Health Mental Health Personal Growth Work

Assuming no change is an option

Replied to The devil you know | everything changes by Mandy Brown (everything changes)

I had spent months chewing on the various dangers and risks of each step I could take, and had not at all considered the dangers and risks of staying put.

I can see now that I was, in fact, making several mistakes. Principal among them was that I considered no change at all to be a viable option. It wasn’t, and not only because the present circumstances were untenable, but also because they were not static.

The second, related, error was that I assumed that all the risk was in moving, that by definition staying put was the prudent option.

Health Self Care Work

Chronic stress recovery

4 elements of recovery activities:

  1. Psychological detachment
  2. Relaxation
  3. Mastery
  4. Control (choosing how to spend your time and doing things the way you want to do them)


Sonnentag S, Fritz C. The Recovery Experience Questionnaire: development and validation of a measure for assessing recuperation and unwinding from work. J Occup Health Psychol. 2007 Jul;12(3):204-21. doi: 10.1037/1076-8998.12.3.204. PMID: 17638488. (No free full text)

Cortisol levels may actually be low in chronic stress due to:

  • Desensitization of the receptors that interact with cortisol
  • Exhausted secretion of cortisol
  • Enhancement of the negative feedback loop process


Hannibal, K. E., & Bishop, M. D. (2014). Chronic stress, cortisol dysfunction, and pain: a psychoneuroendocrine rationale for stress management in pain rehabilitation. Physical therapy, 94(12), 1816-1825.

Fries, Eva, Judith Hesse, Juliane Hellhammer, and Dirk H. Hellhammer. “A new view on hypocortisolism.” Psychoneuroendocrinology 30, no. 10 (2005): 1010-1016.

(See also:

Fiksdal, Alexander & Thoma, Myriam & Hanlin, Luke & St. Pierre, Danielle & Chen, Xuejie & Rohleder, Nicolas. (2017). Chronic stress moderates late phase cortisol recovery from acute stress.

–> Chronic stress was evaluated using the Trier Chronic Stress Inventory (TICS) )

Recommend keeping consistent sleep and wake times to reinforce the normal pattern of cortisol release that is supposed to happen when you wake up.

(See also:

Duan H, Yuan Y, Zhang L, Qin S, Zhang K, Buchanan TW, Wu J. Chronic stress exposure decreases the cortisol awakening response in healthy young men. Stress. 2013 Nov;16(6):630-7. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2013.840579. Epub 2013 Oct 1. PMID: 23992539.)

Good explanation of adrenal dysfunction:

4 Secret Tips to Improve Adrenal Dysfunction

Mental Health Self Care

Agency Is Restorative

Bookmarked Your burnout is unique, your recovery will be too (

Burnout is “any combination of three distinct symptoms: exhaustion (a depletion of mental or physical resources), cynical detachment (a depletion of social connectedness), and a reduced sense of efficacy (a depletion of value for oneself). To recover from burnout, you must identify which of these resources has been depleted and take action to replenish those resources.”

Is burnout a form of depression? 🤔

Can you burn out on any activity? I feel like I’m burned out on politics and climate change, even as I keep trying to hold onto hope we won’t be too late. It doesn’t help to start as a pessimist 😉

To effectively overcome burnout, employees must feel empowered to take control over their own lives and decisions.

[Self-] compassion is a like a muscle: it can be exhausted, but it can also be trained.

Personal Growth

Watched You and the Thing That You Love

Watched You And The Thing That You Love from Nicholas Maher on Vimeo from


Muscle memory is a crazy awesome thing. I haven’t played my sax in years but the fingerings came right back last time I picked it up. Could still play Charlie Parker, not quite as fast, but really it was just my embouchure that was shot.

Mental Health

Actual Rest

Quoted your attention by Anne Helen Petersen (Culture Study)

This is the Sunday edition of Culture Study — the newsletter from Anne Helen Petersen, which you can read about here. If you like it and want more like it in your inbox, consider subscribing. Was your Sunday as weird as mine? I got the election news on Saturday morning after a night of still bad-sleep, spent the day only kinda believing, did a bit of crying and a bit of celebrating during the speeches, then woke up to a massive emotional and physical hangover on Sunday morning.

I remain convinced that heart of “self-care” is not pampering, per se, or spending lots of money — but giving yourself permission to listen to yourself about what will actually feel like rest and respite. Not what other people tell you rest should look like. Actual rest, which is to say, your rest, which might not be recognizable as such to others.

Anne Helen Petersen

Listening to my body and giving it what it wants is hard but I’ll keep working on it because it’s worth it to take care of myself.

I’ve been spending some time just laying around literally doing nothing to give myself time to think and process and relax — and not be taking in any more new information.

Mental Health

Watched The UX of Burnout

Watched The UX of Burnout: There and Back Again by Thorsten Jonas from Adobe Max

Join this session to hear one strategic UX consultant’s personal journey through a burn-out and the changes he made to work life as a creative person and leader.

At Adobe Max 2020 virtual conference.

Presented by Thorsten Jonas.

Related to this personal talk. He makes a good point that we can still be creative even while we are burned out but that we can’t use that as an excuse not to deal with problems.

He described a familiar pattern of having trouble, taking a break, then returning without changing anything (which lets the problem return).

His approach to recovering from burnout:

  1. Use your tools (things you know help you)
  2. Focus on things besides work / strengthen your personal life
  3. Reevaluate work
  4. Start new things, connect with new people, try new directions

“The key to healing is the confrontation with yourself.”