Self-care Tips For The Busy Travel Nurse
This year, the demand for travel nurses is rising. So it makes it an opportune time to seek better work compensation and conditions. Yet even with the best benefits and wages, being a travel nurse is still a demanding job. It is why self-care in this line of work is so important. In the process of becoming a nurse, your training program teaches you to be kind and compassionate to patients. Such training helps you empathize with the patient and, together, help them manage their anxieties so they can work better with the advised treatment plans.
However, this kind of mental labor can be taxing on you, too. This is why being kind and compassionate to yourself is just as important—not just for the benefit of your patients, but for your own wellbeing, as well.
To be kinder to yourself, here are self-care tips for busy travel nurses that can help you de-stress:
1. Maintain hormonal balance by eating mindfully
It’s easy to miss your basic meals when you’re busy traveling and delivering care to patients. However, poor diet and eating habits can result in hormonal imbalance. In turn, this can cause digestive and metabolic problems. As such, make sure to eat at least three meals a day with the help of apps like Meal Reminders, EatWise, and Eating Time—all of which notify you when it’s time to eat. When it comes to making healthier food choices, try meal preparation on your day off. You’ll have more control over the nutrients of your meals. Stick to nutritious ingredients that can be used for various recipes to further save you time. For example, foods like chickpeas can be eaten as part of a side dish, in a salad, or as a hummus dip.
2. Gain more energy by resetting your circadian rhythm
Following a healthy circadian rhythm, like regularly sleeping at night and staying awake during the day, can give you more energy to travel and multi-task at work. As we explained in our post on creating more energy, resetting your circadian rhythm induces healthy cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone release. These hormones are vital for helping your body produce energy. If your shifts have disrupted your circadian rhythm, one way to reset it is to force yourself to stand in the sunlight during the day. By doing so, your body will register daytime as a period for wakefulness. In turn, you would be tired enough for bed come nighttime. If your job does not permit you to sleep at night, then opt for several spread-out power naps, instead.
3. Create a life outside of work by engaging in hobbies
Even if being a nurse is your passion, engaging with other activities–such as knitting, cooking, painting, or hiking—can be vital to practicing self-care during your off-duty periods. This is because hobbies relieve stress. Though they still engage your mind and body, it’s something you choose to do. Unlike when you’re at work, no one is pressuring you to accomplish a task within a set amount of time—and so indulging in your hobbies will be more enjoyable for you.
4. Preserve body fluid levels by hydrating regularly
If you don’t have time for other tips on this list, constant hydration is one of the best and simplest ways to stay healthy. After all, water is involved in several bodily functions, like distributing nutrients to cells and preserving organ function. However, Nurse Alice Benjamin, cardiac clinical nurse specialist with a career spanning over two decades, notes that simply drinking a lot during your breaks won’t cut it. Instead, she advises nurses to schedule dedicated hydration breaks—just as nurses would time patients’ medicine—to keep drinking throughout the day.
Delivering patient care to various localities is meaningful but demanding work. With how important a travel nurse’s wellbeing is to ensure the quality of such care, it is imperative that even the busiest of travel nurses adopt self-care habits to keep themselves healthy and energized for work.
Written By: Ruby Jade