The cover of the book, in the middle is the title "Practices for a Good Life", around the title are bright illustrations: stars, pencil, flower, cup, etc.
Burnout prevention

Practices for a Good Life

How to help others without forgetting to take care of oneself in the process

"Practices for a Good Life" tells about professional burnout among activists, human rights defenders, journalists and helping professionals. Apart from a theoretical part, the book also contains a large practical part: bodily, reflexive, writing, and creative exercises, aimed at preventing burnout and improving the quality of life. The book is recommended for NGO workers, journalists, activists, as well as for everyone who wants to better understand themselves and is ready to move in small steps towards the long-awaited significant changes.

Fatigue, irritability, problems with sleep and motivation are just some of the symptoms that people in helping professions often experience. Every day they work directly with other people's difficulties and problems, always finding strength and energy to help, show empathy, and support the others. Human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and NGO workers often face the depletion of their own resources and lack skills to restore them. You feel fatigue for a long time, which is not relieved after sleep or a short rest, and it marks the arrival of professional burnout. But few people think that NGO workers also need help and support. And that they first need to help themselves.

That is why, in 2015, the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Russia and the international network of experts and trainers Free Happy People launched the Sustainable Activism project. Sustainable Activism is a series of rehabilitation retreats where participants learn the skills to retain their own resources and motivation to help others. In working with activists, trainers use unique techniques, many of which can be turned into good habits and used outside the project.

In the illustrated book "Practices for a Good Life", the Sustainable Activism team gives a detailed account of what retreats are and how they work, while the trainers (professional psychologists, psychotherapists, and rehabilitation therapists) share useful practices for different occasions, which you can practice by yourself. Simple exercises and techniques will help you restore your strength in moments of tension, relax, and rejuvenate.

To make the reading process not only interesting, but also pleasant, we have made the font large and supplemented the texts with inspiring pictures. The talented illustrator Yulia Sirotina has created a positive and bright visual design, so the book will remind you of fairy tales for children.

We hope that each and every one of you will find your own practices of a good life in this book and that something will get a little better starting from now.

Author and editor: Volunkova E.L.
Editors: Volunkova E.L., Kosterina I.V.
Illustrator: Sirotina Y.S.

Layout: Grechka K.
Proofreader: Lipatova A.A.

Translator: Krimer K.L.
Administrator: Zaidullina R.

Product details
Date of Publication
Heinrich Böll Foundation Russia
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents

5 The Author’s Preface
10 Coaches and experts of the Sustainable Activism project
11 Retreats: what are they and what do we need them for?
16 Different degrees of burnout
20 Pair work
24 Solution-based therapeutic practices and other methods
32 Dmitry Stebakov’s practices

    33 The practice of self-inquiry
    37 The practice of ‘self-help in problem-solving’
    41 The practice of tunnel-vision
    45 The ‘Family history’ practice
50 Irina Kosterina’s practices
    51 Art practice ‘My dream day’
    56 The ‘Body scan’ practice
    59 The ‘Mindful walking’ practice
    61 Stalking your habits and emotions
64 Inna Airapetyan’s practices
    66 A bibliotherapy practice ‘A letter of choice’
    69 Working with mandala
    73 The ‘Where am I? Who am I?’ practice
    75 Practices for relieving emotional or physical tension
    77 The ‘Coachman’s posture’ practice
    80 The ‘Fly’ practice
    82 Respiratory exercises
    83 The ‘Icicle’ practice
85 Olga Khokhlova’s practices
    86 The practice for redoubling attention
    88 The ‘Metaphoric bridge’ practice
    91 The ‘New habits’ writing practice
    94 The ‘Three questions for a good life’ practice
    96 The ‘Flip side’ practice
    97 The ‘Centering’ practice
100 Contacts