There are many benefits to being a healthcare travel professional. You can decide where you work, how often, and in many cases, for how much. And then there’s the excitement of experiencing new things in many different regions around the country.
But much as you may love your career, there’s an upside and a downside to being a traveler. And one downside is there may be times when you’re alone in a strange town, without friends or family close by. In fact, research has shown that nurses are especially susceptible to these mental health issues, which can cause depression and sadness – especially during the holidays.
The good news is there are several ways to stay mentally strong when alone on assignment. Here are a few of them to consider:
Stay Physically Fit
Find a gym in your new area that offers classes. You have a better chance of meeting people by joining a class than just by going to the gym. Ask your coworkers for tips on gyms in the area – or simply go online (Yelp is a great resource) and check out what’s available. Many gyms offer classes more than once a week so you can fit them into your work schedule!
Stay in Touch Virtually
With today’s technology, there’s really no reason you can’t stay in touch with loved ones while on assignment. Cell phones allow us to make video calls. And if you’d like to chat on a bigger screen such as your laptop, using Zoom or Skype work well. While it may not be the same as seeing them in person, it’ll definitely help you feel closer and avoid traveler loneliness.
Meet Other Healthcare Travelers
This is a great way to curb your loneliness while making friends! What better people to connect with than those who know exactly what you are going through? There are many groups on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter dedicated to certain cities for travel nurses and other healthcare travel professionals. One way to choose the best healthcare traveler social media accounts is to ask your colleagues for their recommendations.
Get a Pet
If it’s allowed where you’re staying, pets can provide love and companionship no matter where you go. You won’t feel quite so alone having them with you in your new “home.” Coming back to an empty house can make the loneliness worse but having a pet there can make a huge difference. And if you decide on getting a dog, a daily walk can help to clear your mind and get you outside.
Talk to a Professional
Though they mean well, family and friends may not completely understand what you’re experiencing as a traveler in today’s environment. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic added to the sometimes challenging field of travel healthcare, you may find that help from a professional counselor or therapist is needed. He or she can provide you with coping strategies, an outlet for your fears and worries, and a safe, nonjudgmental space to talk through your struggles. If you can’t make it to a therapist’s office, many are currently offering virtual, confidential sessions.
At Focus Staff, we understand the ins and outs of traveling healthcare professionals during these challenging times and have access to a wide variety of excellent professional opportunities. To learn more, contact us today.