UNITED STATES—Whew, there is something about the week of Thanksgiving that can just knock the wind out of you and I mean that in a literal sense.  My life always seems to become super chaotic around the week of Thanksgiving, and I’m always trying to find a balance between it all. Working two jobs, dealing with schoolwork and mid-terms as the semester nears the end, and then you throw in Thanksgiving and that is a mess in its own right.

Just carving out a slice of time for yourself can do wonders for your psyche. Whether it is taking a 20-minute nap, turning your cell phone off and putting it away, watching a brief 30 minute or hour of your favorite TV series, playing a video game, doing a bit of Christmas shopping, or hell screaming into a pillow can do wonders for you. Trust me it sounds crazy, but sometimes you have to air your grievances before they get the best of you.

Work is bound to bring stress into your life no matter what you do. You just have to take the good with the bad and hope for the best. School is a beast in itself. You have those professors who want you to enjoy the impending holiday, then you have those professors who want to milk students and have you worried about a massive paper or exam due the day you return from the holiday. If that wasn’t enough on your plate you have the stress of the holidays.

Whether it is interacting with relatives you haven’t seen in years or dealing with relatives quite frankly that aren’t your cup of tea, that is an added layer of stress that can sometimes annoy you. To top things off, you have the big worry about the Thanksgiving feast. If you’re hosting, get ready to be burnt out and I say that in the best way possible. I have helped host Thanksgiving many times in the past, and it is beyond brutal. The preparation is perhaps the toughest, making sure dishes are ready to go into the oven, on the stove or the fridge so the guests are ready when the dinner clock dings.

In recent years I haven’t hosted simply because that is an impossible feast if you have to work the day before and the day of Thanksgiving; my body just doesn’t have the fuel to deal with any BS and I say that kindly. For 2023, after all the mayhem in recent years with COVID-19 and the pandemic, I was just hoping to have a chill holiday after working, I don’t know, 14 straight days without a day off, but that would be all too easy America, right?

Nope. Family wants me to bake sweet potato pies. Which means I have to buy ingredients, which means going to a particular grocery store during the busiest times of the year, preparing in the kitchen and cooking, all whilst working during the week. I don’t mind cooking I just wish I had a bit more of a heads up, not one or two days before Thanksgiving to prepare the dishes. I already know I’m going to be cooking more than just those sweet potato pies, I can feel it in my bones.

To all those people who get to have those easy Thanksgiving holidays where you just show up to dinner and feast without any worries, kudos to you. To those who are busy running around every five minutes with little to no time to spare, I feel your pain! However, you only get one family, enjoy them, appreciate them, love them, because you never know when the last interaction could be your last meeting with them. Be thankful America, there are things you do indeed have worth being thankful for, sometimes we don’t see it, but the holidays have a way of making you remember what is most important in life.