Summer is a time to get outside, relax, and enjoy the fresh air. Whether it’s the mood boost from daylight exposure or increasing your body’s production of vitamin D, soaking in the sunniest of seasons supports our well-being.

What the Research Tells Us

Spending time in nature has long been connected to mental and physical wellness. For example, visiting an outdoor park for just 20 minutes can improve your subjective well-being and life satisfaction by as much as 64%. Outdoor physical activity can provide mental relief, challenge your body, and boost your mood. And there’s a reason many people flock to beaches, lakes, and rivers during the summer—being near water may enhance your self-esteem, self-efficacy, social confidence, resilience, other psychological (e.g., stress, mood) and psychosocial indicators. Just remember to apply your sunscreen!

ONS Members Share How They Practice Wellness Outside in the Summer

On a recent ONS Communities discussion post, ONS members told us how they took advantage of the season to enhance their well-being practices.

ONS member Christien Emerson, RN, OCN®, RN clinical coordinator at Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, NH, put reading first this summer by setting up reading nooks both inside and outside of her home. She said putting aside time to read helps her put her mental health first.

“By setting aside time to read, I am prioritizing my mental health and reducing my chance of burnout,” Emerson said. “Reading is the ultimate form of relaxation for me. It resets my mood and energy levels, allowing me to continue my work as an oncology nurse, wife, and mother.”

ONS member Cortney Grubbs, BSN-RN, OCN®, lead nurse at Augusta Oncology in Georgia, also uses the nice weather to soak in the outdoors and pick up a good book. She said she enjoys time on her boat with her family and working on her reading plan. 

“Anytime I get to spend with my husband and my daughter is such a recharging experiencing for my happiness. I spend more time at work than I do at home, so I'm so blessed with any time I get with my family,” she said. “Reading is also my escape from the real world. It makes me so happy.”

ONS member Maria Abondano, CMSRN, OCN®, an RN at Paragon Healthcare, Inc., in Houston, TX, passed her OCN® examination just in time for the summer. After investing so much in that achievement, she plans to commit to three hours of active moving each week to engage in self-care.

“I enjoy the endorphin release after a workout or even a walk around my neighborhood,” she said. “I would like to incorporate that into my schedule this summer in hopes of establishing a new habit I can build on and expand for months to come.”

ONS member Teri Corbin, MSN, RN, CMSRN, nurse manager at St. Elizabeth Healthcare who lives in Taylor Mill, KY, said that summer’s outdoor activities help her reduce stress, reflect on improvement opportunities, and focus on family.

“I plan on enjoying hikes, workouts, and reading,” Corbin said. “We also like to vacation, so we will be in Destin, FL, many times to relax and unwind. Self-care has especially been emphasized at my organization for all staff and highlighted during nurse's month by sending out opportunities at the organization.”

How did you spend your summer? Share your adventures to keep the conversation going and find more relaxation ideas on the ONS Communities.