Breaking Free from Burnout: Insights from “Burnout” by Amelia and Emily Nagoski

Breaking Free from Burnout: Insights from “Burnout” by Amelia and Emily Nagoski

Are you struggling to keep up with the demands of life, feeling constantly drained, even disconnected, yet you just keep going because somehow it feels that you aren’t doing enough? If so, “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle” by Amelia Nagoski and Emily Nagoski offers wisdom and practical advice you need. Let’s explore who would benefit from this book, the key takeaways, and how it all ties back to nutrition.

Who Should Read “Burnout”?

Though you might think of professional burnout when you read the title of this book, it’s actually more geared toward women who are feeling overwhelmed, stuck, stressed, and never enough in today’s world. Think of the monologue in the Barbie movie about how hard and contradicting it is to be a woman.

With that said, I think the people who would benefit the most from this book are:

  • Caregivers and Parents: For those who spend their days taking care of others—whether it’s children, elderly parents, or patients—this book offers essential tools to ensure you also take care of yourself.
  • Health and Wellness Enthusiasts: If you’re passionate about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, completing the stress cycle is a key component you need to know about. This book helps you understand how to address your body’s response to stress, not just the stressors.

Major Takeaways We Can All Benefit From

1. Understanding the Stress Cycle

One of the book’s core concepts is the idea of the stress cycle. The Nagoski sisters explain that stress is a physiological process that needs to be completed. Simply removing the stressor (e.g., finishing a project or ending a conversation with a toxic person) doesn’t complete the cycle; you need activities like exercise, deep breathing, or physical affection to signal to your body that it’s safe to relax.

2. The Best Way to Complete The Stress Cycle

Exercise is highly effective for completing the stress cycle because it engages the body’s natural stress response system and helps to discharge the physical and emotional tension accumulated during periods of stress. When we engage in physical activity, such as running, yoga, or dancing, our bodies release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. Additionally, exercise promotes the release of muscle tension and encourages deep breathing, which can help regulate the stress response and promote relaxation.

Of course, there are a few other ways to complete the stress cycle. These include a human connection (a 20-second hug or a 6-second kiss), petting a furry friend, progressive muscle tension and relaxation, deep breathing, and rest. Don’t just stop at one; doing several of these things routinely can build resilience and contribute to well-being.

3. Addressing Human Giver Syndrome

The term “human giver syndrome” refers to societal expectations placed on individuals, particularly women, to prioritize the needs of others above their own. According to the Nagoski sisters, those affected by the human giver syndrome often feel compelled to give and nurture constantly without regard for their own well-being. This can lead to chronic stress, burnout, and a sense of depletion.

The syndrome is rooted in cultural norms and gender expectations, and the authors highlight the importance of recognizing and challenging societal pressures that contribute to burnout and stress. By acknowledging the inherent value of true self-care and setting boundaries, individuals can break free from the cycle of overextension and reclaim their agency in prioritizing their own well-being.

4. Emotions are Like Tunnels

The Nagoski sisters liken emotions to tunnels, suggesting we must travel through them from beginning to end to achieve resolution. Failure to do so can lead to emotional exhaustion and burnout. This insight underscores the importance of acknowledging and processing our emotions rather than suppressing or ignoring them. Some emotions, like grief and rage, are very difficult to move through on our own. We often need the help of others.

5. The Importance of Rest, Play, and Connection

Rest and play are not optional luxuries but essential for preventing and recovering from burnout. Engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation can help replenish your energy and resilience. Just like we need rest and play, it’s our human nature to need each other. Human connection is a powerful antidote to stress. Whether through friendships, family, or community, having supportive relationships can help buffer the effects of stress and the authors point out that we were designed to live life together – not on our own.

6. Realistic Expectations

Lastly, the authors highlight the importance of setting realistic expectations for yourself and others. They encourage us to understand that perfection is unattainable and that it’s okay to have limits. We’re only human, after all.

How This All Ties Back to Nutrition

Here are 2 ways stress and nutrition are linked.

Stress and Eating Habits – When we’re stressed, our eating habits often suffer. We might reach for comfort foods, skip meals, or overeat. Understanding the stress cycle and learning how to manage stress can help us maintain healthier eating patterns and avoid the health consequences of chronic stress. Completing the stress cycle with healthy activities can reduce stress-related cravings and improve our overall nutrition.

Nourishing Your Body – Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in managing stress and preventing burnout. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can support your body’s stress response and help you feel more energized. The authors emphasize the importance of listening to your body and nourishing it well.

Final Thoughts

I found “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle” by Amelia and Emily Nagoski to be incredibly insightful and practical. There are more takeaways than I can fit into a blog. The book helps you understand burnout and provides actionable steps to prevent and recover from it. We can all better manage stress by learning to complete the stress cycle, addressing human giver syndrome, and maintaining healthy habits. Whether you’re a busy mom, a caregiver, or someone passionate about health and wellness, this book offers valuable strategies to enhance your well-being.

Listen in to the conversation!

Listen to Kristen and Eleanor discuss this book on the Heatlh Geeks Book Club Podcast:

Cuban Vegetable Salad

Cuban Vegetable Salad

Cuban Vegetable Salad – A Bright, Healthy, and Colorful Dish

Summer means lots of parties, cookouts, and time by the water. Want to WOW your friends and your taste buds? This Cuban Vegetable Salad bursts with vibrant colors and flavors, reflecting the lively spirit of Cuban cuisine. The blend of black beans, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion, and celery provides a nutrient-rich base full of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. The addition of mango and avocado introduces a creamy sweetness and healthy fats, while the brown rice adds a wholesome, nutty texture. The salad’s striking presentation and the refreshing, zesty mojo dressing make it a standout dish, perfect for any occasion.

Cuban Vegetable Salad

This Cuban Vegetable Salad bursts with vibrant colors and flavors, reflecting the lively spirit of Cuban cuisine. The blend of black beans, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion, and celery provides a nutrient-rich base full of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. The addition of mango and avocado introduces a creamy sweetness and healthy fats, while the brown rice adds a wholesome, nutty texture. The salad's striking presentation and the refreshing, zesty mojo dressing make it a standout dish, perfect for any occasion.
Course Salad
Cuisine Cuban
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 470kcal


Mojo Dressing ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chipotle pepper in adobo sauce chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley chopped
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients

  • 11/2 cup black beans canned, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 bell pepper red, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper green, chopped
  • 1/2 onion red, chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 mango flesh chopped
  • 1 avocado cubed
  • 1/2 cup corn frozen and defrosted (or fresh)
  • 1 cup rice brown, pre-cooked


Prep the following ingredients:

  • Cook brown rice according to directions.
  • Drain the black beans.
  • Slice cherry tomatoes in half and finely chop peppers, onion, and celery.
  • Mince the garlic.
  • Cube mango and avocado.
  • Mince garlic.
  • Finely chop chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.

Make the salad.

  • Add beans, tomatoes, pepper, onion, garlic, corn, and celery to a large bowl and mix.
  • Fold in mango, avocado, and brown rice.

Make the dressing.

  • In a medium size add olive oil, lime juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, honey, cumin, and chipotle pepper, then whisk until well mixed.
  • Fold in cilantro and parsley.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add mojo dressing to the salad and toss well.


Makes 4 servings. Nutrition facts per serving:
  • Calories: 470
  • Total Fat 23g
    • Saturated Fat 3.1g
    • Trans Fat 0.0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 378mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 60g
    • Dietary Fiber 14g
  • Protein 11g
Unlocking The Secrets Of Emotions: A Dive Into “How Emotions Are Made” By Lisa Feldman Barrett

Unlocking The Secrets Of Emotions: A Dive Into “How Emotions Are Made” By Lisa Feldman Barrett

Navigating the world of emotions can feel like trying to solve a puzzle without all the pieces. If you’ve ever wondered how emotions really work, Lisa Feldman Barrett’s book, “How Emotions are Made,” offers insights that will help you understand them in a whole new way. Let’s dive into what makes this book a must-read, its major takeaways, and how it relates to nutrition.

Who Should Read “How Emotions Are Made”?

Curious Minds

If you’re curious about how the mind works, this book is for you. Barrett challenges what we think we know about emotions, making it a fascinating read for anyone interested in psychology or neuroscience.

Health and Wellness Fans

Understanding the science of emotions is crucial if you’re into health and wellness. Barrett’s insights can help you develop a more balanced approach to emotional health, a major key to overall well-being.

Major Takeaways

1. Emotions are Made, Not Born

One of the biggest ideas in the book is that emotions are not pre-programmed responses. Instead, our brains create them using past experiences, culture, and context. This means we have more control over our emotions than we might think.

2. Emotional Granularity

Barrett talks about emotional granularity—the ability to identify and describe a wide range of emotions. People who can do this tend to handle their emotions better and have better mental health.

3. The Role of Bodily Sensations

Our brains monitor and interpret signals from our bodies to create emotions. We can understand and manage our emotions better by paying more attention to these bodily sensations.

4. The Power of Prediction

Our brains constantly predict what will happen next based on past experiences. These predictions shape our emotional responses. By becoming aware of this, we can change our predictions and, as a result, our emotional reactions.

Why Emotions Matter for Nutrition

Understanding emotions as something created by the mind and body highlights just how closely linked our physical and emotional well-being are.

Lisa introduces the intriguing concept of a ‘body budget,’ which is a way of summing up how our brains manage the resources needed to navigate the complexities of daily life. According to Barrett, our brains operate like financial managers, constantly making predictions and allocating ‘funds’ to various bodily functions based on incoming sensory information. Just as we budget our money to cover expenses, our brains budget energy to regulate emotions, maintain physical health, and respond to the demands of the environment.

Your food choices can affect your body budget and the other way around. For instance, if you are low on energy because you just spent the whole day learning a new computer program at work, your body budget will be depleted. This may make you feel a little grumpy, foggy, or overwhelmed at the end of the day which could influence what choices we make next. You’ll need to make some positive deposits like food, rest, and water to bring it back up to balance.

When we pay attention to our mood, emotions, and our body’s signals, we can make mindful decisions about our food. Noticing how different foods make us feel physically and emotionally can guide us to healthier eating habits. Recognizing our body’s signals after eating certain foods can help us make better dietary choices that support emotional health.

Stress and Emotional Eating

Barrett’s insights into how emotions are made can help us understand and deal with stress-related eating. Knowing that our cravings and eating habits are influenced by our brain’s predictions and past experiences, we can find ways to change these patterns. This might involve creating new associations with food or finding other ways to cope with stress.

Building a Positive Relationship with Food

Just as we aim to understand our emotions better, we can also strive to understand our relationship with food. This means acknowledging the emotional aspects of eating and working to create a positive, respectful relationship with what we consume.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed reading Lisa Feldman Barrett’s “How Emotions are Made.” It’s not just a book about emotions; it’s a guide to understanding the connection between our minds and bodies. By exploring this link, we can better manage our emotions and make choices that improve our overall well-being, including our eating habits and nutrition. Whether you’re a curious reader, a health enthusiast, or a professional in the mental health field, this book offers insights that can enrich your life and help you better understand yourself.

Hungry For More?

Listen to Kristen and Eleanor discuss this book on the Heatlh Geeks Book Club Podcast:

Easy No-Cook Vanilla Cinnamon Granola

Easy No-Cook Vanilla Cinnamon Granola

Granola is a great way to kick start your energy for the day! This one has all the good stuff. If you have a nut allergy, just replace walnuts with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.

  • 1 cup walnuts, raw, chopped
  • 12 dates, Medjool, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup oats, rolled (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1 Tbs hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • salt, to taste


  1. Pit and chop dates


  1. Add walnuts to food processor and pulse until roughly chopped
  2. Add dates and pulse until combined with walnuts
  3. Add balance of ingredients and pulse until combined
  4. Add a few pinches of salt if desired
  5. Pour onto baking sheet and separate with fingers
  6. Let air dry for about four hours
  7. Place in an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks

Pecans work well in place of walnuts here.

Serving size indicated is perfect for breakfast or snack but you can also use less as a topping!

Chickpea Butternut Squash Soup: Wholesome Goodness In A Bowl

Chickpea Butternut Squash Soup: Wholesome Goodness In A Bowl

Are you in the mood for a hearty soup filled with nutritional goodness? This is the one for you! Our vegan-friendly chickpea, butternut squash, and corn soup is a warm embrace on a chilly evening. Packed with the goodness of chickpeas, the sweetness of butternut squash, and the freshness of corn, this soup is a hearty meal that satisfies your soul and taste buds alike. Dive into this easy-to-follow recipe that promises to be your new go-to comfort food for all seasons.

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary, fresh, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric, ground
  • 3 cups chickpeas, canned, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups corn, frozen, defrosted
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste


  1. Chop onion, and rosemary, and mince the garlic
  2. Peel and cube butternut squash (can use pre-cut or frozen)


  1. Sauté onion in olive oil to a large soup pot over medium heat until soft and fragrant
  2. Add turmeric, garlic and rosemary and stir to coat the onions – about 1 minute
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the corn, and cover with vegetable broth
  4. Reduce heat and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
  5. Transfer half of the soup to a blender and purée until smooth
  6. Add purée soup back to pot, along with corn
  7. Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste
  8. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes if desired