Discover more from Burnt Toast by Virginia Sole-Smith
Is Introvert Burnout A Thing?
Plus a few thoughts on one month of FAT TALK, and a few people to be furious with.
FAT TALK has been out in the world exactly one month yesterday, and I still cannot figure out what to say when people ask me how I’m feeling about it. Ecstatic to be a NYT bestseller? Hell yes. Crying daily over the beautiful notes people send? Absolutely. Approaching a somewhat epic level of Introvert Burnout (if that’s not a real thing, I just made it one)? Well. Last weekend I put my phone away (but put my kids on screens), lay down on our back porch to read, and fell asleep for two hours. And I’m just not a napper — like maybe I last took one when I was 18 months old.
On Monday, as I approached the end of yet another long to do list (three book promotion interviews, two podcast recordings to prep for, one newsletter to finish editing and schedule, infinity emails) and realized I still had “social media” as an overly amorphous yet unchecked box. So I decided right then to just take a break from making Instagram/TikTok videos and wow, that felt great. It was going to just be for this week but with the long holiday weekend stretching out ahead of us (my kids don’t go back to school till next Wednesday!), I’m thinking we’ll extend that a bit longer.
To be honest, I loathe when successful people talk about busyness, because so often it’s just humble bragging and virtue signaling and only serves to reinforce this whole toxic system build on the premise that we should always be productive and producing. So this is me fully admitting to being a work in progress on this front. I would like to be less busy and I also love my work kind of an alarming amount. But I’m starting to distinguish between the parts I love and the parts that are just me stuck in reactive mode—unable to stop checking Instagram for notifications, unable to read deeply because my brain interrupts me constantly with thoughts of things that need doing. (End Of School Year Mental Load is not helping on that front!)
And as summer approaches I’d like to shift out of reactive mode quite a lot. I’m also thinking hard about how to pause my ambition, aswrites. Some of that is needing to rest and garden and be with my people (but also put them on screens so I can read or nap). And some of that is knowing I need this recovery time in order to get my energy back for new creative work, deeper reporting, and all the things I want to happen in this space.
We’ll talk more about the fun what’s next stuff another time. Today I’d love to hear how you think about and navigate burnout given our larger context of hustle culture. Is it harder to name when it stems from Very Good Things Happening? Do extroverts get their own version of this after or during big/busy seasons? How do you pull out of reactive mode and get back to the parts of work (or life) that satisfy you most? And is that even possible for, ahem, eldest daughters and other folks socially conditioned to be excellent as a survival strategy? (I think about this AHP piece all the damn time.)
PS. Reminder that Friday Threads are for paid folks only so I hope you’ll join us!
Friday Links & Recs
Also furious that NEDA has replaced its eating disorder hotline staff with a chatbot.
It’s so way past time to regulate modeling agencies.
Native gardening was not invented by white people.
On calculating a dream life.
The Chelsea Flower Show!!!
Friday Night Lights, how I miss you.
Call me fat forever.
This week’s Welcome to Substack! goes to my very best friend. Who most of you already know and love from her blog and Instagram, but who has just moved her relentlessly helpful newsletter over here. So subscribe if you haven’t already! Also, this pasta salad will be my go-to all summer, including possibly this weekend when Amy and her girls are COMING TO VISIT (my girls and I are so excited.)
A request from friend of BT: Want to help body image researchers better understand how diet culture affects body image, weight stigma, and health habits? Take this short survey. (Use the passcode RutgersHealth).
Delighted as always to talk about how weird people are about bodies at work, with:
As discussed, we’re a month out from pub date. So it’s officially amazing that people are still talking about the book at all.
Loved this chat with Katherine Speller of SheKnows.
Also enjoyed chatting with Lauren Gilger for KJZZ.
So happy to be a witchy book.
And then there’s this profile from The Times and… that headline. Eating brownies with my kids while getting photographed by Stephanie Diani was an absolute delight though! (She told me all the celebrities who actually hate having their photos taken.)
If you’re in a book club, don’t forget to enter the giveaway to have me Zoom in to your discussion.
And if you don’t have your copy of FAT TALK yet, you can fix that here.