She Taught Yale’s Most Popular Class Ever on Happiness. Then She Burned Out

Burnout isn’t just for cubicle warriors and workaholic entrepreneurs. Nobel prize-winning geniuses and beloved celebrities burn out too. And so do experts on happiness, apparently.

Yale psychologist Laurie Santos is famous for teaching the university’s most popular class ever — on happiness. Her insights on how to achieve the good life were so incredibly popular that they have even been turned into an online class taken by millions of people. If anyone should know how to maintain their psychological balance, it’s Santos.

But as she revealed to Time recently, the relentless stress of the pandemic even managed to burn her out. After feeling irked by a student who needed help coping with a medical emergency, she knew something had to change. “I take such pride and compassion in working with students,” she tells Time, but she felt that was “getting chipped away.”

How did Santos pull herself back from the brink and recharge? Her experience holds lessons for everyone struggling with burnout.

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