Mentally Healthy on the Road as a Travel Nurse: Health Tips

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By Luke Smith

May 30, 2021



Staying Physically and Mentally Healthy While Away from Home

Staying physically and mentally healthy as a travel nurse is vital. There are over 3.8 million nurses in the U.S., making it the leading occupation in the healthcare industry. Of those millions, over 25,000 are travel nurses. As you already know, there are plenty of benefits to being a travel nurse, including:

  • Consistent employment opportunities
  • A higher salary (on average)
  • Increased demand around the globe

Travel nurses have always been important when treating people and meeting the needs of the sick and injured across the globe. In light of the recent coronavirus pandemic, travel nurses are more important than ever. The virus has affected more than two million people around the globe and has contributed to nearly 100,000 deaths so far. Qualified healthcare professionals are not only needed here in the U.S. but all over the world to help combat COVID-19.

Of course, that kind of demand can quickly take a toll on you, especially if you’re away from the comfort of your own home. So what can you do to stay physically and mentally healthy while you’re traveling, so you can continue to help others?

Tips for staying physically and mentally healthy:

Find Ways to Decompress

Stress can be a big problem for anyone in the healthcare industry. When you have people’s lives in your hands, and you’re working long shifts, stress is expected. Unfortunately, too much of it can contribute to health issues like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity

Finding relaxing activities you can do from anywhere in the world can help to reduce stress and keep you healthy. These activities are different for everyone depending on what helps you to feel relaxed. Still, some effective options include yoga, going to see a concert, hiking, or running out in nature.

Exercise has many benefits for both your physical and mental health. Let’s touch more on what staying active can do for you.

Eating Right, Staying Active, and Getting Enough Rest

As a nurse, you already know the importance of an active lifestyle. Getting enough exercise, especially by doing so outside, can help you to avoid burnout from your job. That’s critical in these uncertain times, so you can continue to help others without feeling worn down. Exercising outside can boost your mood, give you more energy, and even help you to feel more at peace.

In addition to staying active, eating right while you’re traveling can make a big difference in how you feel. While it can be tempting to reach for comfort foods that aren’t necessarily good for you, sticking to a healthy diet will keep your energy levels up and will help to improve your mood. It’s not impossible to eat right on the road. If you’re having a hard time sticking to a healthy eating plan, try the following tips:

1. Create a routine that’s easy for you to follow.

2. Meal prep as much as possible so you’re not tempted by “grab and go” options.

3. Have plenty of healthy snacks on hand.

4. Download a food-tracker app to hold yourself accountable.

Finally, and this probably goes without saying, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Travel nurses work long shifts and are on their feet much of the time. Your body needs adequate rest to repair itself — physically and mentally. If you have a hard time sleeping while you’re away from home, try creating a specific nighttime routine for yourself that can help you to feel comfortable wherever you are. Trying to sleep at the same time each night and waking up at the same time in the morning.

Taking Time to Practice Self-Care

The term “self-care” gets tossed around a lot these days, but it’s more than just treating yourself to a day at the spa. Self-care for travel nurses includes everything we’ve already touched on in this article, as well as focusing on your emotional health. Being away from home isn’t always easy, so you can focus on your emotional self-care by staying in touch with friends and family, keeping as organized as possible, and changing your mindset if you’re looking at your traveling opportunities in a negative light.

Another way to make self-care a priority while you’re traveling is to practice mindfulness. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of your job. So, take a few minutes each day to ‘meditate’ and focus on being present. It can make a big difference in how you feel throughout the day.

When you’re traveling across the world and helping those in need, it can be far too easy to ignore your own physical and mental health. But, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Make your health a priority, so you can continue to care for others.

We hope you found these tips for staying physically and mentally healthy while away from home helpful. Do you have any tips you have found helpful for staying physically and mentally healthy while away from home? Comment them below.

If you are a new travel nurse or looking into becoming a travel nurse:

Travel Nurse Guide: Step-by-Step (now offered in a PDF Downloadable version!)

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