Beating Burnout Series (A.k.a. How To Be A Full-Time Badass): 01 - What & Why?

By Chase Howard


Let me just start with proclaiming that in addition to being a contributor, hand model, co-HBIC and fanboy for Urban Vitals, I also work as a badass creative director/designer in an industry that's regularly ranked as one of the most stressful (more about that later). This truly is important to note because my work is my purpose - and I say this proudly and with zero regard for critics (weak people) touting the benefit of work-life balance. Fairy-tales, I say.

I genuinely love my work because who I am closely plays into what I do. It's this blending of life and work, however, that will and has at times brought about the reality of burnout.

It's my belief anything, which demands a very important and continual investment of your time and energy, can bring about burnout - whether it is work, family, fitness, prescription drug problems, etc.

Without having the right toolkit for recovery, burnout is a horrific concept for a person like me because of the debilitating effect it can have and has had on my life (burnout makes me fat). It's also something I've had to witness colleagues and friends battle. So it seems fitting that a personal exercise in defining the triggers of and solutions to burnout could well be worth sharing. You're welcome.

Over the next few posts in this series, I'll address causes of burnout and ninja warrior moves (solutions) for overcoming them. I'll also add a mix of my own personal experiences slightly embellished for dramatic effect and exaggerated self-importance.

Ok, let's get this going

Specifically what is Burnout and why is it bad?

Burnout is like a bad case of diarrhea; you can't always be prepared for it, but you definitely know when it hits - leaving you drained, hopeless and less of who you had been before. It's that general malaise that has you pulling the covers over your head instead of leaping out of bed. It's the sudden urge to quit this bitch and head to the airport instead of returning to the office. It's the no-energy, no-motivation, no-dreams approach - a complete mind f#ck. It's awful and it's something I've discovered a lot of people battle at some point in your everyday living.

For the urban warrior, life demands an endless amount of motivation and energy (both mental and physical). The pain of burnout is clear: You just can't get motivated. One feels old, ineffective, hopeless and many times just wanna cut a bitch. The thought of moving at all, never mind moving forward, requires way too much effort. This is the reason burnout makes me fat.

Well, I say burnout is a waste of time and energy! While you're suffering, you could be living an unbelievable, magical life.

You've likely experienced burnout at some stage because you're wasting time looking over this post; maybe it was related to work, school, a relationship, that trick you regularly have over or the strict diet of flavored steam and ice chips (nobody likes a fatty). Sometimes it creeps up, building over time, while other times it jumps out of the blue and donkey punches the hell out of you. One day it's all rainbows and unicorns; the next, you're contemplating why you ever committed so much time and energy when you could just give it all up and move to Hawaii - that is before you got burnout on that too.

Burnout doesn't always derive from the same source, either. It can come from working hard and needing a break, from lack of challenge or in my experience, stupid people doing stupid shit that gets in your way. That means addressing burnout is going to require some analysis. You might need a good, long rest, or you might need a kick in the ass. You might need a stronger focus on your targets, or you may need a completely new target.

With all these variables, you may wonder how there can be one report or article on the topic of burnout and the best way to cure it.

Well, there isn't one - probably because the person who was writing it got burnout and is in Hawaii with a hotter, younger trick. That's why in this short series we're going to tackle the five most common sources of burnout and five solutions for getting all Steven Segal on it. Whether you're finished with your life as a whole, or you want to change your exercise plan, or you demand a new job, there will be some solutions for you. Remember, you may not see yourself in every situation, but if you're troubled by burnout, you'll definitely find some approaches to rev your engine and get you motivated.

Ready? Let's hit it.




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