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Health & Balance

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Make Your Weekend Last (and Last...)

For every task on that list, add one fun thing too.

Consider each pleasurable to-do a pat on the back for all the work you have accomplished — and a way to prevent you from filling up every spare moment with tasks. And there's another sneaky benefit: Helping you fold the towels won't sound so bad to your kids if you're all going out for ice cream afterward.

Play with your kids.

Really play. Get down on the floor and color, or watch cartoons, or build something with LEGOs, or whatever. Children are always seeking pleasure and are good at living in the moment, so let them guide you to be imaginative and carefree. When you see the world through their eyes, you'll remember the happy-go-lucky days of your own childhood — a feeling you'll want to recapture again and again, says Long.

Have a pajama day.

Or at least a pajama morning. Staying in your pj's feels indulgent and puts you in that wonderful I-have-all-the-time-in-the-world frame of mind. Sit down for breakfast, flip through a magazine, and don't change out of your nightie until it's absolutely necessary. If you have an early-morning commitment, slip on your pj's for a slumber party that night: Pop in a movie and kick back.

Get up within an hour of normal wake time.

Otherwise you'll throw off your body clock, making it harder for you to fall asleep at night and get out of bed on Monday morning — which dissolves any refreshed-and-ready-to-start-the-week feelings you had Sunday night, says sleep expert Sara Mednick, an assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego.

Make Sunday night family night.

Find a routine that works for you — whether it's having dinner together or going out for dessert — and stick to it. Set a time for the activity and specify that everyone's homework/bill paying/housework must be done by 6 p.m. because it's family night. Not only will you fend off that end-of-the-weekend dread (a.k.a. Sunday-nitis), but you'll also wind down the day on a relaxing note — and recharge your batteries for the full week ahead.

Originally published on: April 22, 2008

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