exercises, making it a valuable resource for those seeking to understand and address the challenges of burnout in the modern world.

The Burnout Generation

by Anne Helen Petersen

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“The Burnout Generation” is an audiobook by American journalist and cultural critic Anne Helen Petersen. In this thought-provoking book, Petersen delves into the experiences and challenges the millennial generation faces, exploring the social and cultural factors that have contributed to what she calls the “burnout phenomenon” among millennials.

The audiobook’s central thesis revolves around the idea that burnout is not merely an individual’s failure to cope with stress but a symptom of broader systemic issues prevalent in modern society. Petersen argues that millennials, more than any other generation, are experiencing burnout due to the changing economic landscape, shifting work dynamics, and societal pressures.

Through personal anecdotes, cultural analysis, and interviews with individuals from various backgrounds, Petersen provides an insightful and empathetic exploration of the burnout experienced by millennials. She does not offer a one-size-fits-all solution to the problem but instead prompts readers to question the societal norms and pressures contributing to the burnout generation.

Daring Greatly

Brené Brown

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“Daring Greatly” is a transformative book authored by Brené Brown, a renowned researcher, author, and speaker on topics like vulnerability, courage, and shame. In this book, Brown explores the power of vulnerability and its potential to positively impact every aspect of our lives, from personal relationships to leadership roles.

The title “Daring Greatly” is inspired by a quote from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech, “Citizenship in a Republic,” in which he talks about the importance of showing up and taking risks despite the possibility of failure or criticism. Brown uses this concept as the foundation to discuss how vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but rather a key to building genuine connections and living a fulfilling life.

Brown shares her research findings, personal stories, and those of others, creating a relatable and engaging narrative that resonates with readers. This book on burnout provides practical strategies and actionable advice to help individuals embrace vulnerability, overcome shame, and cultivate meaningful connections with others.

By encouraging readers to step into the arena of life with courage and vulnerability, Brené Brown’s “Daring Greatly” empowers individuals to lead more authentic, fulfilling lives, build stronger relationships, and become more effective and compassionate leaders in their personal and professional spheres.

The Power of Full Engagement

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

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“The Power of Full Engagement” is a groundbreaking book on burnout that presents a unique approach to achieving high performance, productivity, and personal well-being by focusing on managing and renewing energy rather than simply managing time.

The book’s central premise is that managing energy is the key to unlocking peak performance and finding sustainable success in all aspects of life. Loehr and Schwartz argue that traditional time management techniques often fall short because they neglect the crucial role of energy management.

The key concepts explored in this book on burnout include energy management, rhythmic balance, stress and recovery, and personal stories. By adopting the principles outlined in “The Power of Full Engagement,” readers can learn to better manage their energy levels, reduce stress, and optimize their personal and professional performance. The book offers a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to achieving success and fulfillment without sacrificing well-being.

Overwhelmed

by Brigid Schulte

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“Overwhelmed” is a thought-provoking book by journalist and author Brigid Schulte. In this book, Schulte delves into the modern-day epidemic of busyness and explores how the quest for “having it all” has led many individuals to overwhelming and unsustainable lifestyles.

The central theme of this book on burnout revolves around the challenges people face trying to balance the demands of work, family, and personal life in a society that values constant productivity and busyness. Schulte argues that the pressure to be constantly available and “busy” has become a status symbol, leading to burnout, stress, and a lack of time.

This book on job burnout weaves together personal stories, interviews, and extensive research to shed light on the complexities of modern life and the struggle to find time for what truly matters. 

The book critiques the overwhelming state of affairs and offers practical solutions and strategies to reclaim time, reduce stress, and find a more fulfilling balance between work, love, and play.

Conclusion

As you navigate the ever-changing demands of the professional world, these books stand as guiding lights, illuminating the path toward combating burnout and achieving a sense of equilibrium. 

Armed with the wisdom and insights shared within these pages, you can equip yourself to recharge and reconnect with a renewed sense of purpose, vitality, and balance in your lives. 

Working remotely? Check out 8 Tips to Avoid Work From Home Fatigue.

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