Wayne Hinshaw: Feeling burned out? These suggestions might help

Published 12:02 am Sunday, April 12, 2015

This is the time of the year when most of us start feeling a bit burned out or depressed from the dreary, wet winter days. Nature teases us with a beautiful spring-like day and then slams us with more clouds and a humdrum day.  Have faith, spring will come. To use a sports saying, “Keep your heads up.”

I suppose being burned out from your work or your life is different from being mentally depressed. To me, being burned out causes depression, so I gather the two in the same box. I’m no psychologist, so my advice will not buy you a sunny healthy day. My advice might just get your mind off your problems and get you thinking about something other than the dumps.

I read a blog that was written by Julie Anne Kost, who is a “self help guru” and is known as the “Digital Imaging Evangelist.” She works for the Adobe software company that makes Photoshop for photographers. She speaks at seminars to photographers about being burned out.

Her writings say when we start creating self-doubts and fears about ourselves, we start limiting our beliefs that we can succeed at our daily tasks.

When you start telling yourself all the things that you can’t do or can’t accomplish, you have a problem.  When you make excuses that you are too busy to do your daily tasks and have no time for the tasks, you have a problem. When you tell yourself you don’t know how to do a task, rather than jumping in and learning how to do the task, you have a problem. You are not thinking positively, and your creativity dries up and dies.

Kost suggested you get with a really good friend and start talking. It needs to be a good friend, because you want them to pretend that you are not listening. You want them to talk about you, very honestly, telling you what they think about you with no icing on the cake.

Next step is to list three things that you dearly love about your life that are positive. Then list three things that drive you crazy. Pick one of the items from the crazy list and go solve the problem that you have with it. Maybe you waste time. Figure out why and solve the problem. You have got to solve the problem and move forward. Solving the problem is a positive step.

You make choices every day whether to be happy or sad. You can learn every day to make the most of the day moving forward. Don’t let anyone stop you or knock you down. It is your choice.

We get our inner strength from how we handle problems while we are down. Be thankful for what you have each day. If someone has wronged you, learn to forgive and not seek revenge, if you want to rebuild your life on hope and optimism. Revenge pulls you down and tramples you.

Being “burned out” or feeling depressed is so complicated for us to understand. Our emotions are so heavy on our lives. The emotions we experience can pull us down or boost us forward for good achievements. 

When I am at my lowest emotional levels, I try to go to my deepest motivations to pull myself upward. Sometimes at this point, I am able to create visually and see some of my best photos. When the emotions are deepest, it seems I create my deepest photos. I think I see things around me that I might have missed on a brighter, better day.

I truly don’t know where my personal vision or style of photography comes from. What contributes to what I see? I have certain things that I do in my compositions that I repeat, as well as the way I use the exposures in the camera. If I have to write down why I do certain things with my photography, I can’t find the words at times.

I suppose I combine all my life experiences, things I’ve seen and felt, good and bad, things that worked for me, and the things that failed for me. Much like a good cook, I put all of these ingredients together inside my head and stir them up in my brain, and I get what I get. Sometimes it makes a beautiful 3 layer chocolate cake with icing. Sometimes, it is a plain pound cake that just doesn’t rise. It is flat in the bottom of the pan, thick and gummy.

I find inspiration and hope listening to music. Music, through the ages, has always been a means of expressing joy and celebration. The sound and rhythm of music affects the minds and brains of people who have trouble speaking.

I really like folk music from the 1960s and ‘70s. I like the lyrics that tell me an uplifting story. I like songs like “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders,”  “Morning Has Broken,”  “Here Comes the Sun,” “Light One Candle” and my list goes on. Some might like spiritual music with a positive message. Music works. You pick your own music.

I find it helps to lift my spirit when I take my camera and let my mind wander off into its own orbit. I “zone out” into my world by challenging myself to think or see things that I haven’t paid attention to before. The next thing I know, I find I have created something positive, and I suddenly feel refreshed in my mind again.