Nursing is a challenging profession. It is physically taxing, has long working hours, and demands a great deal of emotional energy. However, if you are a travel nurse, the stress gets doubled. A travel nurse faces additional challenges of being away from home, unpredictable schedules, packing, unpacking, etc., leading to occupational burnout.
Unfortunately, between constant traveling and nursing, they get little time for self-care. But one should realize its importance. Practicing self-care does not mean you are prioritizing yourself over your loved ones and your profession. It means being mindful of your needs so that you can treat your patients efficiently.
So take a moment from your busy schedule, appreciate the importance of self-care, and be the best version of yourself. Here we are with some easy to follow activities to deal with chronic stress and burnout:
Fix your sleeping pattern:
Make a check; when was the last time you slept for 8-9 hours straight? We bet it has been ages. Getting enough sleep seems impossible for a travel nurse, but if you want to stay sane till your next shift, you need to sleep. Stick to a proper sleeping schedule. Some people have trouble falling asleep. So such individuals can take a warm shower before bed, listen to soft music or drink chamomile tea.
Make most of the e-learning programs:
We know that it is difficult for a travel nurse to opt for continuous education. But e-learning has made our lives simpler. Several post-graduation programs are available online that are easily accessible anywhere and at all times.
Suppose you wish to cross over your master’s degree with a different specialty. In that case, you can go for a post master’s certificate. However, several post master’s certificate online programs are available for aspiring nurses looking to make the big career jump.
These master’s degrees include family nurse practitioners, pediatric nurse practitioners, women’s health nurse practitioners, etc.
Plan a vacation:
Did you know that unplugging is the best way to recharge your soul? So, there is no debating in that you don’t need a vacation. As a travel nurse, you get the opportunity to explore different exciting places. With so many exciting places on your way, stop and park your car aside.
Grab your favorite snack and check out nearby beaches or museums. Even a quick trip can relieve a lot of your stress and make you feel better.
Detox yourself Digitally:
We don’t realize it, but social media is a significant source of anxiety and stress. So it is necessary to break from all kinds of social applications sometimes. It helps you focus on yourself and your loved ones around.
You will always have a bunch of people around you waiting for your presence. Hence, lean on them and take out some time every week for your family and friends.
Take care of your physical health:
It is challenging for a travel nurses to fit in exercise in their busy schedules. But exercise not only helps you maintain your physical health but also helps with your mental well-being. You certainly don’t wish to work all bogged down and tired.
Exercise will help keep you on your toes. It will boost your mood and energy. If you are confused with the type of workout you want to do, you can do exercises after browsing YouTube. Jogging and brisk walking are also good options that you can do easily anywhere.
Take out time to decompress and relax:
Let us share a practical mini intervention of self-care in your day-to-day life. A travel nurse is always at the beck and call of others, and it is challenging to spare chunks of their time for self-care. Remember, you’re human, and you need some time to decompress.
So if you manage to squeeze out five minutes from your busy schedule, make the most of it. Sit in a comfortable chair, grab your favorite drink, close your eyes and sip it in slowly. These are your precious five minutes, so don’t waste it in checking your emails or missed calls. Just be yourself.
We, humans, are social animals. So staying at home on Sundays will make you homesick. Carve out some time and connect with your friends and family. Don’t make your entire life about your career. It would help if you enjoyed spending time with others, as it is an essential component of self-care.
You can plan family dinners or staycations at your friend’s home. Traveling to other cities gives you a great opportunity of connecting with people belonging to different social backgrounds.
Strengthen your mental health:
A nurse juggles a hectic routine of making quick judgment calls, dealing with stressful situations, and retaining complex information. However, your brain needs time to stretch and relax. It is advisable to practice mindfulness.
You can go for yoga or meditation. Keep a worry journal by your bed, and you can write about things that add up to your stress. You can also write about what activity made you feel better. Writing about gratitude rewires your brain to notice the positivity around you.
Read something funny that can uplift your mood and lower the cortisol levels in the blood.
A take-home message:
Do you know self-care is the prerequisite of all kinds of healthy relationships? So it is not something that you want to do; self-care is your need. If you don’t nurture yourself, you will compromise on your patient’s care.
Hence maintain a balance between your work life and personal life. Take small steps and make these self-care practices part of your life. Remember your life is precious, and you have to enjoy it to the fullest.