Do you feel exhausted after the weekend? The allure of pleasant, in the moment, and easy activities is powerful. After a long week, it’s hard to resist a bowl of potato chips, a remote control, and a widescreen. However, as tempting as it sounds to lounge around in your PJs all weekend, the trick to fulfilling and restorative downtime is to do stuff.
Many of us waste our leisure time in passive activities like watching TV and scrolling through social media but, as research clearly demonstrates, engaging in physically or psychologically demanding activities is far more satisfying. The strange thing is that most of us are aware of this fact and yet cannot help ourselves from turning into couch potatoes on the weekend.
A study entitled The Paradox of Happiness: Why are we not doing what makes us happy?, found that the main obstacle separating us doing things that actually bring lasting happiness is that we perceive them as intimidating. The key then is to make more effortful but satisfying activities seem just a little less daunting. For example, you could put your workout clothes out the night before so that when you wake up, that extra step of finding your jog bra is already taken care of.
Another strategy is to schedule activities, especially with a friend. If you are already committed and it is on your calendar, you are more likely to follow through. Don’t just slide into your weekend, decide what you want to do in advance and do it.
This article originally appeared in the July 2018 print issue of Marie Claire Magazine.