Pretending wellness is a matter of personal choice is a convenient way for society to uphold systems of oppression
Amelia Nagoski is the author of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle
We all know that stress leads to disease. Research is constantly adding to a list of health concerns associated with stress, from heart disease to Alzheimer’s. Stress has become so run of the mill that it’s now woven into the social fabric of our societies. Many of us feel too “burnt-out, tired and under pressure to participate in civic life”, according to a new study that points to the scale of the problem. “The symptoms of a manic modern world are real, but the diagnosis is wrong. We are not all working more, sleeping less and feeling more rushed,” lead researcher Jenevieve Treadwell wrote. “The core problem is our higher tempo of life.”
We know this. And yet the burnout epidemic is getting worse. We live at this “higher tempo,” because we are shamed if we fall behind, and praised for keeping up, even when it harms us. That’s how we came to believe our experience of stress is a necessary and noble sacrifice that humans make in service of the great and mighty economy, which matters more than the lives of us mere mortals. But burnout isn’t honourable, or inevitable. It is a wound. The sooner we recognise this, the sooner we can take steps to counter the damage.
Amelia Nagoski is author of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle