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A complete food and wellness guide for women featuring 60+ recipes specifically designed to combat stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue and improvemood, focus, immunity, and sleep.
Prevention’s #1 Best New Healthy Cookbook For 2022 • “If you feel burned out, Patricia Bannan gets you and dishes up totally realistic solutions with humor, compassion, and expertise in the kitchen and beyond.”—Ellie Krieger, RD, New York Times bestselling author of Whole in One
We’ve all had those days when we’re just trying to hold it all together. But when “one of those days” turns into weeks, then months, then longer, you start to feel like you’re drowning. Your immune system goes haywire, your sleep schedule goes out the window, and your brain feels like it’s turning to mush. You know that something has to change, but when you’re spending all your energy just trying to keep your head above water, change feels impossible.
If this sounds like you, From Burnout to Balance is here to be your life preserver. Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, has been where you are now and knows how to break the cycle. She offers:
• the science behind burnout • compassion, stories, support, and guidance to break the cycle • tips and shortcuts to make your life easier • week-long meal plans for each symptom • more than 60 delicious recipes that combine the vital nutrients your body needs to combat burnout
If spending time and energy on meal plans and cooking sounds like the last thing you want to do, know that the recipes are designed for simplicity and the book is packed with tips and shortcuts to make your life easier. Recipes include vegan, one-dish, kid-friendly, freezable, and 15-minutes or less options, and time-saving tricks like “Nearly No-Cook” meals will get nourishing food on the table with nothing more than some savvy pantry picks. From gut health to mental health, there are no strict rules to follow—just a guiding hand reaching out to help bring balance back into your life.
Under the Cover
An excerpt from From Burnout to Balance
Female Burnout: When your double-espresso vodka latte just doesn't cut it anymore
I walk around like everything is fine, but deep down, inside my shoe, my sock is sliding off. —Anonymous
We’ve all had those days. On the outside, we seem like we have it all together. But on the inside, it’s a different story. Sure, it’s just a loose sock, but it’s annoying—and it’s throwing off your gait more with every step. But you can’t stop or slow down, so you tell yourself that you can smile through it. That it’s not noticeable. That you’re fine, it’s fine, everything’s fine.
Then, thanks to the “pretending everything is fine” game you’re playing (and the sock that is now balled up somewhere under your arch), you stumble and turn your ankle. Well done! Now it actually hurts when you walk. Could it be broken? You do not have time for a broken ankle.
So you power through. You sit down for the rest of the day, slyly ice your throbbing ankle under your desk, and hobble to your car as you joke to your colleagues that it’s nothing. You’ve got this!
Yes, you’ve “got” this. But what do you have? A sprained ankle, a wounded ego, and a bad habit of ignoring tiny problems that snowball into big ones? And what is the cost?
I’ll tell you what the cost was for me: nearly everything I had worked so hard to build personally and professionally. Does that sound a little dramatic? Yeah, it does, but it’s true. I was so burned out, dried up, hollowed out, sucked dry that I was a fire hazard. Light a match near me and stand back. Stick a fork in me. I'm done.
In my early forties, I hit a wall. I “had it all,” after years of personal challenges that included financial dips, career shifts, falling in love with a man with a child and eventually marrying him, embracing a blended family, and, most stressful of all, trying to get pregnant through IVF.
I was worn-out to my limits (and beyond) for years. But finally, after countless sleepless nights and nail-biting days, I had a terrific husband, a wonderful stepson, and the most beautiful, healthy daughter I could have imagined.
Instead of feeling elated, however, I found myself lying on a massage table six months after my baby was born, completely and utterly depleted. I was there to relax, but instead I felt empty, exhausted, and worn. I loved my family so much, but at that time, caring for them made me feel like I had nothing left for myself. And, frankly, I didn’t feel like I was doing my best job caring for them, either.
It was like the day after pulling an allnighter for an exam, when you finally allow your body and your brain to crash. But my “all-nighter” had lasted half a decade! My tank was past E and I was running on fumes. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t worry. I just couldn’t. (That phrase “can’t even”? Yeah, that was me.)
At first, I didn’t know what was wrong. I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t stressed anymore. I wasn’t angry. I only felt empty. Scorched. Crispy, like a leaf that dries out and curls up in the midday sun. My vibrant essence and drive—and my type A personality, which had carried me through college and grad school, through my constantly on-the-go twenties and thirties—all that was gone. This wasn’t aging or your run-of-the-mill postpartum exhaustion. It was something different.
What I later learned was that I was experiencing burnout. I had spent so long in fight-or-flight mode, forcing my adrenal glands to work overtime, that I had no energy left. Right there, on that massage table, I started to understand what was going on. My body did, too. It realized things were finally (finally!) okay, so it could just shut down. The problem was—I couldn’t get it started again.
I quickly realized this wasn’t a situation that a massage or a martini with my girlfriends could fix. Even a spa weekend couldn’t begin to touch it. I needed a few months of R&R—not the cushy, woo-woo, self-care version, but the real, deep, restorative type.
I needed to get back to basics. I needed regular sleep—not a double latte and better concealer. I needed to eat real, simple food—not protein bars or green juices while running between appointments. And I needed to move my body—not to lose weight or sculpt my arms but to feel healthy and deal with stress. Mostly, I needed to listen to myself again. I needed to tune in to the voice inside my head that had warned me I was pushing too hard.
Even though I’m a registered dietitian with more than two decades of experience and a graduate degree, I had lost sight of the things that matter most when it comes to health. But I also knew (and I experienced firsthand as I reconnected with them) that these “basics” were going to bring me back to me.
So I sat down with my husband, told him what was going on, and explained that I needed to take a step back from work and other obligations to make time for my health and myself. We took a temporary financial hit. It was hard, but it had to happen.
I focused on breathing (I know, it sounds silly, but it works), exercise, food, and sleep. I did all the things I had been telling my clients to do but wasn’t making time to do myself. And you know what? It worked. Not only that, but when I started to emerge from this zombielike state and share my story with my colleagues, girlfriends, and the other moms at drop-off, so many of them could relate. They too had burned out and dried up. Over and over, I heard their stories:
· The tech sales executive who ignored her stress for so long that she ended up having to go on short-term disability to heal her physical and mental health
· The optician who went on autopilot when her husband was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor that manifested as “sudden-onset dementia” in his early forties
· The recruiter who started to notice that nothing else provided the same release as a couple of glasses of wine—and wondered if that was the start of a bigger problem
· The colleague who was sick more often than not despite living in Los Angeles, working out regularly, and “drinking more green juice than ever”
All these women have different jobs, live in different cities, and have different home situations. But our stories overlap. We ignored ourselves to tune in to what everyone else in our lives needed. And we nearly ended up a smoldering pile of ashes in the process.
That’s when I knew I had to write this book. For myself, for those women, and for women like you who deserve to feel whole again. Throughout this book, you’ll meet some of those women as they share their stories in their own words.
You can have it all—but what’s the price?
You can have it all, my generation of women heard over and over. But they left out the important part: Just not all at once. We start stretching ourselves thin earlier than you might realize. At school, we study around the clock while navigating social circles and keeping up with the extracurriculars that help us stand out. In our twenties, we throw ourselves into climbing the career ladder—while learning to be adults and searching for our soul mates! Then, as mothers we are expected to work like we don’t have children to raise while raising children like we don’t work outside the home. It never ends.
I love being a mom and a stepmom. I love being a wife. And I love my work. But I, like most women, could really use another, oh, thirty-six hours in a day—and maybe a clone who can help with the laundry and the dishes. My cost for trying to “have it all” was burnout. And I’m not alone. We’re paying the price for buying into the idea that we have to push through, bear the burden alone, and excel in every area of our lives at the time same.
Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, is a nationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist, healthy-cooking expert, and speaker. She has conducted more than 1,000 media interviews, including the Today show, The Doctors, ABC News, Fox News Channel and CNN. Her bylined articles and interviews have appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, People, Self, Shape, Health, Glamour, Reader's Digest, Parenting, Redbook and Good Housekeeping. Patricia has a BS in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Delaware, and she completed her dietetic training at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She received a master's degree in nutrition communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston. In addition to her nutrition credentials, Patricia earned a professional chef certificate from The New School of Cooking in Los Angeles. When she's not traveling around the world speaking about health and nutrition, you can find Patricia at home with her husband, children, and labradoodle, Pablo.