As a travel nurse, you are packing up your belongings after every assignment ends. Many times, these assignments are thousands of miles away from your family and friends. So, how do you handle being that far away from those you love, in a town you aren’t familiar with? Loneliness can be a real fear for travel nurses, but it doesn’t have to be.
Avoiding travel nursing loneliness is possible! There are many options to keep your time occupied while on assignment, aside from working. We have put together a list of things you can do to handle the loneliness you may feel while away from your family and friends.
Get a pet:
Pets can provide you 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 home can make the loneliness worse, but by having a pet there waiting can make a huge difference. Having a pet on assignment can change the way you have to travel and look for housing. There are numerous articles on these topics on TGN website. Our Facebook network group is also a great place to look for tips and tricks on traveling and housing with pets.
Join a gym:
Find a gym in your new area that offers classes! You have a better chance of meeting people by joining a class at the gym than just by going to the gym. Yelp is a great place to search for gyms in your area, because they also give reviews just like they do for restaurants. Many gyms offer classes more than once a week so you can work around your work schedule!
With today’s technology, staying in touch with loved ones while on assignment is much easier than ever! Our cell phones now allow us to make video calls. If that won’t work for you there are numerous ways using different apps or programs like Skype. While it may not be the same as seeing them in person it will definitely help you feel closer to them and avoid travel nursing loneliness.
Explore your new temporary city. Getting out and exploring your new area is a great way to get out and you may meet some friends along the way as well. A lot of cities and business offer events to bring people together. Facebook is a great place to look for events happening around you. You can also ask your co-workers for ideas on what to do.
Many travel nurses use the Meetup app. People use Meetup to meet new people, learn new things, find support, get out of their comfort zones, and pursue their passions, together. The app has groups you can join that you are interested in, such as; Health and Wellness, Outdoors, Family, Sports and Fitness and many more. When you join a group, you will see who is hosting local events for that group. If there isn’t a group for a topic you enjoy you can always create one yourself. It is a great way to find others in the area that enjoy the same things you do.
Meet other Travel Nurses in the area:
This is a great way to curb your loneliness while making friends! We see posts on The Gypsy Nurse Facebook network group all the time looking for other travel nurses in the area. What better people to connect with than those who know exactly what you are going through? There are many groups on Facebook dedicated to certain cities for travel nurses.
Learn a new hobby:
You are on assignment usually for 13 weeks at a time, that gives you plenty of time to pick up and learn a new hobby. Learning a new hobby will help with loneliness because it keeps you busy and your mind off being away from family and friends. There are so many options to choose. Knitting, crocheting, hiking, writing, yoga and the list goes on and on.
Hiking is a great option if you can find a place in your new city. It gets you out and about and away from your home away from home. Knitting and crocheting are great because they can be done from your home and there are many tutorials on YouTube that make it easy to teach yourself. The list of new hobbies to learn are really endless, it just depends on what interests you and what you think you will enjoy.
Volunteer at an animal shelter:
Giving of your time is also a great way to curb your loneliness. What better way to give of your time than spending it with adorable animals at an animal shelter? Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers. Volunteering will get you out of the house, while you spend time with other people and animals that are so appreciative of any and all attention you can give them. While it may not be in the books for you to adopt a pet while on the road you can give love to those in the animal shelters while you are on assignment.
Loneliness is inevitable while being away from your family and friends, but it doesn’t have to be.
These are just a few ways that you can handle your loneliness while traveling for an assignment. There are many more ways. Reaching out on our network group about certain cities is also a great way to find out things to do while you are in your new city.
Our hope is that by providing these tips to ease your travel nursing loneliness it will at least get you started on finding ways to handle the loneliness and enjoy your assignments that much more!