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BURNED OUT TO LIT UP by Cara E. Houser Kirkus Star


Ditch the Grind and Reclaim Your Life

by Cara E. Houser

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 2023
ISBN: 9798988925200

Houser discusses burnout and offers remedies for the critically overburdened in this motivational primer.

In this self-help guide, the author, a career strategist and empowerment coach, speaks about her own experience with burnout and details how she found her way to becoming “lit up” instead (“Like many women, especially full-time working parents and care‐givers, I slid down the long slippery slope of being everything to everyone—except myself”). The book is chock-full of helpful, battle-tested advice designed to lift readers from the despair of feeling pushed past their limits. The format of the guide echoes its function: The book’s nine chapters are concise and manageable, and not at all overwhelming (Houser recommends reading one chapter a week). The topics range from the impact of technology on our lives to the effect a physical space has on people’s moods. Each chapter contains “questions, ideas or activities” to help “create a multidimensional, badass life that you don’t need to escape from.” The activities, which allow readers to implement the ideas that Houser introduces in their own lives, include reading poems, reflecting on what burnout looks like to them, and tidying a small section of a room. The author’s writing style also contributes to the guide’s effectiveness—instead of brimming with long, winding, and dry stretches of text, Houser’s book features succinct paragraphs that don’t allow their brevity to curtail her message. Despite the book’s concision, Houser includes a wide range of scientific information gleaned from various studies to support and contextualize her anecdotes and justify her post-chapter activity recommendations. The author’s vulnerability in sharing her own story (“Even looking for the resources to help myself out of this hole seemed impossible. I ended up in such a bad place that I needed to take a leave from work for the sake of my physical and mental health”) adds an additional layer of credibility to her advice.

Stressed-out readers looking to make changes in their lives will want to pick up a copy of this book.