Summary of Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski.

burnout stress

Key Ideas

The authors present a systems thinking approach to dealing with Stress.

key idea

Stressors create stress which accumulates until the Stress Cycle is completed. If left to continuously grow over time, stress results in Burnout - defined by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a decreased sense of accomplishment.

Approaches to completing the stress cycle: Physical activity of 20-60m per day (most effective), deep breathing, positive social interaction, and creative expression.

Approaches to reducing stressors: planful problem solving, positive reappraisal, redefining winning and failing, and finding meaning.


The definition of Burnout according to Herbert Freudenberger in 1975, is a state of:

Stress vs. Stressors

According to the authors, we focus too much on controlling our stressors, and not enough on completing the stress cycle. The lack of completion of the stress cycle results in stress accumulation, eventually resulting in burnout.

Completing the Stress Cycle

Dealing with Stressors