Nursing is considered one of the noblest professions in the world. However, it is also one of the hardest. The long hours, high-stakes, and sudden emergencies can prove stressful even for the calmest person. Add to this the feelings of loneliness and isolation that come with being a travel nurse, and the situation gets even tougher.
Feeling blue on an off day is natural and inevitable, but if you don’t do anything to deal with these feelings then they can be destructive for your health and career.
The question is: what can one do when they are in a new place, surrounded by new people?
Here are some of the best ways to beat travel nursing blues.
Stay connected with loved ones
One of the biggest problems that travel nurses face is that staying away from one’s family and friends can quickly turn into feelings of homesickness. This is compounded by the fact that it is hard to stay in touch regularly when nurses are working long and tiring shifts.
The best way to avoid this is to build a schedule with your loved ones back home, where you call or video chat at pre-decided times. This way, both parties are able to plan their days and be free at the same time, making sure that there are no missed calls or ignored texts.
You can even make schedules around other activities, such as a virtual viewing party or online multiplayer game that you play together.
Mingle with your co-workers
As short-term employees, it is quite possible for travel nurses to feel like an outsider at their workplace. So, it is important for you to go out of your way to mingle with your co-workers.
Having friends also means that you have a sympathetic shoulder to cry on when it gets too tough, which makes all the difference.
Explore your new home
The best part of being a travel nurse is, of course, the travel. However, being bogged down by work stress can often make one forget about the biggest positives of being a travel nurse.
It is important to make time to explore local sites, understand the area’s culture, and participate in local special occasions.
Find a safe space
Being in new surroundings all the time can get overwhelming and lead to anxiety. One good way to prevent this from happening is to find a local place where you make your go-to spot.
It could be a café, a park, or even just one particular grocery store. Regularly visiting this same spot will develop a sense of familiarity and you can simply go to this spot whenever you need to regain some calm.
Have a Hobby
Last but not the least, it is extremely important that you have a life outside of your nursing work. Otherwise, you will end up taking work problems home and have nothing to distract yourself with on the sad days.
So, make sure you pick up a hobby before your next assignment. Or, you could even try your hand at learning something specific to your new home. For example, you can make a pledge to try to learn the local dishes of every place you are assigned to.
Ultimately, different things work for different people, so choose whatever way suits your needs. However, remember to always practice self-care and be mindful of your emotions, so you can stop a spiral into sadness as soon as it begins.