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Beat Burnout by Traveling More

Adventure Travel Photographer Caley Vanular Tells Us How

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared “burnout” a syndrome. While it’s not defined as a medical condition, burnout can be diagnosed and is always associated with “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” 

How do you know if you’re suffering from burnout? According to the WHO, you may feel exhausted, cynical about your job, and professionally ineffective. Yikes! 

So what to do if you’re feeling the pain of burnout? We asked Caley Vanular, an adventure travel photographer, to share how she beats the stress of leading a creative agency by hitting the road.

The notion of “work” is ever-changing. Today, we don’t just compete against our city or country for a job, but against the entire world. The internet has made getting that promotion or landing a new position more competitive than ever. Nowadays you’re expected to work overtime, take on extra responsibilities, and go above and beyond in being a team player to even be considered good at your job. 

But not everyone works a standard nine-to-five. I’m the owner of a boutique creative agency and my entire business is built on a remote working structure which means our work never shuts off. Multiple clients in various countries require a serious amount of communication, accountability, and deadlines at various hours, every day of the week (even weekends). My world moves fast and is heavily results-based; if you aren’t on time, or the work isn’t done, you don’t get another contract.

As you can imagine, that constant feeling of being “on” and “accountable” can erode your sanity. Even though I love what I do and have a really fun job, I still get burnt out. It’s often a feeling of being overwhelmed by taking on too much or feeling creatively drained. 

 

Whatever the feeling is, burnout happens and nobody can help you but yourself. To prevent this “burnout” feeling, I go on adventures. Big or small, the importance of these adventures is long-lasting. Not only do they give you something to look forward to and create a refreshed perspective, they also allow you to be present.

For everyone in the working world, it’s important to take the initiative to fight burnout before it strikes. Here are three ways to avoid burning out by traveling more.

 

1. Future Planning

It’s important to have something to look forward to; something to work towards. Planning trips big and small is a great way to avoid burnout. It gives you a chance to focus on something new by learning about a new sport or location and the equipment and gear you need for it. This new goal to focus on can uplift you and enable you to keep your head up when work gets too demanding. The trip you’re planning can be the light at the end of the tunnel of a big project. 

 

2. Refreshed Perspective 

Traveling is so much more than getting a pretty picture. It’s filled with new experiences, people, sights, cultures, and learning experiences. Some of those learning experiences present as problems–problems big and small are inevitable while you’re traveling, but it’s how you deal with them that has lasting effects like self-confidence, personal growth, and increased creativity. This refreshed perspective aids in burnout prevention. When you return from a trip,  your endorphins are so much higher that the feeling lingers with you back into your working routine, keeping you inspired and happy at work.

3. Presence

Whether your adventure is climbing a mountain, traveling to a new city or camping by a lake, it’s important to be present. Sometimes you lose service altogether and other times it’s up to you to switch off, turn your phone on airplane mode, and lift your head up. This act of presence–whether it’s seven days in the backcountry or a long weekend away–is crucial. There is no point in traveling if you are going to stay at home through your devices. Turning off and focusing on your adventure will help you reset and enjoy every last second of It. Take the time to enjoy some much needed time with yourself and your thoughts.

Caley Vanular is a snowboarder, surfer, artist, and photographer who hails from British Columbia, Canada. Her roots lay in vast mountainscapes, rich temperate rainforests, and expanses of rugged land bound by deep, sometimes unruly seas. It’s from these natural spaces that she draws much of her inspiration. Her work has been featured across media platforms, galleries, and marketing campaigns for internationally recognized brands. Find her @caleyvanular or caleyvanular.com