The Weekend Effect: The Life Changing Benefits of Taking Time Off and Challenging the Cult of Overwork by Katrina Onstad
In THE WEEKEND EFFECT, Katrina Onstad provides ideas on how to get back some of your precious weekend time. The author admits that there isn’t any magic button to push—but there ARE some things you can do:
“When I started investigating, two things became clear: I’m not alone with my Sunday night letdown, and smarter people than I are fighting to preserve the weekend—and winning.“
Many of the ideas presented in this book are simple—and that’s the idea.
“Make something with your hands,” do less cleaning, join a choir, write “angry letter to someone in government.”
The idea is to do more than just create a pleasant diversion for a few days. Become more aware of beauty; be on the lookup for meaning.
Katrina suggests you begin by asking yourself this question, “What gives my weekend value?” Based on your answer, do LESS of things that don't help. For example, give yourself permission to do LESS cleaning or fewer chores. Decide to make do with less.
“Doing less—and having less—on all fronts may be the best way to make those forty-eight hours feel like a true reprieve.”
The highlight of the book is Chapter 7, “Manifesto for a Good Weekend.” This is a short, pithy summary of her ideas. I recommend reading this manifesto first—and then you can go back and get more information on her ideas.
Here are some of the “manifesto” suggestions:
- Connect in PERSON with an old friend or a neighbor.
- Volunteer. Become an activist for a cause you believe in.
- Define nature any way you choose. Get close to it. Return to that place every few weekends until it’s sacred ground.
I thought the suggestions on the benefits of exploring nature were particularly inspiring. In Chapter 6, The Power of Beauty, the author encourages the reader to take time, and look for “awe." Experience nature and turn off the phones and internet for a while. She quotes my favorite author, Dr. Johnson, “Deviation from nature is deviation from happiness.”
More exposure to nature also brings some health benefits. The author cites several studies that correlated nature walks with a reduction in blood pressure and stress. A Stanford study showed the benefits of walking in peaceful areas versus along a busy highway filled with cars racing along. (Wait--we needed a study to show that?)
So all in all, I found THE WEEKEND EFFECT to be an encouraging, helpful read. The book is well-written, and a quick, fun read. I don’t think I discovered any startling revelations, but the suggestions are solid--and practical as well.
And just in case I ever forget, I am reminded that walking along a busy highway is not good therapy.
Advance Review Copy courtesy of the publisher. Photos courtesy of Pexels.