I am so excited to share this conversation with you. Today I am talking with Emily and Amelia Nagoski, authors of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. I think this might be one of those episodes you re-listen to, because what Emily and Amelia have to say is incredibly wise and kind and so empowering and soothing - at the same time. No kidding.
Their own description of this book might be the best one. On Amelia’s Medium bio, it says “A feminist book about stress” On Emily’s website, the description reads, It’s for women who feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all they have to do, yet worrying that they’re not doing “enough.”
Emily’s name you might recognize from previous podcast interviews. She writes romance fiction as Emily Foster, and is the author of Come As You Are, about the science of arousal and orgasm.
Amelia is a choral conductor, and during our conversation, we take a side trip into self awareness of one’s own voice, the policing of women’s speaking styles, and then the larger picture of being aware of one’s entire body.
The section on stress and emotional processing in Emily’s book Come As You Are partially inspired this book, along with the personal experience of Amelia and Emily using the information in their own lives.
We talk about how wellness has become an achievement and how we as individuals can allow wellness to happen
There is so much practical advice, too! Such as things we can do to smash the patriarchy a piece at a time - including and especially SLEEP. Oh, sleep is everything.
We talk a LOT about what stress is, what it does to your body, and what you can do to better handle the effects of it through the Stress Response Cycle. Short version: stress isn’t solved or dissolved by dealing with what caused the stress. Stress is a cycle that is completed by action, that we have to complete within and through our physical bodies, and incomplete stress cycles accumulate. But good news: reading romance is one way to help complete stress cycles and emotional cycles. To quote Amelia: “Romance novels are a nutritious part of this Burnout Prevention Strategy.”
Spoiler alert! At about 43:20 - 44:30: I spoil the ending of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World as we talk about the importance of completing emotional cycles in the entertainment we consume - and yes, this is part of why cliffhangers are so deeply upsetting.
Basically, your body is trying to take care of you, and there’s a lot more we can do to help ourselves out. Learning to take care of one’s own body is difficult, and this interview talks about some of these concepts, but the book explores them in greater detail. If you read our review, and yes, I’ll link to it in the show notes, you know that reading this book changed a number of the ways I treat myself, talk to myself, and care for myself, to be more patient and gentle and understanding of what my body is trying to do. I can’t recommend this book more highly.
And I can’t recommend this interview more emphatically. Amelia and Emily are, in their own words, trying to encourage us to "change the world by caring for each other and not letting the world demand of us what we are unable to give."