SuperCity: Avoiding the dreaded B-word
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?”
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.