Posted on: October 26, 2023 Posted by: Comments: 0

While work-life balance improved for many people during the pandemic as they were able to suddenly able work from home, remote and hybrid work arrangements brought their own complications — so today we thought we’d round up a few books that focus on work-life balance.

One of the three specifically explores the post-pandemic workplace (it still feels premature to say “post,” right?), another focuses on women and burnout, and the third is aimed at working moms. (Note: You will not find a mention of Lean In in this post — oops, except for that one.)

Readers, have you read any books on work-life balance? What are your favorites? How do you feel about the term “work-life balance” in general?

Psst: We’re planning to do regular mini-roundups like this for books on certain topics — if you have any to recommend, shout them out in the comments!

3 Books About Work-Life Balance for Professional Women

Out of Office: Unlocking the Power and Potential of Hybrid Work

by Charlie Warzel and Anne Helen Petersen, 2023 (Amazon/Bookshop)

You may be familiar with Anne Helen Petersen’s work, but if not, she’s a writer and journalist who publishes the Substack newsletter Culture Study (recommend!) and wrote the book Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, which was inspired by the popularity of her BuzzFeed News piece about millennial burnout. Petersen’s partner, journalist Charlie Warzel, writes the column Galaxy Brain for The Atlantic. This book has a personal angle for the couple, as they left New York City several years ago to work remotely from Montana.

This book, which came out about three years after the start of the pandemic, explores the elements of — and future of — hybrid work. Although we’ve all seen the countless articles and think pieces about remote and hybrid work over the last few years, this is the first book I’ve come across that specifically addresses the world of post-pandemic work.

Out of Office focuses on trust, fairness, flexibility, inclusive workplaces, equity, and work-life balance.

Praise for Out of Office:

“Never sacrificing meaningful analysis for easy answers, this is a remarkable examination of the rapidly-changing workplace,” Publishers Weekly

“[Out of Office]”reads like a necessary, of-the moment dispatch from our overworked brains, still processing the past couple of years, struggling to make sense of an office away from the office, wondering if you’re the only one who feels nuts,” Chicago Tribune

Notable mentions from Fortune,, LitHub, TechCrunch, TechRepublic, and other publications

{related: how to ask your job interviewer about work-life balance}

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

by Emily Nagoski, PhD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, 2019 (Amazon/Bookshop)

If you’d rather read about work-life balance in a more general context — and in a book centered on women’s lives — this title may be for you. Emily Nagoski is primarily known for her popular book about women and sex, Come As You Are — and as she told Brené Brown on Brown’s podcast, she came up with the idea for Burnout after hearing readers praise the chapter in Come As You Are about stress and emotions. She brought her twin, Amelia Nagoski (a conductor and professor) on board to write Burnout.

As the Burnout website shares, “Burnout is for women (or anyone) who has felt overwhelmed and exhausted by everything they have to do, yet still worried they weren’t doing ‘enough.’” Sound familiar to any readers out there? We’re thinking the answer is yes. This book explains how to manage stress, frustration, negative body image, negative self-talk, and more, while emphasizing the importance of rest and connecting with others.

Burnout has an companion book called The Burnout Workbook: Advice and Exercises to Help You Unlock the Stress Cycle (Amazon/Bookshop) that features questions for reflection, skill exercises, stories, quotes, and more.

Praise for Burnout:

Included in Book Riot’s “The Best Books of 2019“: “This book is phenomenal in ways I never anticipated a book on this subject could be and I wholly recommend it.”

“I loved it. I read it early to prep for the podcast interview, and I highlighted SO MUCH text. I’m thinking I should order it in bulk to give to every person I know who is struggling with stress,” Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

“[The authors] have a gift for making the self-help genre not make you want to poke your eyes out,” Cup of Jo

{related: how have you kept work-life boundaries when you work from home?}

Work, Parent, Thrive: 12 Science-Backed Strategies to Ditch Guilt, Manage Overwhelm, and Grow Connection

by Yael Schonbrun, PhD, 2022 (Amazon/Bookshop)

“Ditch guilt, manage overwhelm, and grow connection” sounds like a tall order, but Schonbrun is a clinical psychologist who specializes in relationships, an assistant professor at Brown, and a mom of three, so the advice comes from a promising source — plus, it’s is backed up by research. (And, just as with Burnout, above, you don’t have to worry about coming across any rah-rah “Yes, you CAN have it all!” messages.)

Schonbrun gives parents 12 strategies based on the mindful psychotherapy technique called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). They encompass practicing mindfulness at home and at work, reframing how you look at both aspects of your life, exploring your personal values, and more. The objective is to experience more joy and less guilt — and to realize how “Work can make parenthood better, and parenthood can make work better.”

Praise for Work, Parent, Thrive:

2023 National Parenting Product Award Winner

2023 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist

“This will be a balm for overwhelmed working parents” (Publishers Weekly)

{related: advice on work-life balance from working moms to their pre-mom selves (CorporetteMoms)}

Readers, do tell: What books or other resources have you found that provide strategies about work-life balance? Are you familiar with any of the titles above?

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