Traveling with Freedom gives you the opportunity to have new experiences all over the country. You can interact with people of different backgrounds, try unique foods, tour iconic places you’ve always dreamed of seeing and so much more. This is why being a travel nurse is so desirable! But, anyone that has had an assignment or two will know -- despite the perks, traveling is not as glamorous as it looks. After you get adjusted to your new home away from home and see every sight on your checklist, the loneliness begins to set in. When your loved ones are not by your side, the reality of being away for an extended period of time comes to the forefront of your thoughts as soon as your shift ends. At Freedom Healthcare Staffing, we recognize this and have compiled a list of resources, tips and benefits so you can alleviate the loneliness of traveling.
Take Control of Your Thoughts
When the loneliness of traveling takes over, remember your loved ones are still out there. And, were it not for the thousands of miles separating you from them, those people would likely be by your side. The predicament with distance is that it makes you feel like your loved ones are gone. Remember, distance does not take away from their love. It’s hard to think about this logically because, in most cases, loneliness is the overpowering emotion. Being alone is physical. You are physically away from the people you want to be with. The tough part, though, is feeling lonely is an emotion. This is an emotional response to a situation that is physical. So, what can you do? Tend to your basic needs. When you ignore your basic needs, they begin to snowball and turn into something bigger. Think about a time where you felt nothing but loneliness. Try to pick that moment apart and recognize each individual feeling you had. Was it an accumulation of feelings that could have been addressed? Maybe along with being alone, you were hungry, tired, your home was a mess and maybe you had laundry to do. The list could go on. Try to remove the overarching cloud of loneliness and sadness and see what can be fixed. [bctt tweet="#TravelNursing is an exciting adventure, but there is no denying loneliness can come with the job description. Find out how self-care can turn your travel assignments into a self-exploration voyage." username="freedomhcs"]
Separation from Recurring Thoughts
We can be our own worst enemy when our minds get into a cycle of tearing ourselves down. If this sounds like you, acknowledge and confront those thoughts head-on. Regardless of what your brain tries to convinces you, remind yourself that you are brave and adventurous for choosing to travel for your noble profession. Yes, you are away from the people you love, but look at what you are doing and remember why you chose to travel in the first place. Remember the excitement. If you’re feeling bad (mentally) about being alone (physically), you’re likely hard on yourself in most situations. If you can’t change it, why not embrace it? Think about when you will return home and all the thrilling stories you’ll be telling everyone.
When on assignment, make your time before and after your shift all about you. Take this opportunity to treat yourself! Go out for a fancy coffee, grab a cupcake, find a patio to do some journaling and get a massage because, well, you deserve it! Take a yoga class you would never have time for back at home. Teach yourself to see your travel assignment as a self-exploration trip. If you’re more of a homebody, have a Netflix binge. On the surface, staying indoors and watching TV for hours at a time may seem like the worst thing you could do to alleviate loneliness. Recognize that you will not be in explorer mode for your entire assignment. When feeling down, find comfort in a good binge watch. Finishing a perfectly wrapped up tv season or a feel-good movie can be the perfect mood booster. Get out of the house for dinner, but be careful. Eating out alone can be an activity that makes your loneliness feel worse. If you’re a foodie - this can be done right and is totally worth it. Try to find a restaurant where you can eat at the bar so there isn’t an empty chair at your table. Look for locations near hostels. There will be plenty of other solo travelers and you’re sure to feel welcome. Use TripAdvisor with it’s “solo” filter and find a restaurant that is perfect for a night out with yourself! [bctt tweet="Did you know that you can bring your furry friend along with you on your #TravelAssignments? Take a look at the small changes you can make to alleviate loneliness on the road!" username="freedomhcs"]
One of the best things about having a traveling medical job with Freedom Healthcare Staffing is that you get to travel with your pets! We value the bond between wo(man) and furry friend, so we’ve made it part of our promise as a staffing provider to place our traveling nurses in housing that is pet-friendly. We also have a checklist so you can be certain you have everything you need for your travel companion. There are so many benefits to having a pet with you in your placement. Simply put, pets get you outside. Activity is great for your mental health because it increases endorphins. The sun and fresh air also elevate your mood and the sun gives you an extra dose of vitamin D that will help fight off both physical and mental conditions. But, it goes deeper than that. A large study interviewed people living with conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or PTSD and found caring for a pet offers a deep sense of “ontological security” - that is, the feeling of stability, continuity and meaning in one’s life. If loneliness sets in during your next travel assignment, above all else, try to not dwell on the negative aspects of your travels. Indulge yourself, explore the city, try new foods and try to think in vacation mode during your downtime. Making an effort to see each assignment as an adventure and focusing on your needs will make you your best self for your patients and, of course, yourself!