It's the same every Friday: The allure of the weekend pulling us away from work we were pretending to do and into excitable weekend planning. "Maybe I'll go to a new workout class or begin learning French?," "Maybe I'll get cracking on the high stack of books on my bedside table, or get up early to clean the entire house."
The possibilities are endless and the 48 hours ahead of you are like reams of untouched bubblewrap just waiting to be popped. With all the time at your fingertips, just one episode won't hurt, will it? One quick scroll on Instagram and then it's on with the weekend! Maybe I'll just rewatch this episode of Goblin while I eat my breakfast.
BANG, before you know it: Monday morning.
What happened? How did something with so much potential turn, yet again, into something as sad as soggy French fries in every takeout? The answer, my friend, is a phenomenon called "free-time paralysis."
Essentially, the idea is that having too much choice leaves us overwhelmed, unable to pick between all the socializing, adulting errands, self-improvement, and relaxation we're supposed to fit into a weekend and leaves us doing nothing.
In turn, that makes you feel bad about yourself, because you appear to have failed to achieve all the things you set out to do with your free time. This feeling is only exacerbated by the "always-on" culture we live in now, and gets worse when you go on social media and see others spending their weekends hiking, going to brunch or socializing.
This doesn't mean that you have to be a Hilton-esque socialite all the time; Netflix isn't going to watch itself, after all. But it does mean that managing your expectations might make you feel more satisfied with how you've spent your weekend. Fewer choices, means fewer decisions, means a simpler ride altogether.
This is an offshoot of something called The Paradox of Choice, a theory created by American psychologist named Barry Schwartz (he did a TED talk on it that will blow your mind).
At the very least, science has given you a free pass to not feel guilty for being horizontal for two days straight. Thanks, science!
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.