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Avoid Stress and Burnout during Traveling with These 5 Tips

January 8, 2015

When working as a travel nurse, there might be days that you leave work so tired that all you want to do is grab a quick bite to eat and hit the hay. After several months of a particularly demanding schedule, you risk becoming consistently stressed and developing signs of burnout.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are 5 tips to help you rediscover your energy and passion for nursing.

1. Exercise on a regular basis: Although it may seem counterintuitive, exercising when you feel tired helps to give you more energy. The physical activity will help you sleep better, and it provides a chance for you to take a mental break. Aim for 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity, like yoga, walking, jogging, swimming, or taking a spinning class.

2. Make meaningful connections: Friendships help provide an outlet for stress, but it can be tough to connect with people on a travel nursing assignment. Try to schedule time to eat a meal with a coworker, find a local group with common interests, or video chat with friends and family back home.

3. Eat a healthy diet: The food you use to fuel your body has a significant effect on your mood. Fast food is tempting when you are away from home, but it doesn’t provide all the nutrients you need to look and feel your best. Instead, stock your fridge (or mini fridge) with healthy choices. Easy ideas include Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, hummus, and salads with meat, beans, and cheese.

4. Sleep at least 7 hours per night (or day): Make it a priority to get high-quality sleep every day. This will allow your body and mind to rest and recharge. Fall asleep easier by spending at least a half hour unwinding before bed with a quiet activity.

5. Take time off between travel nursing assignments: One of the perks of travel nursing is that you have the flexibility to make your own schedule. You are earning so much while you work that you should be able to afford to take a break and spend some time at home with friends or family. If you want, you could even go on a real vacation to the beach, mountains, or on a cruise.

Take time every day to ask yourself how you are doing and be attentive to whether you may be nearing burnout. If you take care of yourself, you will be much happier and healthier overall. Plus, you will be better able to attend to the needs of your patients and make a real difference in their lives.

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