Sign in

A publication from Medium on personal development.


In Forge. More on Medium.

Your body is trying to tell you something

Photo: Liza Summer/Pexels

I don’t like to say “no.” As a freelancer, I don’t make money unless I work––so when editors reach out with potential assignments, I typically say “yes” without a second thought. The extra money in my pocket is always helpful, but honestly? It’s more about FOMO. I’m worried work won’t keep coming to my inbox if I don’t say “yes” every time––even if I don’t have the bandwidth to do the work I’m agreeing to.

Here’s the problem: On fear-of-missing-out autopilot, I often don’t notice I’m approaching burnout until I’m already crashing and burning. As the work piles up and…

What to do when your professional career becomes a grind

Illustration: Dora Godfrey/Medium

Bob stared at his iced tea and grilled salmon salad. A senior partner at a regional investment bank, he earns a very substantial income. He had asked me to lunch “just to catch up,” but I suspected he harbored a more urgent agenda. And here it was.

“Paul, I still have 15 years left until retirement,” he shared solemnly. “I work most weekends, and every morning, I have to drag myself to the office. What am I going to do?”

Since I started my podcast about the connection between money, work, and meaning, I’ve received many emails from people like…

Stress is part of life. But suffering because of stress? To the Stoics, that was a choice.

Graphic of a person standing on top of a hill/mountain overlooking a red sun.
Graphic of a person standing on top of a hill/mountain overlooking a red sun.
Credit: We Are/Getty Images

“It’s normal to feel pain in your hands and feet, if you’re using your feet as feet and your hands as hands. And for a human being to feel stress is normal — if he’s living a normal human life. And if it’s normal, how can it be bad?” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 6.33

Life has always been hard. Even in the ancient world, there were children to raise, debts to pay, and terrible bosses. People got sick. They committed to too much.

Stress was a fact of life. But suffering because of stress? …

Ask it whenever a task in front of you feels insurmountable

Pekic/Getty Images

How will I handle that uncomfortable conversation? How will I get all this work done? How will I show up as the parent my kid needs?

Whenever a task in front of me seems insurmountable and I feel myself becoming more and more stressed, I’ll ask myself a question that immediately calms me: What if it’s easy?

For some reason, considering this possibility knocks me off the struggle bus and drops me back into the realm of control. Suddenly, I’m thinking, “Huh. Right. It might be easy.” And I’ll proceed to act as though it is.

Just the other day…

📱Today’s tip: Turn off your notifications on one app for 24 hours.

We all know that taking a break from your phone is good for the soul, restorative for the mind, blah blah blah. It’s also, uh, a tall order when you’re stuck at home in a pandemic and your smartphone is the only thing that makes you feel tethered to the outside world. The good news is, you don’t have to chuck that iPhone out the window in order to give your brain a rest.

The therapy group Real offers a very doable way to cut down on stress…

Photo: conceptual,fashion,advertising/Getty Images

Remember what it was like to feel? To experience the full spectrum of human emotion in sensible proportion to the rhythms of daily life? To respond to good news with a rush of joy instead of just a sad, half-assed unclenching?

If you’re nodding knowingly as you read, from the emotional equivalent of a soundproofed closet, rest assured that you’re not alone. This numbness—and apathy, alienation, and unbridled irritation with everything and everyone—is emotional exhaustion. It’s one of the pillars of burnout as defined in the Maslach Burnout Inventory, and a byproduct of prolonged stress. …

✅ Today’s tip: Think of someone in your life who stays calm in times of crisis, and give them a call.

Staying on top of current events can feel like an exercise in masochism these days, and it’s all too easy to let conversations with friends and family turn into two-way anxiety spirals—which is why the therapist Kathleen Smith recommends seeking out the wise and even-keeled people in your circle.

“Look at your family, your community, or even the voices you interact with on the internet,” Smith writes, “and ask yourself who’s staying thoughtful when everyone else is spinning out…

✅ Today’s tip: Decompress from the week with a foot-rub routine.

To give your stressed-out body some pampering, try this soothing practice from Elemental editor Kate Green Tripp:

“After a shower or bath, find a comfortable seat alongside some nourishing body oil or lotion and a pair of socks. Take five minutes to rub the product deep into your skin, making sure to really massage each heel, ball of the foot, arch, ankle, and toe. Then put on the socks — their job is to lock in the moisture and warmth you’ve just created. …

Photo: Leonardo Laschera / Getty Images

I’ve recently developed a new laugh and it’s hideous. So hideous, in fact, that if a normal laugh knew I’d just evoked its good name to describe the emission, it’d spite-block me on social media and start an internet rumor about my mother. To avoid any such drama, I will rebrand it The Cackle.

I should note that I still have my non-hideous regular laugh, which comes out in the rare event that I experience pure, unfettered joy. Lately, though, most laugh-like vocalizations emerge in the form of The Cackle, and exclusively at moments where most people would consider laughter…

Research shows that you gain a sense of control when you can learn to embrace it

Illustrations: Fru Pinter

Co-authored by Todd Snyder

Let’s play a game of Would You Rather. Would you rather speak in front of 500 people for an hour or be stuck in an elevator with your ex? Would you rather get a cavity drilled or be forced to take a four-hour Zumba class? Would you rather lose your wallet on the subway or lose your internet connection right before a big online presentation?

None of these options are good, but they have something in common: Unless you’re an avid Zumba dancer, they all invoke stress.

It’s a feeling most of us dread and left…


A publication from Medium on personal development.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store