Travel nurses have fun, rewarding, but often tough jobs. You might be on the road a lot to get to your assignments, may work long hours, and may deal with stressful situations while providing excellent care to your patients. That’s why self-care is so important! Self-care can help you in your personal and professional life and is a simple way to improve your health and well-being. Let’s talk about self-care and some tips to help you start practicing self-care in your everyday life.
Why is Self-Care Important for Travel Nurses?
Before we get into why it’s important for travel nursing professionals to take part in self-care, let’s define what self-care is. Many people associate the word “self-care” with things like long baths or spa days. Now, these can absolutely be part of your personal self-care routines, but self-care is anything you do to help preserve or improve your overall health and well-being.
It’s no surprise that travel nurses have a lot of responsibility. It can be draining at times mentally, physically, and emotionally. Self-care helps counteract these effects to help you feel happy, healthy, and capable. It can help reduce stress and may even reduce the risk of burnout that affects your professional and personal life. Practicing self-care can help reduce stress, increase your physical health, and even boost work performance. Therefore, it’s important for nurses to practice self-care.
However, it’s common for nurses to neglect self-care. Many people get so focused on caring for others that they forget to care for themselves, especially during these trying times dealing with COVID-19. Nevertheless, you need to think about yourself and how to properly care for your overall well-being. Ignoring your own self-care often means you’re not in top-shape to provide the best care you can to your patients. It’s like when you fly on an airplane and they tell you to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. You need to take care of yourself to take care of other people! We know it can be hard sometimes, but consider how you can prioritize self-care in your life. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. We have some tips to help.
Types of Self-Care
There are many different types of self-care that you may need to focus on as a traveling nurse. After all, humans are pretty complex, so it makes sense that there are different areas of your well-being that need some TLC.
Some types of self-care include:
- Mental self-care: Mental self-care helps encourage intellect and challenge your brain to keep you sharp.
- Emotional self-care: Emotional self-care helps you identify and express your feelings in a healthy way.
- Physical self-care: Physical self-care helps you take care of your body and physical health.
- Social self-care: Social self-care is cultivating and nurturing your relationships with friends, family, colleagues, and others.
- Spiritual self-care: Spiritual self-care helps you find inner peace and think bigger than yourself. This type of self-care doesn’t have to be religious, but it may be for some.
- Personal self-care: Personal self care is fostering your interests outside of your career and usually involves doing things you enjoy and find fun.
- Professional self-care: Professional self care helps you respect your needs at work and achieve your professional goals.
Take some time to consider if you are practicing self-care in each of these areas and where you might need to focus more of your attention on. Self-care is different for everyone, so it may look different for you compared to your friends or other travel nurses.
Self-Care Tips Travel Nurses Can Use
There are many self-care tips out there that can help travel nurses. Self-care is completely personal, so try to think about things that make you feel relaxed, happy, and healthy. However, we do have a few tips to get you started as you think about how you can start caring for yourself even better:
Schedule Self-Care Activities
One thing many travel nurses often say is that they don’t have time for self-care. Between long-hours, unpredictable schedules, and stressful days, it can seem pretty hard to find extra time to practice self-care. Scheduling time specifically for self-care can make a big difference for many travel nurses. We recommend setting aside some time and sticking with it to improve your self-care routines.
Daily Self-Care for Travel Nurses
Practicing self-care every day can help you lower stress and feel more positive. Daily self-care can be something small, like taking ten minutes to drink a cup of coffee or tea in the morning before your shift, or taking a walk around the block after dinner to decompress. Adding just a few minutes of self-care time into your daily routine can make a big impact. So, try adding just a little time for something small each day. Another type of daily self-care you can practice is to take a few seconds to breathe deeply when you’re feeling stressed, which is something you can do even when you’re on the clock.
Weekly Self-Care Activities
In addition to daily self-care, schedule some time each week for something a little bigger. This still doesn’t need to take a lot of time out of your schedule. It might be something as simple as trying a new exercise class or sitting down and listening to a new podcast episode while relaxing.
Monthly Self-Care for Travel Nurses
Once a month, shoot for a bigger and longer self-care activity. This might look like scheduling a spa day, seeing a movie, or participating in a book club. Scheduling extra time once a month can help you practice self-care for those activities that take more time than your daily and weekly activities.
Learn to Say “No” When You Need To
Have you ever found yourself saying “yes” to things that you don’t have time for or don’t want to do? Most of us have run into this. If you’re already feeling drained or would rather do something more enjoyable, it’s absolutely okay to turn down an invite to a night out or a request to participate in a community event. In fact, learning to say “no” when you need to can be a form of self-care for many people. It can help you avoid taking on more than you can handle and allow you to take more time for yourself when you need to.
Prioritize Nutrition, Sleep, and Exercise
Another important part of self-care is taking care of your physical health. Eating a nutritious, balanced diet, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep are all important parts of self-care. Many travel nurses often neglect this aspect of self-care. It’s so easy to forgo a healthy meal for some junk food from a vending machine, or to sacrifice some sleep so you can run errands. Unfortunately, if these are frequent occurrences, they can wreak havoc on your mental, emotional, and physical health. Prioritize these healthy habits as part of your self-care routines.
Travel Nursing Professionals Need to Spend Time with Loved Ones
Travel nurses are often away from home, which can be a great adventure, but might also leave you feeling a little lonely. That’s why it’s important to schedule time to spend with your loved ones. Whether through phone calls, video calls, or in-person, take time to talk to your friends, family, and colleagues. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, you can try watching a movie or TV show together or having dinner together using video calls. Whatever you choose to do, spending time with people you care about is a great self-care activity.
Surround Yourself with Supportive People
If you’ve ever spent a lot of time with a Negative Nancy, you know how draining it can be. Instead, try to surround yourself with people who support you and your dreams as a form of self-care. Make friends with other travel nursing professionals, spend time with family and friends who love you and are happy you’re pursuing your dreams, and reach out to groups that help you keep a positive attitude. It’s easy to underestimate how important a good support network is.
As a traveling nurse, it’s also important to choose a travel nurse agency that cares for you with recruiters that take time to listen and understand your needs. Recruiters are your number one resource for finding your next assignment and talking about your career goals. Our recruiters offer guidance and support day and night to help you achieve your dreams.
Join the AHS NurseStat Family of Travel Nurses
If you’re ready to make a difference daily and pursue your dream job, our team at AHS NurseStat is here to help. We are a travel nurse agency that cares about you. We get to know you and your goals and help match you with opportunities that suit you. Our recruiters go above and beyond to help travel nurses, whether you’re just getting started traveling or are an old pro. Find your next travel nursing job with our innovative job board or talk to a recruiter today to get started.