"You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling..."
We all know the song and sometimes it feels like that with geocaching or any other hobby that you get involved with. You've been excited about it and fully engaged for a period of time and then one day you realize the excitement just isn't there any more. Maybe it happens suddenly because of a specific event (or person) - or perhaps it's a gradually building sense of dissatisfaction or apathy. Whatever the case, you realize you're in Geocaching Burnout.
What you need are tips and ideas for how to get out of a slump and how to beat geocaching burnout!
Not all of these tips and ideas will apply to everyone. Some of them can actually seem contradictory. But hopefully one or two of them will be just what you need to beat that slump.
Realize you're not alone
Many of us have had ups and downs in our "love affair" with geocaching. Plenty of geocachers go through slumps and experience burnout. It's not unusual and you're not alone. Realize that your geocaching involvement can vary at different times or seasons of your life. It doesn't mean you have to give up on the hobby altogether. How about trying some of the tips listed below.
Mix it up
Take a fresh look at your geocaching activities. See if you are in a rut and figure out how to break out of it. If you have been a solo-cacher, find some geocaching friends and go out in a group. If you typically go geocaching with family or friends, set out on a hike by yourself (in a safe place, and be sure to let someone know where you're going and when you'll be back!!) and see if that reignites your passion.
Force yourself out of your comfort zone
Take a step beyond just mixing it up. Do something that you never thought you'd do. This will be different for everyone. What have you always avoided? Hide that geocache. Attend a mega event. Find a new type of cache. Find a harder difficulty/terrain combo than you have before. Try a difficult geocaching challenge. Go on a super long hike and only find one geocache. Hit up a power trail and find more caches than you've ever found in one day. The list is endless.
Get away from the negativity
We've all seen it - the negativity in the forums, the critical comments on social media, the drama that sometimes plays out in local geocaching groups. This may not be the issue for many people, but if it IS part of the problem for you - flee from the drama and negativity. Get back to the basics of what drew you to geocaching in the first place. Give yourself permission to take a break from the forums or social media. Life is too short and geocaching is too frivolous for that kind of drama.
Take a muggle geocaching
Give yourself the opportunity to see geocaching in a fresh way, through the eyes of someone who just might be enamored by it. It could help to take some kids out on a "Treasure Hunt" and experience the excitement and enthusiasm the way only a child can express it. HINT: Don't take someone who has been openly skeptical or critical about geocaching. That probably won't end well.
Focus on what you love best about geocaching
Forget everything else and just boil it down to your favorite thing. Don't worry about what your caching friends are doing; forget the challenge that you made yourself start; give yourself grace from what you THINK your hobby should look like - and just do the part you like the best.
Find something to inspire you
Go for the WOW factor. Look for high favorites. Ask geocachers in your area for suggestions of exceptional cache hides. Perhaps travel a little farther away to experience a fantastic geocache. It might be just what you need to combat the burnout.
For Geocaching Inspiration, nothing beats listening to the PodCacher Podcast! If you're a reader, how about reading a geocaching-themed book? Here are a few ideas to get you started. (These are affiliate links):
Take a break
There's no rule that says you can't take a break from a hobby - even a hobby that you formerly loved. Time away just might be what you need to get the itch and craving back. Remember, it's a game and a hobby. It should be FUN, not WORK. Geocaching should excite you, not drag you down. It shouldn't involve drama, politics, negativity, competition (unless it's healthy, fun competition with friends) or feeling like you "have to" do something a certain way. Take time off, gain a fresh perspective, and perhaps you'll be back after a period of time, ready to participate at your speed, in your way.
What TIPS would you add for how to get out of a geocaching slump? Add them in the comments below!
If you'd like more on this topic, you can listen to Show 317 where we discussed How to Beat Geocaching Burnout, with lots of listener suggestions and ideas.