Boo! Spooky season is basically here, and it can get a little scary in the travel nursing world. Travel nurse assignments can be more taxing than travel nurses bargain for sometimes. Luckily, travel nurses can use their downtime to rest and recharge with some self-care. There are multiple forms of self-care:
- Mental self-care: helps encourage keep you to stay sharp.
- Emotional self-care: enables you to identify and healthily express your feelings.
- Physical self-care: allows you to take care of your body.
- Social self-care: helps cultivate and nurture your relationships with friends, family, colleagues, and others.
- Spiritual self-care: helps you find inner peace and think bigger than yourself.
- Personal self-care: helps foster your interests outside of your career.
- Professional self-care: enables you to respect your work needs and achieve your professional goals.
Self-care looks different for every traveler, but it’s still essential all the same! To help prepare you for all the tricks you might see during your travel nurse contract, here are 13 ways to treat yourself!
13 Easy Self-Care Tips for Travel Nurses on Assignment
Poor-quality sleep can wreak havoc on your mental, physical, and emotional health, so it’s one of the most important self-care tips. Traveling, twelve-hour travel nursing shifts, and a combination of other things can make finding a regular sleep cycle difficult. So, when you have more time on your hands, take the extra minutes to get your Z’s in. A strong power-napping habit can also work wonders for health.
2. Indulge Your Hobbies
The great thing about hobbies is that they don’t have to be extensively time-consuming or expensive, just any activity you love. In travel nursing, you can find a new hobby you enjoy in different locations you visit. Indulging in the things you like to do outside work improves focus and creativity and provides an outlet for frustrations. Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone!
3. Care For Your Personality Type
It may sound odd at first, but everyone’s version of self-care looks different, and personality types play an active role. Introverts engage in self-care activities differently than extroverts. While a night on the town may sound like a great way to blow off some steam for some, staying inside and catching up on the shows you like is ideal for others. Focusing on your own personality and interests helps maintain your wellness.
4. Get Some Fresh Air
Long indoor travel nurse assignments can leave you craving the freedom of the great outdoors. You can try hiking, horseback riding, camping, or gardening to connect more with nature. Finding a national park close to your travel nurse destination is perfect for seeing the beauty of your environment and getting the fresh air you need.
Related post: A Walk In The Park: National Parks To Visit After Your Shift
5. Schedule A Meetup
You’re bound to form friendships with the other travel nurses and permanent staff at your facility. Strengthen those connections by getting coffee or doing something together away from work. From wine and painting nights to group motorcycle rides, there’s plenty to do in your new town to make some new buddies! You’ll be surprised by how much you have in common with others.
6. Prioritize Your Nutrition
When you’re constantly on the go, a quick snack is much more convenient than preparing a well-balanced meal. However, vending machine cuisine won’t keep you going for long as many of those snacks are full of sugar, affecting the body and brain in many ways, including weight gain, lethargy, depression, and many others. It’s important for travel nurses to make more intentional choices about their diet. A little meal prepping can go a long way!
Something as simple as packing a few healthy snacks for your shift can even make a difference—trail mix, chicken salad, veggies and dip, hard-boiled eggs, or protein shakes are a few suggestions.
7. Pamper Yourself
A warm bubble bath. A nice massage. A pedicure. A bouquet of fresh flowers. All of these are classic self-care activities for a reason! Not only do they help you relax and relieve stress, they’re great reminders that you should always put yourself first. Travel nursing assignments have amazing benefits but still require a strenuous effort. So for jobs well done, you must treat yourself accordingly!
8. Say “NO” (It’s Okay)
Have you ever said yes to things you don’t really want to do? It’s absolutely okay to turn down invitations if you’re not feeling it. Sometimes the best self-care is being alone and decompressing—you’re constantly around people during your shift. It can also help you avoid taking on more than you can handle, giving you more time for yourself when needed.
9. Take A Day Trip
There is no reason for anyone to have unfulfilled projects, especially a travel nurse. The travel nursing lifestyle allows you to earn money doing something you love and still have time for the rest of your desires. Explore your new home or nearby cities to make the most of your stay. You might find hidden gems or fall in love with new experiences you would have never seen.
10. Clear Your Calendar
The best thing for some travelers to do is nothing. In a life where everything is a blur, being still can be a good change of pace. That doesn’t mean you have to lay in bed all day, but a more controlled environment can relax the mind. Block off a day or two of your downtime to tidy up your space, redecorate to give your temporary home a new feel, or finally read that book you’ve been putting off.
Related post: Tips For Keeping Your Space Tidy During Travel Nurse Assignments
11. Find A New Way To Move Your Body
Exercise for travel nurses is super important—sorry, constantly moving during your shift doesn’t count. Just because a good workout is necessary doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Travel nursing is all about experiences, including how you move your body. Mix up your routine with a new dance class, a relaxing yoga session, or a good HIIT workout to feel the burn. You can stick to an evening walk or learn a new skill like surfboarding or rock climbing. All you need is 20 minutes.
Related post: 5 Workouts to Make You Feel Like a Travel Nurse on Top of The World
12. Practice Mindfulness
Mental health for all healthcare professionals is more critical than ever. Practicing mindfulness can help travelers deal with stress and battle compassion fatigue. Journaling is an excellent way to settle the troubles of the past, address present concerns, and provide motivation for future goals. Writing positive affirmations and gratitudes can be particularly effective as it rewires your brain to notice the positive.
13. Connect With Loved Ones
While completing a travel nurse contract, it can be lonely being away from the people you care about. Surrounding yourself with people that love and support you is necessary. Spending time with family and friends, in-person or virtual, can relieve stress and anxiety you didn’t even know was there. Schedule a special family dinner night, get together once a month with old friends, and take mini vacations with friends or family as often as possible.
As we focus on caring for others, we neglect ourselves. If you’re not taking care of yourself as a travel nurse, you put yourself and your patients at risk for harm. Nobody feels good if you don’t. Make yourself the priority so you can be there for the people who need you most.
Ready for your next travel nurse assignment? Check out our job board for the latest travel nurse jobs in the top travel nurse locations!