The Real Roots of Burnout: Simone Weil on Attention

Published:January 18, 2023DOI:
      Our efforts to prevent and relieve burnout will be constrained so long as we misunderstand its nature. Just as we cannot successfully treat a cancer by attacking it with antibiotics, so we cannot respond effectively to burnout by treating it as a simple matter of overwork, insufficient leisure, or poor self-care. Working fewer hours, taking more paid time off, and exercising and meditating more, though not without benefit, are not the real answer. Instead, we must look more deeply into burnout, discovering that it is not so much a matter of effort and will but a matter of attention.


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