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A simple slow cooker recipe for recovering from burnout

A simple no-frills slow cooker approach to quitting burnout
A simple slow cooker recipe for recovering from burnout
Photo by Edward Howell / Unsplash

Sustain issue #40 (Get Sustain in your inbox next Thursday)

As you begin your year, you can’t escape the media’s focus on dieting. I, too, wanted to share a thought on nutrition.

But it’s not focused on eating.

It’s a recipe inspired by one of my favorites: Alexi Pappas, Olympic runner, filmmaker, mental health advocate, and author of Bravey.

“I see myself as a [slow cooker] of sorts,” she says of training while living with depression in Bravey. “I had to throw a lot of things into it and then wait a very long time.”

I see quitting burnout similarly. There are a few basic categories you always want to throw in your slow cooker. But the exact items and amounts will vary from person to person. And you’re not going to progress towards anything appetizing right away.

Alexi again: “If I looked inside mid-cook, it might not appear as though anything was happening. It would have been frustrating to peek into the pot too often, which is why it was important not to evaluate myself based on how I felt on any one day. I was an accumulation of all my days, good and bad.”

A crowd-pleasing recipe for recovering from burnout

As you start your journey in 2022, here’s my slow cooker recipe for quitting burnout. Like any recipe from a cookbook, you should make it uniquely yours. Experiment with different ingredients and quantities.

  • 1 cup of a mindset that prioritizes control of your time over money & power
  • 1 cup of desire to downsize your relationship with work
  • 1 cup of goal-setting that prioritizes high-impact work
  • 1.5 cups of politely saying no to distracting low-impact work
  • ¾ cup of less time on your phone
  • ½ cup of work apps silenced (or removed) from your phone
  • ½ cup of less time on social media
  • 1.5 cups of daily movement
  • 1 cup of eating as healthy as you can that day
  • 2 cups regular rest and time off

Stir all ingredients together and let sit for weeks (sometimes months). Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking until you feel a bit more human.

Set it and forget it

It’s easy to get caught up in the desire to make a perfect restaurant-quality dish. Simplify your thinking. Aim to make a pleasing weeknight dish. One that you can return to time and time again.

Alexi once more: “I can never know for sure what the single most helpful thing was for me, because in the end everything blended into one stew. I just know that it worked, and in time I became well again.”

Quitting burnout is like a slow cooker. You don’t see much happening when you look through the lid. But all the things you threw in become a rich stew that sustains you each day.

At a sustainable pace,


Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?

Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to end burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it with no help of the hacky advice out there.

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