Tips for Managing Anxiety as a Travel Nurse on Assignment

By Amber Pickler

May 16, 2020



Handling Anxiety as a Travel Nurse

managing anxiety
Photo by Fernando @dearferdo on Unsplash

Anxiety. As a nurse no one wants to talk about it but it’s something most nurses carry around with them. Adding travel on top of anxiety can make it almost debilitating at times.  It can hinder your job performance as well.   According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America “Anxiety disorders are real, serious medical conditions – just as real and serious as physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes. Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States.” 

Finding ways to manage your anxiety is key in not only your job but in your life as well.  Below you will find some ways other travel nurses have found helpful for managing anxiety. 

Tips for Managing Anxiety:

Better Self Care

Taking better care of yourself can go a long way to help with anxiety. Diet can either make your anxiety better or worse. 

These foods may help to keep your anxiety at bay:

  1. Fermented Foods
  2. Cherries
  3. Kiwi
  4. Seafood
  5. Avocado
  6. Beans and Legumes
  7. Plain Greek Yogurt
  8. Whole Grains
  9. Milk
  10. Pumpkins

 Anxiety can make it more difficult to sleep. Your anxious worry about life and its problems may keep your brain from settling down, and the disruption of sleep is likely to keep you feeling more on edge the next day.  Anxiety and sleep disruption go hand in hand.  Anxiety

Change Specialties or Type of Facility

Your travel nurse specialty may be a trigger or even a cause of your anxiety.   If your anxiety is worse when you are at work or even the thought of going to work causes you to feel anxious it may be time to start looking into a new specialty.   You may even need to think about changing the type of facility you work at.  If you are working in a hospital maybe you should try a clinic.  If you work in a LTC facility maybe corrections could be for you. 

Counseling or Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most common therapy used with anxiety disorders according to Help Guide.  In this type of therapy, the person learns to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings.  They also state that “Anxiety disorders differ considerably, so therapy should be tailored to your specific symptoms and diagnosis. If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), for example, your treatment will be different from someone who needs help for anxiety attacks. The length of therapy will also depend on the type and severity of your anxiety disorder.”


Exercise has been proven to release endorphins.  Typically, these endorphins can boost your mood and energy.  It can also help to ease your anxiety.  According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America “Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.”  Exercising doesn’t have be hard or strenuous it can be a simple workout that you enjoy doing. 

Relaxation or Breathing Techniques

Many people use Yoga for relaxation.  Others find meditation relaxing and it helps with their anxiety.  There are many breathing techniques out there.  While one may work for someone, it may not for someone else.  However, the most common types are shown in the picture below. 

managing anxiety

See a Doctor

It may seem like a no-brainer. However, many people, travel nurses included avoid the doctor.  Especially when it comes to mental health.   Your doctor may prescribe you a medication to help control your anxiety.  If you have tried other techniques and they haven’t worked, medication may be your best bet.  Your anxiety may be caused by a chemical imbalance and medications can help to change the levels of certain brain chemicals.  

We hope that you found these tips for managing anxiety helpful. Every person and their anxiety is different, therefore, the techniques that one person uses may not work for someone else. It is important to find what works for you. If you suffer from anxiety and have found ways that help you and feel they could help others please comment them below.

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