It’s the beginning of August, which means if you are reading this and not on vacation, you’re probably hot, working your tits off and suffering the consequences.

Maybe you don’t have vacation time. If this is the case, my condolences. But if you are grinding it out because you fear your professional life will fall apart if you take time off, then heed my words.




The amount of vacation time Canadians take is pitiful- less than one week on average per year. Even when we get away, too many of us are still hyper connected- answering emails and taking calls, guilty and apologetic that we’ve taken a few weeks to have a life.

Learn from your favorite human guinea pig here- taking time off is far better than the alternative: chronic burnout followed by a nervous breakdown.

Looking back on my own flirtation with total collapse, there were 5 tell- tale signs that I should have closed up shop and gone fishing way sooner than I did.

Here are 5 telltale signs for when the GO-GO-GO becomes too much:

Loud noises turned into white noise

  • Dude seriously, this has got to be the worst sign of Stress and the City- when I stopped hearing emergency vehicles, shouting pedestrians and the steadily increasing volume of my own voice on a regular basis.

Smells all blur together

  • Honestly if you’ve lived in a big city long enough, you just had an aha moment right? There is a certain “what is that smell” reaction for most non-locals when they hit the various pockets of our environmentally challenged city core.  Losing this is a red flag.

You’re broke majority of the time or “cash poor”

  • When I catch myself rummaging my laundry machine for change or buying gum with a credit card, this is a sign that I’ve been “citying” too much. Shopping too much or eating out all the time or over spending at the bar are signs of burnout. You are looking for stimulation in all the wrong places. I saw this with my wine intake, which I’m convinced wasn’t about alcoholism, but my body wanting sugar to keep going (and yes, wine is full of sugar).

Patience is just a word

  • I can say “ I have patience”, but when the neighbour’s barking dog has me quaking with rage or someone bumps into me on the sidewalk while talking on their phone, I was turning into Medusa- full of death stares, curse words and a burning desire to turn everyone into stone.

You are tired AF all the time

  • Like anyone I know who manages kids, career, perhaps a spouse – and like every other adulting task in their busy lives… you are tired all the goddamn time. Feeling awesome for tackling 635 tasks a day?  Ya…more like awesomely exhausted.
So where does one go and how to recharge?

I’m going to tell you part of a secret. I’ve found a place with no noise. A place I can put the phone away and not think about anything. A place surrounded by water where the air is pure and I can sleep for days. I go whenever I can- before the warning signs. Before the stress of city life gets to me. I’m not going to tell you where this place is because then it would cease to be my own. But I will say that it has saved my life. This place is my oasis.

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Now ask yourself, what does your oasis look like?

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