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palm_trees_and_beach_204382By Nancy O’Reilly

How we work and how we play are deeply connected. When we approach life with enthusiasm and intensity — whether we’re driving a collaborative project or learning how to paddle a kayak — we learn, gain new skills, and expand our sphere of influence. And when we see that taking risks pays off, we’re willing to take more of them. If you’re stuck in a summertime rut, the following are a few ideas for getting out of it.

* Don’t waste the weekend. How many times have you realized that it’s Sunday evening and you haven’t accomplished any of the things you meant to over the weekend? Set a goal to do something different every weekend, whether it’s visiting a state park, learning a new sport, throwing a neighborhood block party, or even just cooking a new type of cuisine for dinner.

* Get out of your vacation rut. Is your family going to a certain beach this summer because, well, that’s what you always do? Even if your family thoroughly enjoys a familiar destination, consider making plans to visit someplace new this summer. For example, instead of just experiencing the usual sand and surf, you might rent a mountain cabin or plan a road trip through several national parks.

* Find creative day-trips. Imagine a 100-mile radius around your home. Chances are, there are more sunset_sea_beach_221767fun places and events in that radius than you can cram into one summer: hiking trails, historic sites, lakes, new restaurants, museums, festivals, and more. Whether your family is taking an out-of-town vacation or not, plan to visit some of them. (What better way to make the most of your weekends?)

* Learn a new skill. One of the great things about summer is that the pace of daily life does tend to slow down somewhat. Take advantage of longer days and more relaxed schedules by taking the time to learn something new. Sign up for a yoga class, join a club, or go kayaking. Remember, the idea is to challenge yourself, and that won’t happen if you’re not stretching beyond the boundaries of what feels comfortable.”

Nancy O’Reilly is a co-author of “Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life” (Adams Media, 2015, http://www.drnancyoreilly.com).