The weekend looms and you cannot wait. It's been a hectic week, what with deadlines, your boss throwing a tantrum on Tuesday, a parents' meeting at the school and your partner's birthday.
All you want to do is relax a bit and let your hair down. A couple of days of reasonable peace and quiet. But the weekend does have certain possible pitfalls. So be careful – you could be making the coming week an even greater nightmare than the previous one.
So what are the things you shouldn't do this weekend?
Hit the bottle. It is very tempting to have a drink or five to help you relax at the start of the weekend. The problem is, whereas the first drink or two helps you to relax, the third or the fourth could make you even more tense – and give you insomnia to boot. Not to speak of a massive hangover the next morning. So if relaxation is what you're after, limit the booze. You're body is already tired and having to recover from a drinking binge will not help matters.
Junk food binge. When you're tired, the last thing you feel like is cooking. So what's the alternative? The drive-through takeaway, of course. Problem is, what you're buying is a heart attack in a Styrofoam container. Plan your meals ahead of the weekend. When you cook healthy food during the week, cook double portions and freeze them. Popping something in the microwave is even easier than the drive-through – and you don't even have to get into your car.
Forget to take medication. On weekends you are out of your routine. You sleep different hours and your morning rituals become somewhat disturbed. It's very easy to forget to take any medication you may be on. Put a note on the fridge to remind yourself.
Running out of pet food. There are few things worse than having to get dressed at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning, and go to the 24-hour shop, because you've run out of food for Kitty or Fido. So much for sleeping late. Stock up in advance.
Slaving away. Weekends should be for relaxing. That's what they're there for. You should recover from the week that was and prepare yourself for the one that's coming. And spend some time with your partner and/or family. If you spend the whole weekend working, you can't do this. I'm talking office work, not mowing the lawn or washing the car. At least that's different to what you usually do during the week. So, don't let office work creep into your weekend.
Sleeping irregular hours. Monday morning blues are generally caused by being forced back into your usual routine after going to bed late and sleeping late over the weekend. It may be difficult to stick to your normal bedtime hours, but try not to go to bed at 3am . It will be so much easier getting up on Monday morning if you're not completely sleep-deprived.
Having unsafe sex. If you're single and doing the party circuit, whatever you do, don't have unsafe sex. It could spoil a lot more than your weekend. Break all the other rules in this article if you want to, but this is the one non-negotiable.
Spend it all with your in-laws. If you're married, you'll know that in-laws, while they may be very sweet, often make you feel as if you are still under scrutiny. See them for Sunday lunch, by all means, but spending the whole weekend with them won't be relaxing. Put your foot down if you have to.
Fifteen rounds. Weekends are often when the most vicious spousal fights take place. You both have time, you are out at social occasions and there are sometimes not enough distractions – or for that matter, too many. Weekends should not be spoiled by constant bickering.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated April 2013)