Often we may feel we are always doing the "hard yards". Working when others have stopped doing so, working the weekends, looking after children when we may not feel like it, visiting people when we'd rather collapse on the couch at home, listen to a client who's getting on our nerves, having to phone someone when we don't feel like it, take the trash out and do the dishes, and on and on.
So are those hard yards really worth it or are we really fooling ourselves thinking that making our own lives difficult will somehow help us towards becoming more joyous in our work and daily life? Since when has punishing ourselves with dedication to other causes then what we really want to do, aided us in feeling better about ourselves?
Yep. I don't know the magic number either. Having a farm-let did teach me this: whether you are happy or sad, tired like hell or happy: the animals always need tending to and always come first (if you have kids enter "kids" where I had put "animals" -same rule applies.) So yes by all means finish projects you know need doing, but allow "me time" to balance yourself out. You are as important as the people you promised you would do things for.
Instead of getting so worn out that you feel like being in a continual state of full blown PMS, consider the opposite:
fighting or battling against something will cost you more energy then if you accept that at the moment it is all simply as it is. (I have done this regarding my daily work and my that has made a huge amount of difference, I'm even quite restful about it. I can be Zen when others get in a tizzy.)
Then take your foot of the friggin' accelerator and park next to the road. Notice the wild flowers. See the hare dashing across the road in the distance. Sniff some hay-fever elements! In any event; stop pushing yourself like you have a work addiction. Seriously! Would it be the end of the world if a project would finish later? Would it matter that the house is still not painted before Christmas? Would it matter you will not have a flash dinner this Christmas day but instead settle for a "salad in 5 min option"? Does it really concern you that you are a bit late with some things you wanted to do this year?
Once you step outside of that zone of "have to have to have to panic panic tired tired PMS feelings" you will notice something quite wondrous!
The sun comes up every morning. You actually see it this time. Everything simply pans out as it pans out. You will however have reclaimed your sanity. That my friends, is already a miracle this time of year. Now go find a friend or a lovely tree, and hug it. Voila! Instant happiness. Just... Chill... Out!! You have worked hard! Now have some fun too or simply allow some extra hours snoozing in bed.
Told you it could be done. You just have to allow yourself to try. And stop pushing.
"Battle less, love more" - Gabriel