UNITED STATES—I hear this question all the time: why are you so tired? I sometimes have to laugh inside because if I truly said what I wanted people might think I’m attacking them. That is not the cause, but its exhaustive going through the laundry list of things that I have to deal with in life. I have two jobs: one full-time, one part-time, I’m finishing up graduate school, I have a load of family responsibilities and I get very little quality sleep.

Yes, it’s a lot America, and when you toss in the holidays, it just ups the mayhem of the stress or feeling overwhelmed. I would be completely lying if I told you that I was not on the verge of mentally wanting to induce a 24 hour sleep cycle because that is how exhausted, burnt out I am at this point. The week started Sunday, yes, Sunday, because Saturday is my one day off during the week. I cut the world around me off to a degree, I’m non-responsive on my cellphone (unless it’s an absolute emergency), and I do no work in any capacity.

I’ve learned in life you have to work to live, you don’t live to work. I could explain the analogy, but it would simply take too long. Let me best say, you give no purpose to your life if you’re constantly working around the clock. In doing so, you prevent yourself from enjoying the fruits of your labor. I’ve gotten very good at holding true to that motto, Saturday is my off day and I mean that to the absolute fullest. DO NOT DISTURB!

Sunday kicked off the busy week at my other place of employment where we are absolutely swamped because of the impending Thanksgiving holiday; before the week ended I had already worked nearly 60 hours, not to mention another 20-25 hours at my other job, while wrapping up school work. Oh, did I forget to mention I was hosting Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday? Yeah, preparing a feast for the family is exhausting. Prep work started late Wednesday night and didn’t end until the early morning hours on Thursday.

I think between Tuesday and Friday I may have gotten a total of 10 hours of sleep. Don’t even ask me how in the world I was able to operate, I don’t know, and let me tell you right now I didn’t utilize energy drinks to stay awake. I simply took small micro naps whenever free time allowed me to during the week. I was speaking with a family member where I noted I was long overdue for a vacation and I cannot wait until February 2019, where I am planning to take a long-overdue 2 week vacation. No work, no school, no family drama just a pure escape from all the mayhem and madness that has seemed like I’m been carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Vacations are important! Some just say take a day or two off that does not work America! Why? The notion that you have to return back to work is still on the mind. With an elongated vacation you get the opportunity to decompress after work and not have the lingering feeling of ‘having to return to work’ which let’s be honest so many of us dread. I mean there might be 10 percent of us who actually enjoy or love our job, while the rest of us go through the emotions of doing what we have to, to provide for our family and ourselves. I hate it when people assume someone wants to be stuck in a dead end job; that is never the case, it is simply a means to an ends until you can make what you want to happen to actually happen.

The irony of this conversation is that I’ve discovered that three things calm my mind in ways that nothing else can: listening to podcasts, playing a videogame (rarely do I have time to do this) and writing. I would argue a movie does, but it has to be a situation where I don’t have disturbances which can be rare. You may be overworked, over extended, exhausted, but at the end of the day you should only take on what you can handle. We all know when we’re juggling too much, and if you’re not able to gauge it, your body will alert you of the situation.