What is hobby fatigue and how to deal with it
Have you ever felt like you no longer enjoy doing something that you once really liked doing? It could be a hobby which you did a lot in your leisure time, or anything else you were passionate about once but now that thing makes you feel like you are wasting your time. If the answer is yes, you probably have hobby fatigue or burnout.
Burnout, in general, is usually caused by high amounts of stress or overworking. To recover from such burnout, you need to relax and take some time off. However, sometimes you find yourself in a more complicated predicament when you feel burnout from the very thing that usually helps you relax, like a hobby.
As you grow as a person, your interests tend to evolve. For me, gaming used to be one of my favourite pastimes and during my teenage years, I spent hours upon hours playing games. But now, even playing for 20 minutes feels like a drag to me sometimes. From my current perspective, I see gaming as something you need to give a lot of effort in, and depending on the type of the game, it seems like I am just replacing my real-life grinding with virtual grinding making it counterproductive. Not that I completely hate playing video games now. Occasionally, I might play something I am still having fun with, but the amount of time I feel like investing into gaming is simply not the same on account of decreased interest and a busier schedule.
Over-familiarity could be one of the reasons why you may feel dissonant with something which once gave you joy. Reading comic books and watching superhero content was also one of my hobbies growing up, apart from gaming. Superhero fatigue may be its own topic, but nowadays I indulge in these things out of habit or as a guilty pleasure. While familiarity can bring comfort, it can also bring boredom. And the thing about nerd culture is that pretty much every fanbase has a certain level of toxicity. So, in my experience, wanting to talk about my interests with a wider community has more often than not resulted in a lot of baseless negativity and gatekeeping, which, in turn, waned my interest in these things in general.
Another reason for hobby fatigue could be that you feel like you are not achieving anything with that particular activity. I used to draw a lot, but after a while, it began to feel like a waste of time. Living in a culture which seldom promotes creativity, I fell out of love for art. While I often do draw from time to time, I find no fulfilment in it.
Now, how do you deal with hobby burnout?
The first thing to note is that you should not try to force yourself to enjoy the things you are losing interest in. That would just add to the stress instead of accomplishing the intended goal of these hobbies, which is to relieve stress. So, you might find yourself in a loop.
Secondly, you could try to replace those interests with new ones. Gaming may not have the same effect on me as it once did, but I really enjoy watching random shows and movies to relax and that has had a positive impact on me. While I still read comics, nowadays, I also read more traditional novels of varying genres which I did not read before. This has brought much-needed enlivenment to my reading habits. Then, I found a different and more enjoyable creative outlet for me to replace drawing as I discovered a passion for writing.
Trying to be more productive has also helped with my hobby burnout. Attempting to learn new skills which may help me in my career, gave me a sense of purpose and progress that I didn't have before.
If you are feeling disconnected from your hobbies, just give the above-mentioned tips a shot. Also, don't hesitate to explore what works for you. Life is about moving forward, and it is okay if your interests keep changing. In the end, what matters is finding healthy alternatives to those things which can bring more positivity in your life.