With Burnout Comes Wisdom (If You Survive)

by Bill Brenner November 5, 2015 Work-life balance

I’ve devoted several posts to combatting career burnout, particularly in the information security industry. But something recently occurred to me: Burnout can be a good thing, but only if you survive. Mood music: The thought came to me after talking to a fellow industry veteran and work colleague. We’ve seen friends younger than us either setting themselves up for the fall or crashing to Earth after burning to a crisp. My friend knows burnout. So do I. We’ve…  [Read More]

Sleep or Exercise: Which Matters More?

by Bill Brenner July 10, 2014 Well-Being

I’ve been trying hard of late to get my exercise regimen back on track. But I keep hitting the same wall: sleep. Specifically, I can’t get my ass out of bed at the appointed time so I keep missing my workout window. Mood music: For a guy who used to obsessively walk 3.5 miles a day no matter the weather or amount of rest, this is baffling. True, I am pushing my mid-40s. But really,…  [Read More]

Why Do Americans Die Sooner?

by Bill Brenner January 11, 2013 Medicine

CNN reports that despite spending more per person on healthcare than any other country, Americans are getting sicker and dying younger than our international peers. Why is this? Because Americans are too high strung and overworked. You could say the stress is killing us. Mood music, ironically sung by a couple of Brits: [spotify:track:45Zo6ftGzq6wRckCUrMoBJ] Here’s the takeaway from CNN: Data from 2007 show Americans’ life expectancy is 3.7 years shorter for men and 5.2 years…  [Read More]

Starting Over

by Bill Brenner November 9, 2012 Fitness

In a lot of ways, I feel like I’ve been starting everything over this past week. Not in big, drastic ways, but in little ways that will hopefully add up to something good. Mood music: [spotify:track:3IRovqSVYx3CNtDWRebsET] There’s the afternoon tea I’ve been drinking instead of Red Bull and more coffee. There’s the meditation and yoga. And there’s the significant tightening of my food plan. What’s the reason for all this? I attribute some of it…  [Read More]

Time for Tea

by Bill Brenner November 6, 2012 Addiction

This is going to shock a lot of you, given the steady flow of coffee you’ve watched me drink day after day, but try to stay calm. I’m drinking tea, and lots of it. Mood music: [spotify:track:4NlR3rwvLtLcLuKZxIiYp4] This change wasn’t planned. No doctor told me to do it or risk a heart attack. And I haven’t given up my beloved java. In recent days, I’ve started splitting the day between coffee and tea: coffee in…  [Read More]

Get Well, Eddie Van Halen

by Bill Brenner August 31, 2012 Music therapy

Funny thing about life: Just when everything is humming along and all is right with the world, something devastating comes along and kicks your ass back to the stone age. So it seems to be with guitarist Edward Van Halen. Mood music: [spotify:track:3xMZrNrfyKUUqQVtoR13ml] Last winter, Van Halen released its “A Different Kind of Truth” album, easily its best effort since “1984,” in my opinion. The band then embarked on a massively successful tour and seemed…  [Read More]

‘Fixing OCD’ Article Is Badly Misleading

by Bill Brenner May 2, 2012 Adventures in writing

An article in The Atlantic called “5 Very Specific Ways to Fix Your OCD” blows it from the start — in the headline. OCD sufferers know damn well that you can’t fix OCD. You can only learn to manage it and make it less of a disrupting force in your life. Mood music: [spotify:track:74gJqWYjsfTyG4tSjhkoh7] Knowing that as I do, I’m dissapointed that the writer would give OCD sufferers false hope, followed by five pieces of advice…  [Read More]

The Monkey Will ALWAYS Be On Your Back

by Bill Brenner April 25, 2012 Addiction

I’m standing at a bar in Boston with my wife and stepmom. They order wine and I order coffee. My stepmom beams and says something about how awesome it is that I beat my demons. I appreciate the pride and the sentiment. But it’s also dangerous when someone tells a recovering addict that they’ve pulled the monkey off their back for good. Mood music: Here’s the thing about that monkey: You can smack him around,…  [Read More]

Strong Too Long, Or Weak Too Often?

by Bill Brenner April 23, 2012 Addiction

There’s a saying on Facebook that depression isn’t a sign of weakness, but simply the result of being strong for too long. Somewhat true — though weakness does feed the beast. Mood music: I’m feeling it this morning. I’ve always taken a certain level of satisfaction from my ability to stay standing in the face of death, illness, family dysfunction, depression and addiction. Sometimes, I get an over-inflated sense of survivor’s pride. People love to…  [Read More]

When The Going Gets Tough, I Disconnect

by Bill Brenner April 17, 2012 Addiction

I’m leaving my weekly therapy sessions with a headache these days, because I’m working through another deeply embedded flaw in my soul. Mood music: It’s not nearly as bad as the therapy I had in 2004-2006, when I had to endlessly churn the sewage of my childhood memories in search of clues on what was wrong with me and how I got that way. Back then, I didn’t know myself very well. Now I do….  [Read More]