Travel nursing is a challenging profession, and that aspect is what makes this career so rewarding. Caring for various patients, working with a team, learning new skills and techniques, and exploring different locations is what you do every 13 weeks. However, the assignments can start to take a physical and mental toll on you.
Due to the resurgences of Covid-19 cases packed on top of everyday healthcare professional pressures, frontline workers have experienced heightened stress and fatigue caring for patients all over the United States, including travel nurses. As much as you love your career, nurses are at a higher risk for mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. That’s why it’s vital to know when you need to take a break and recuperate.
Just like you are essential to the people you take care of, you have to be there to take care of yourself as well. When you are not at your best, the quality of care you provide to your patients won’t be either. Fortunately, you can learn and implement a few powerful strategies to prioritize your mental health.
Take A Media Break
While it is important to stay informed, too much time spent seeing headlines and reading news articles can be damaging to your peace of mind. Considering all that has happened in recent months, time devoted to news and social media platforms can increase anxiety and sadness. People who regularly watch the news are at risk of worrying more than focusing on their tasks.
Remember that it’s not necessarily harmful to stay informed, but moderation is key.
Your body and mind are closely linked, so when your body feels better, your mind will too. When your muscles become too tense, especially in your neck, face, and shoulders, it can lead to discomfort and painful headaches. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), even just five minutes of aerobic exercise can help lower cortisol, one of the primary hormones responsible for elevated stress levels in the body.
Spending some time outside can clear your mind as well. A short walk outside can help center and calm your mind and body, leaving you refreshed and renewed. In addition to relaxing your muscles and calming your mind, physical activity can also help boost your mood, improve your memory, and make you feel more energetic throughout the day.
Talk It Out
With the ongoing pandemic adding to the challenges of your field, your immediate support group might not fully grasp what you’re experiencing, and that’s understandable. You may find that help from a professional counselor or therapist is needed. It might be hard for a travel nurse to see a counselor or therapist to talk to regularly while on assignment, so take advantage of a teletherapy app such as:
Talking to someone about what you’re experiencing can tremendously aid your mental health.
While travel nursing may sometimes feel challenging, it’s essential to understand that you are not alone, and help is available and accessible through multiple channels. When you prioritize yourself and your mental health, you’ll find that becoming a travel nurse can be a very rewarding career choice.