Taking A Step Back: How To Move Forward With Hobby Burnout

Taking A Step Back: How To Move Forward With Hobby Burnout

May 26, 2020

"Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it". - Lou Holtz 

Welcome one and all to The Gentleman's Reserve. I am Vito from and today I want to discuss something that afflicts all of us in one capacity or another: Hobby Burnout. We have all felt the weight of our unopened, unpainted miniatures encumber us.

The stress or lack of motivation to paint our miniatures and the loss of drive to engage in any form of social interaction to play the game we love. These are all very real and overwhelming feelings that, despite the differences in armies and opinions we may have, we all share. However, I am here to tell you, dear reader, that all is not lost. There are things that we can do to take a step back in order to move forward with hobby burnout.

Burnout is generally a word that can be tossed around in a workplace environment. It targets an individual both emotionally, mentally and physically, while leaving the recipient feeling drained and overwhelmed. It should be noted however that burnout can burden anyone in any area, not just the workplace.

Any activity that we engage in, for business or pleasure, burnout can grow strong roots and take hold. However, there are ways to recognizing that you are A) experiencing burnout and B) dealing with the issue at hand. 

For me personally, there have been a few key identifiers that I've experienced for hobby burnout and maybe you've experienced them as well. A common one is a lack of interest in painting or building. There have been so many times where I've walked by models on my hobby desk, knowing full well that I should be working on them, however, I just have no motivation to so.

It's not that I don't love the hobby anymore dear reader, I do, with all my heart. But when you devote yourself to something so passionately, you can't always give 100%, 100% of the time. Eventually you will grow tired and just walk away. 

Another identifier is the feeling of being overwhelmed by your workload, which in turn makes you feel like your hobby is a waste of time. There have been so many instances where I've purchased boxes upon boxes of miniatures (9 start collecting Slaanesh starter boxes, 3 Syll'Esskes, and 2 Keeper of Secrets...all at once).

Slowly but surely I'd build and paint but the more I stared at the mountain of plastic, the more I just felt overwhelmed by its contents. Sometimes, I wondered why I even bothered spending that much money because this feels like a monumental task. 

Lastly, the hobby can sometimes feel like a job. Now, I know for me it is, even when I did commission painting. But when you love something so much, it shouldn't feel that way. However, there were times when it felt like I was just dragging my feet trying to complete a task. From assembling a miniature to applying a basecoat, it felt like work. What should have been a relaxing and freeing experience was actually draining one. 

So now what do I do with my life you may be asking yourself, dear reader. You have what feels like a squiggoth of emotions on your back and you just can't shake it. Well, it is safe to say that things do get better. Life is not doom and gloom all the time unless you live in Gotham City, then you might want to consider moving. But alas, here are some things you can do to fight hobby burnout: 

Walk Away

It might sound strange to walk simply walk away and abandon one of or the only hobbies or even joys you have. But trust me, dear reader, I have been in this hobby and have had many hobbies before, sometimes the best thing to do is simply walk away.

This simple act is acknowledging that there is an issue that you are having and when you accept that fact, the better you can address it. Don't force something that brings you happiness. Now, as one of my Pillars of Faith, Robert De Nero, once said (Joe Pesci, Keanu Reeves, and Arnold Schwarzenegger to name a few of my other Pillars) "There's a flip side to that coin."

What I mean by that is hobbies should be something that you enjoy during your past time, it's not your life's purpose. That's why its called a hobby. Don't ignore the other wonderful things in your life. By walking away you get a new perspective and see the beauty that maybe you may have missed somewhere else. We all need a good long break sometimes anyway. 

This guy knows what's up.


Do Anything Else

Literally, anything at all. Do you enjoy playing video games? Then grab a controller or hop onto your PC and start playing. I know for me I recently got back into Injustice 2: Legendary Edition. I've been levelling up Aquaman, trying to get him the newest gear just so that I can move onto my next character. Also once a year I like to play The Last Of Us. I know its an older game now but the story is captivating and evokes such raw emotion. Not to mention the gameplay is stellar. 

Reading can be another way to reinvigorate those creative juices. It can be novels, short stories, comic books, manga, whatever your heart's desire. I have recently taken a pause from painting 40k or anything Games Workshop at the moment. I've really been into painting the Batman and DC miniature models by Knight Models.

At the same time, I've been reading the 40k Black Library book Carcharodons Red Tithe by Robbie Macniven. His look into the Carcharodons Astra Chapter and the world itself has rejuvenated my interest again at painting 40k models. It has been proven that reading improves brain function and boosts our mental and creative capacity.

Perhaps you've never actually read the codex of the army you play but only ran straight for the rules. Give that army book lore a read through and I am sure there might be some hidden tidbits of knowledge you didn't know. 

I also highly recommend going outside for a walk. Weather permitting of course. It doesn't have to be a long walk but there is something about being alone with one's thoughts in connection to the outdoors that is very freeing. Find yourself a local trail, out for a hike or even on the sidewalk. Getting that time with yourself and some fresh air, away from what's causing the burnout, I tell you dear readers, is liberating. Plus, nothing wrong with a bit of healthy activity. 

A New Hobby

Now, this might sound a little odd. Replace the hobby burnout with another hobby to only potentially get hobby burnout from the new hobby? Hear me out dear reader. Finding something new might be that spark that drives you back to what burnt you out in the first place. They say the heart grows fonder with distance in relationships.

This applies to our hobbies as well. It can be a brand new game, perhaps a specialist game you've always wanted to sink your teeth into. Maybe a game from another company like one of the many skirmish games out there or even an RPG. Perhaps it's not even gaming related at all. My fiancee has an obsession with house plants.

She loves the leafy green variety, however, while we were at the garden center I took an interest in the exotic house plants. I purchased a few and now I have a little side hobby of taking care of them. Another hobby of mine, and a little unknown fact, is that I love to cook. Trying new recipes or modify existing ones is something that I thoroughly enjoy.

I am especially keen on cooking meals that were passed down from my great grandmother to my grandmother, to my mom and then to me. A lot of these recipes don't have a written down component so it was mostly just orally and physically taught. I like to think that I channel the spirit of my ancestors when pouring oregano and wait for them to tell me when it's enough.

While I attempt to make a joke, the point is trying something new will do wonders and give you a new perspective on what is actually causing the burnout and maybe even life. It's good to have a nice balance in our lives as well. 

I hope that you have found this article insightful but more importantly helpful dear reader. Hobby burn out is a very real thing. It can leave us feeling overwhelmed or even crippled. However, there are tools and guides that we have access too to allow us to overcome this obstacle.

While you may practice these tips, also make sure to get plenty of rest as burnout can be very taxing on both body and mind. Also don't forget to talk to your friends about it for they might be going through the same thing you are. It's always nice to know that you are not the only one going through something alone.

I've been plagued with hobby burn out so many times but there is always light at the end of the tunnel, as the cliche goes. I've left some links down below to the MiniWargaming Vault where you might find inspiration in either painting or some of the specialist games that we cover. If you are not a Vault member you can click here to get a free 7-day trial. Vault members are what drive MiniWarGaming, so consider joining to support us in making even more miniature wargaming videos for you. Till next time dear readers. Happy Wargaming! 

- MWG Vito

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