burned out? 7 quick tips to customize your life

>> Monday, July 6, 2009

So, Alec Baldwin is considering getting into politics! He may run against Joe Lieberman. Changing careers at his age is very common.

As I approach middle age (yikes!), I am noticing similar things happening to me and my friends. Some have changed careers, some are getting divorced and some are questioning everything they stand for.

I feel like I am in a constant state of improvement, myself. I try to learn all I can on living a better, healthier life and apply things as I learn them.

One theme among my friends is not hopeful improvement, however, it's burnout.

Many of the changes being made by people is a result of not feeling something for their current situation, be it a job or marriage. They are lacking the passion they once had for things and asking those existential questions:

How did this become my life? Is this all there is for me?

Some say these are dangerous questions to ask. I can sort of see their point. The answers to those questions can lead a man or woman to leave their family. Those answers can hurt the people around the questioner, those people who thought they had their life planned out and knew what to expect, only to have it turned upside down thanks to someone who seemed to suddenly be so unsatisfied.

On the other hand, the answers to those questions can be very liberating! Those answers can lead to new endeavors and an enriched life. After all, we are here for a very limited amount of time (as far an anyone knows for sure).

I think the most dangerous thing about these questions is if they are asked of oneself only once in a lifetime. I am in a constant state of self-improvement, but I am also constantly asking myself those questions as I go and have been for years.

If you do find yourself feeling a bit dispassionate or burned out, I have come up with 7 quick tips to help customize your life--make your "cookie cutter" life more of your own.


These include the basics: gardening, collections, car tinkering, and crafts. But also consider genealogy. Sometimes looked at where we come from can connect us to the present in a new and spirited way. Another great hobby to consider is photography. Here is a great link for those looking to improve their skills. Whatever hobby you choose, make it something you can feel passionate about! This will help make your life seem more worthwhile and more about you.

Special Interests, Charities and Causes

This can really light a fire under people. Think of a greater need than your own and then put some effort into it. Think awareness, research and fund raising. Many famous people do this and I suspect it's their way of taking control of their lives and giving themselves a legacy beyond acting or sports.


There is a lot of new social media out there: twitter, facebook, my space, yahoo, stumbleupon, etc. They can be great ways to keep in touch with your current friends, reconnect to old (think grammar school) friends as well as meet new people with similar interests. There is no end to how many people you can connect with. You can even follow me on twitter!


Sometimes the act of physically seeing that there is more to life beyond your little world can really change a person's perspective. If finances are tight, consider a short trip to a ethnic museum or festival near where you live.

Image, Looks

Generally speaking, this is the one area in which we have the most freedom. Get a new hair cut, color your tresses or get a perm. Wear glasses or switch to contacts. Buy clothes in a different style. You can lose weight or just tone those arms (think Michelle Obama).


This can take the shape of diet or exercise. Even if you are already in pretty good shape, there is always room for improvement. How about learning a new exercise? Yoga, running, kettle ball, weights and in line skating are all great ways to do something we love that will love us back.


Look around you. Do you see clutter and poor air quality? Dated decorations? What about toxins in the form of household cleaners or pesticides? Try organizing, getting houseplants, rearranging furniture and making your own cleaners. There are even nontoxic alternatives to insecticides.

These tips are especially helpful if you are not looking to make that big change right now. Maybe you are committed to staying at your job or marriage, but are just seeking...something. Take hold of those other parts of your life and individualize them, just for you.

Please comment back on how you customize your own life, I know others would love to hear it (me, too)!