Dealing with Burnout

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If you’ve been into scale modelling or any hobby or pastime, chances are you’ve experienced fatigue or a loss of desire for that hobby or pastime. This is called burnout. The unfortunate fact is, that no matter how passionate you are about something, you will eventually experience it. It’s not your fault and it doesn’t make you less passionate or dedicated to your hobby or pastime.

It just means you’re human. Welcome to the club. We’re glad to have you!

Getting over or dealing with burnout can be a tough proposition for some people. They sometimes can’t see a way back to having the same level of passion as they once did. Again, this is normal, but dealing with burnout will be different for everyone. What works for one person may not work for another. Sometimes you need a combination of tactics, while other times only one tactic will be enough to get you back to form.

We’ll explore some ways that I’ve dealt with burnout in the past. Mind you, this is not a comprehensive list and in reality, none of these tactics may work for you, but they may give you ideas or insight into what you need to deal with your own burnout.

Looking to other builders for inspiration

The good thing about our particular hobby is that there is no limit to the creativity people display in their works, so a useful tact that I will often take is to look at other builder’s works for inspiration. Combing through Facebook Groups or builder’s pages, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter (especially Japanese Twitter), can be a huge source of inspiration. Even just shuffling through a Google Image search can be really useful. Look for what you like or what interests you. Styles that speak to you, or aesthetics that you can relate to are particularly useful. Chances are, that after a few hours of getting lost in some truly amazing Gunpla you’ll come out feeling that desire to crack open a new kit and start snapping.

Which leads me to my next suggestion.

Snap a kit

Something as simple as opening a new kit and just admiring the engineering and design that went into its production can spark that flame again. Take out the runners, look at the manual, pine over the box art. Then, when you’re done with all that, start snapping it together. Just the act of putting pieces of plastic together can be really therapeutic and can get you well on your way to serious building again.

I would probably do this with a simple kit. Maybe a High Grade or an older Master Grade. Something that won’t take a ton of dedication to put together. Remember, you want to try and bring your desire back, not bury it even more with a complex or frustrating kit.

Wrong kit

Working on a project or kit that doesn’t inspire you can sometimes lead to burnout too. It may be as simple as boxing it up and moving on to something else. A new kit brings new challenges, and hopes, and most importantly a fresh start.

Give it a try and you might see that passion return again.

Swap hobbies temporarily

Having multiple hobbies can be both a curse and a blessing. You’ll often be torn between them for time, but when you burnout on one, you’ll have the comfort and familiarity of the other one to run to. Spending time doing something else you’re passionate about can help the healing process for your burnout. It can help take your mind off it for a bit and help you refocus. Activities like playing sports, more traditional art, music, or maybe even just watching movies or playing video games can be great things to help pass the time.

Once you’ve refocused and “charged your batteries,” you can jump back into the hobby with both feet.

Look at concept art

Concept art is like a doorway into another world of creativity and can give you ideas for future builds. Not only is it great for inspiration when you’re really passionate about your current or future project, it can be very consoling when you’re in a rut. Seeing what other people can envision in their art can definitely help you get back on track.

The best place that I’ve found to look for great concept art is a website called ArtStation (www.artstation.com). It’s a massive online gallery of many professional 2D, 3D, and practical artists. You can search many different topics and filter down the results to find just what you’re searching for. I’ve used this site to research many projects and designs and it has never failed to help.

Strength in numbers

For many of us we feel like we’re on an island all by ourselves and when burnout sets in, it can feel incredibly depressing. Finding support from others that enjoy the hobby can not be taken for granted. Both online and in person, the support you get from friends and peers can be priceless. Talking through your burnout with others can help you understand the WHY of it all and help you get back to building again. Maybe seek out new groups or people online. Find local groups or hangouts to join to meet new people and make friends. Your local hobby shop will likely be the hub that you can tap into to find those other people. Even if you don’t have a local hobby shop, there are Facebook groups for almost every state/country. Even some cities have their own groups. Tap into those to see if anyone has organized something, and if not, maybe try to take the initiative and organize something yourself!

Friends are important.

Time off

For some people or some instances, the burnout is so severe that just taking time off is what is needed. Sometimes just walking away and taking a break from things is what must be done. This may seem extreme, but sometimes too is the burnout.

Take your time and come back to the hobby when you’re ready. 

Conclusion

Like I stated previously, dealing with burnout is different for everyone. Hopefully the suggestions that I’ve listed will help you overcome your burnout or at very least give you some ideas for other methods to try. The most important thing to remember is to not give up on the hobby, and know that there are people out there that have felt the frustration of burnout just like you do, and they are there to help you.

1:1 RX-78-2

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There were few experiences in my life that have rivaled going and competing in Japan. One of the biggest (pun very much intended) highlights was seeing the 1:1 Gundam in person. 

Diver City, where the statue is located, was a short walk from our hotel on an amazing walkway and over a beautiful bridge. You pass community gardens and the whole experience is just special. Coming up to Diver City you can see Tokyo in the background and rolling mountains behind that. Everything is maintained to the highest level and all's right with the world. The walk almost prepares you for the spectacle of the Gundam. You walk around the mall and you can't see it immediately due to the trees, but as you get closer you start to see it emerge. Then as you round the last bend there it is in all its glory! What a glorious sight when you see it for the first time. There's really no words because you want to just take in the visage.

I was so lucky to have seen the Gundam and take pictures of it. Looking back at these pictures is reminds me of that day. The sights, the smells, the feeling of being there. I hope I'm lucky enough to go back one day.