I’m on fandom overload. I didn’t think it was possible (seeing as I’ve been a fervent fan of pop culture ever since I can remember), and yet here I am, trying to stay away from fandom for a while.
Over the years, I’ve slowly begun getting involved in more and more fandoms. More things to be excited and passionate about. It hasn’t been all that difficult, really. After all, just think about how the number of television shows in the world has increased exponentially over the last few years, every big and exciting movie seems to be a part of a larger universe, and nostalgia is bringing numerous properties back from the dead.
It didn’t take long for my television consumption to be around 15+ shows a week and for my obsession over fandom news making it impossible to go more than 30 minutes without checking Hypable and social media for the latest news. (After all, I’m the pop culture guru in my IRL group of friends. I’m always the first one to know the latest fandom news.)
It has all just gotten to be so overwhelming. There’s just so much to look at, remember, and have an opinion on. Not only that, but there’s so much that I feel like I’m supposed to be excited about but can’t bring myself to be so. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the Gilmore Girls revival, the new Fantastic Beasts logo… I can’t tell if it’s my fatigue or how I’m actually feeling about these things, but I can’t seem to muster any sort of interest in any news that has broken within the last few weeks.
In fact, in addition to feeling disinterested about things I thought I would’ve cared about, I’ve also started feeling cynical and dismissive about other pieces of news (like the existence of the term “No-Maj”). That’s not me. I usually try to be open-minded and optimistic about new prospects, but I’m too exhausted and overwhelmed to do so at the moment (and I’m not a fan of that).
Now, I’m not a doctor, but I do know that feeling high levels of excitement or stress for long periods of time is not healthy. Nor is it sustainable. Burnout is pretty much guaranteed after a while.
I never thought that I could ever have fandom fatigue or burnout, but that’s exactly where I’m at.
With so many “exciting” (I use quotes because some things are exciting while other things have seemingly just been packaged as exciting) things happening, I feel like I haven’t gotten a break in months. Once I start calming down about one announcement, one or two more announcements make my excitement levels skyrocket again.
That’s why I’m exhausted. I’ve overexerted myself and remained in a constant state of excitement and anticipation for far too long. When everything’s so exciting, nothing is exciting. Nothing is special. Nothing even feels hype-worthy.
The worst part about all of this is that fandom is a huge part of my life. It’s what I look forward to interacting with, talking about, and discovering. Being exhausted with fandom and distancing myself from it is like trying to ignore a large part of myself. It’s a kind of loss that I’ve never encountered before.
Honestly, it’s a pretty dull world that I’m living in right now, but I’m taking steps to get through it. After all, fandom and pop culture are my passions. That’s why I write for Hypable. I’ve got to get through this.
But as much as I’d love to speed through the recovery process, I know that I need to fully rehab myself so that I don’t burn out again any time soon. Or ever again.
Here are the steps I’m taking to rehab myself and kick my fandom fatigue. They seem to be working well so far so if you’re feeling the fatigue, feel free to take a page out of my book. Let’s do this together.
- Focus only on one or two fandoms. Max. You don’t have to go cold turkey to beat fatigue, but you should take it down a few notches. That being said, don’t be afraid to go totally fandom dark if you’re up for the challenge. Your fandoms won’t think any less of you for abandoning them for a while. They’ll still be there when you get back. (Probably.)
- Avoid clicking on or watching every little thing. Let spoiler/news articles slide by. They’re not important. They’re just an added stressor. Let them go for now and your fandom will be even more exciting when you come back to it. (Besides, when’s the last time you saw a movie without knowing a lot of the details or seeing all of the TV spots? Try it!)
- Don’t force excitement or an opinion. Straining yourself because you feel like you should be excited about something big happening in your fandom (when you aren’t) or like you should have an opinion on something big that’s happening (but you don’t) will only make you feel worse. Instead, just relax. There’s always time to get excited or form an opinion (or not) at a later date.
- Step away from the caps lock and exclamation points. I don’t know about you, but I’ll sometimes use caps lock or exclamation points to share news about something intriguing and then find myself digging a hole of false excitement. Going on a caps lock and exclamation point cleanse is pretty helpful in dialing back excitement.
- Try something new. Start watching a new show or a new movie, or read a new book. Something you haven’t seen before and know nothing about. Or, if you want to take a total break from anything media-related, pick up a hobby like cooking or crocheting. (Seriously!)
- Take a break from social media. Other people and their excitement/opinions can be exhausting. You can either go cold turkey and ignore all social media, or use those fancy features where you can mute certain accounts. That way, you can make sure that things that cause fandom fatigue won’t populate your feed.