Katrina Onstad, author of a new book called The Weekend Effect: The Life-Changing Benefits of Taking Time Off and Challenging the Cult of Overwork says people usually feel better after a weekend of engaging in engaging social activities instead of binge-watching TV, loafing, and drinking.
Serious leisure activities provide deeper fulfillment, and—to invoke a fuzzy ’70s word—“self-actualization.” Self-actualization is the pinnacle of human development, according to humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow, who describes it as “the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” In other words, getting self-actualized is the whole point of life, and passive, hedonistic leisure (fun and occasionally necessary as it might be) won’t get you there.
Instead, the weekend goal should be “eudaimonic” happiness, which is a sense of well-being that arises from meaningful, challenging activities that cause you to grow as a person. This means spending the weekend on serious leisure activities that require the regular refinement of skills: your barbershop-quartet singing, your stamp collecting, or slightly less dorky, but still equally in-depth, projects. You pursue serious leisure with the earnest tenor of a professional, even if the pursuit is amateur.
Thinking about my own weekends, I like ones that include loafing *and* social stuff. My ideal weekend would include reading for a few hours, learning Japanese for an hour, meeting with my amateur magic club for a couple of hours, having a fun date night with Carla (dinner and a movie), watching a couple of episodes of a show we like, taking a long hike with Carla (and one of my daughters if they are around) in the Hollywood Hills, making meals that require lots of chopping and prep, sketching with my daughters, and fixing something broken around the house (especially if it requires me to design a 3D model and make something on my 3D printer). Sometimes, I achieve a weekend that includes all of these things, but it's rare, because other obligations get in the way. But I usually am able to do a few of these things, which is enough.