SuperCity: Avoiding the dreaded B-word

Jul. 9, 2014 | 2 Comments


BY CHRISTA WITTMIER / Special to the Star-Advertiser

With summer in full swing and another action-packed Independence Day holiday weekend in the books, it’s only fitting the first question people ask me is, “When do you sleep?”

COURTESY CHRISTA WITTMIEROne look at Pulse blogger Christa Wittmier's schedule from July 4 and you can tell it was a busy day.


One look at Pulse blogger Christa Wittmier’s schedule from July 4 and you can tell it was a busy day.

My answer is standard: Whenever I can, as often as I can.

I know I’m not the only one with a full schedule. In fact, it’s actually pretty lenient considering I don’t have a family to look after. Things usually don’t start out that bad, but as the week moves on more and more appointments in my calendar get filled with work obligations, community obligations, friend obligations, nightlife things I want to do and nightlife things I want to try.

The more we take on, the more at risk we become to suffer from the dreaded word I’m almost too scared to even mention: Burnout. It’s a very dangerous ailment, one I suffered from years ago and made a commitment to myself that I will never allow to happen again.

A lot of people mistake everyday fatigue for burnout, but there are very real symptoms and warning signs that can alert you to change your lifestyle immediately.

The first and most important is your state of mind. How cynical are you? Is everything you’re dealing with making you even more irritated or hopeless? Have you lost interest in everything? Do you feel like nothing you do is appreciated? These are serious warning signs.

Many of us are stretched thin and stressed out. This is often a motivator to keep going. The dangerous line between too much stress and burning out is the giving up part. Wanting to isolate yourself from everyone and not handle your responsibilities is not normal.

The good news? There is quite a bit you can do to take care of yourself and your mental state to prevent burnout. My favorite and definitely my most utilized method is to foster my creative side. Stimulating my right brain as much as possible with music, art and emotion is the most powerful antidote to combat any stress. That’s about all I need — besides as much sleep as much as I can, whenever I can, of course.

Another way to reduce the risk of burning out is to start your day with a relaxing ritual. For me, it’s hitting snooze then rushing to sit in my car for a half hour, but having a nice relaxing CD in my car stereo is good enough for now. If you are able to get up with 10-15 minutes to spare and can take that time to work on meditation or quiet activity, you will be saving yourself colossally.

One practice that offers the greatest benefits – and the one I saw a drastic change for the better with personally after trying it myself – is eating right and making sure to exercise. It only takes about two weeks of doing something repeatedly for it to become a habit, and improving my diet and getting active literally changed my life.

Not only was it about dropping weight, but the changes resulted in me sleeping better, approaching things more positively and just having a much better overall outlook on everything after only a few weeks. The hardest part is taking the first step, but I’m telling you, after that everything falls in to place. You can do it.

Summer isn’t usually a stressful time, but take this blog post as a good opportunity to think about how to be prepared for the end of the year when things typically pick up. Just think, if you start now you’ll be fit and healthy and happy by the time the holidays roll around — and then you can eat and drink and celebrate as much as you want!
Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular Bacardi Pool Party on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

  • Jonathan Borgia

    Hey Christa! Good to see you lookin’ so good!

    Totally agree with you on the eating right and breaking a sweat. Personally, the biggest enemy of this for me is time… well, that and fried food. Finding an hour to spend at the gym is nearly impossible for many of us. The thing is, splitting up your workouts into smaller periods in the morning and evening can not only make this easier on time management, but also increase the effects. Logically, during the second half of a workout one just doesn’t have the same perk and pep that was present during the first half. By dividing a workout into a morning and evening routine, the body is generally more fresh each time, allowing it to be more effective. Much like eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of one big meal, this also has a positive effect on the body’s metabolism and generation of human growth hormone.

    Sure, if it is going to be a long night out dancing, it might be best to use that in lieu of a run, but in my experience getting a quick sweat in before I clean up to go out really gets my blood pumping and puts me in a great mindset from the get-go.

    As for eating right, that for me has to start at the store. If it is in my fridge I am going to eat it. Before, the quicker it was to make, the quicker I was to eat it. This works fine for salads, but other things take cooking that doesn’t constitute a quick minute of microwaving. For the ‘I need to eat something NOW’ moments, drink water and have fruits handy in place of chips. I also like to have some smoked salmon around in case I get munchies for some quick protein.

    Now, however, I tend to make side dishes that last the week. Making learning to cook a few things really well is well worth it. A lean Risotto, premixing salads (sans dressing) in mason jars, or pre-prepping individual smaller pans of veggies for grilling in the oven gets all the ‘work’ out of the way while you have time to do it: rather than in the middle of the week, when you don’t.

    Well, hopefully I’ll run into you while I’m out visiting this time!

    • cw

      hi jonathan! i got around it by “scheduling” a “meeting” daily and sticking to it. it takes 90 minutes not an hour but i FORCED myself to do it. every day. even weekends. weekends were actually better because i went to the waikiki 24hr which as you prob know is like working out on the beach anyway with that view :)
      i didn’t say it’s easy. it’s definitely worth it.
      eating right for me was shopping at the farmer’s market. i actually saved a lot of money that way. salmon is a lifesaver.
      i haven’t been as strict with myself as i have been – had to take a break from that because i was getting TOO thin lol. but i definitely felt a lot better when i was super active and eating good. <3