Stress is inherent in any work, and travel nurses are not exempted from it. As a nurse, you are exposed to physical exhaustion, endless documentation, and more. Add to that the fact that you are miles away from your family and friends. Working as a nurse is inherently stressful. And working abroad is like a double whammy. But being in a different place also provides you a unique opportunity to manage and relieve stress. That said, we have listed down five actionable tips travel nurses can do to combat stress:
Get as Much Sleep as Possible
It goes without saying that sleep allows you to refresh your mind and body. It helps rejuvenate our immune and cardiovascular systems. Sleep also improves our cognitive and mental faculties. This explains why sleep deprivation leads to a lack of focus, attention, and vigilance ‒ vital when you are working as a nurse. Hence, you must get the recommended 7 – 9 hours of sleep. However, travel nurses are prone to sleep deprivation. That’s because most travel nurses work in institutions where there is a lack of healthcare providers. This means long and excruciating work shifts. That said, we suggest getting as sleep as you can. Catch up on sleep during your off days and take a quick nap during your break time if possible.
Aside from long work hours, your job can also be hectic. Thus, it is best to practice mindfulness in times like these. Doing so can be as simple as knowing when to stop and take deep breaths. This only takes a few minutes and prevents you from being overwhelmed. Another practice you would want to incorporate is meditation. Once you are off your shift and ready for bed, you can listen to this guided sleep meditation from Mindful.org. This sleep meditation allows you to ease yourself to sleep by helping you settle your mind. You can also do a warm shower, as it can help your body muscles relax. As a result, it relieves your body’s tension, allowing you to have better sleep quality.
Get Your Body Moving
If you are the active kind, we encourage you to carve a time in your day to exercise. This could in many forms like calisthenics, yoga, or dancing. It is also a great time to unplug. Instead of scrolling your Facebook feed endlessly or reclining on your couch, you might as well go out and exercise. No gym near where you are residing? No problem! Exercising does not have to be constrained within the four walls of the gym. You can work out in your home, ride a bike, or take a hike if your location permits it. What’s important is that you do the things that can get your body moving.
Take Time Off Between Assignments
Depending on your recruiter, your assignment can range from a month to a year. After every deployment, you can go home and spend time with your family for a week or two. We suggest that you take advantage of these breaks before moving on to your next assignment. Doing so not only allows you to relax and be with your loved ones. It also gives you a sense of familiarity that signals safety. This explains why it feels good to sleep in your bed after a vacation.
Have a Support System
Having a support system to help you manage stress is often overlooked. After all, working as a travel nurse can expose you to new and unfamiliar territory. As such, it is best to surround yourself with people who can be your excellent sounding board. These can be your fellow travel nurses, your employer and recruiter, and your family and friends. That said, you should also take the time to reach out and spend time with people you trust. That way, you have someone to vent to or help you ease your mind off of work.
It is best to know that there is no stress-free work. Hence, it is something that you should anticipate should you decide to work as a travel nurse. That said, it can help that you know what you can do and who you can reach out to when you are stressed. Doing so allows you to manage stress and ensures that you are in peak condition whenever you tend your patients.
We hope you found these tips to help travel nurses relax helpful. Have you found ways to help you relax while you are on assignment? Comment them below.