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Issue 13: How 'Always-On' Makes Us Burnout
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Issue 13: How 'Always-On' Makes Us Burnout

Labor Day has come and passed, and soon it will officially be fall. Summer vacations are over, which means work and the 'always-on' culture that permeates many companies, is back. In this issue of The Slow Scroll, we examine what burnout is—it was officially added to the World Health Organization's list of official medical diagnoses earlier this year—and how to combat it. Read on for more.

How to Talk To Your Boss About Burnout

One of the reasons burnout is so pervasive is because it's easier than ever to keep working, with emails and Slack in our pockets. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. When you feel overwhelmed, don't want to go to work, are emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands—those are signs it's time to take a break.

It may feel counterintuitive to stop working if you're overloaded with projects and to-dos, but one study showed that workers who put in more than 48 hours per week had poorer-quality sleep and increased symptoms of anxiety and depression. To combat burnout, start saying no to your coworkers and talk to your boss (here's a handy guide on how to do so with tact), make sure you have friends outside of the office, and maybe swap out your smartphone for a lighter phone.

Or just Sabbatical in a National Park...

Creative work is hard to quantify, and thus can have unpredictable hours—it's hard to predict how much work will need to go into thinking, planning, drafting, etc. Amble is a new start-up founded by former design agency employee Ilyssa Kyu, who took her own sabbatical to spend more time with her newborn daughter.

The result of her time off was a book and her company, which hosts monthlong retreats that "pair creative professionals with budget-strapped park conservancies that support National Park Service projects, such as wildlife protection and trail rehabilitation." The experience leans on scientific research on the benefits of being in nature, and also gives back to our National Parks.

Groups are small, consisting of 10-12 people, and while fall applications are closed, you can keep an eye out for when they'll be accepting new applications again here.

Psst! Send this to a friend who needs to slow down to share our mission. Then grab a cup of coffee with them. 

IRL Prompt: Eat An Apple. Seriously.

It sounds like such a simple prompt, but when was the last time you actually focused 100% on just eating something? No cell phones, no "working lunches", no friends or coworkers.

We love this prompt from Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh and nutritionist Dr. Lilian Cheung:

"Wash it. Dry it. Before taking a bite, pause for a moment. Look at the apple in your palm and ask yourself: When I eat an apple, am I really enjoying eating it? Or am I so preoccupied with other thoughts that I miss the delights that the apple offers me?

When you eat the apple, just concentrate on eating the apple. Don’t think of anything else. And most important, be still. Don’t eat the apple while you are driving. Don’t eat it while you are walking. Don’t eat it while you are reading. Just be still. Being focused and slowing down will allow you to truly savor all the qualities the apple offers: its sweetness, aroma, freshness, juiciness, and crispness."

Read the full prompt here—and we highly recommend the book How to Sit, if you're looking for an easy way into meditation. 

That's all for this week! Thank you, as ever, for your attention, and we always welcome feedback, prompts, and tips. Just email us.

Why ‘The Slow Scroll’?


Social Isolation is Killing Us. Tech companies are failing us. And we’re all hopelessly addicted to our screens.

Living IRL has never been more important.

That’s why we created The Slow Scroll, a weekly newsletter by IRL Labs, sent directly to your inbox (oh the irony). The Slow Scroll curates the latest and most inspiring content and resources, empowering readers to untether and live slowly.

Brought to you by...

Ivan Cash, Editor-in-Chief
Cyrena Lee, Editor and Lead Writer
Erin Ellis, Illustrator

Emily Lin, Producer


Mailing Address
IRL Labs
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Oakland, CA 94623
Copyright © 2019 IRL Labs, All rights reserved.
The Slow Scroll is a curated newsletter dedicated to helping you live IRL. 
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