As a travel nurse, you’re expected to stay away from home for 13 weeks at a time. While this is an incredible adventure, allowing you to see the country in ways visitors never are able to experience, there may be days when you experience a little bit of homesickness. Traveling has energized the minds of thousands of dedicated nurses who are learning to strike a balance between taking a risk and staying safe, but it is also important to find ways to overcome those twinges of homesickness that may become overwhelming when they’re allowed to fester.
Traveling allows you the opportunity to grow your professional career and enjoy greater compensation. But, in some cases, you may be surprised by the nostalgia or general sadness you feel living in a strange city. Missing family and friends is just part of traveling for a long period of time. The excitement of a new assignment will initially distract you, but once you settle into a normal schedule, feelings of homesickness may sneak up. It’s not always home that you’re longing for; sometimes it is something that’s familiar, stable or comfortable.
One way to offset this is to choose a destination where you’ve always wanted to travel. Try and maintain a positive mindset as you look at the new location and remember it’s one place you get to check off your bucket list. Before arriving, make a list of places you’d like to see and things you’d like to do. This will help to keep you busy as you’re beginning to make new friends in your job. While it’s sometimes hard to break the ice, take the first step and invite a coworker to dinner or out for a happy hour. Doing things outside of work helps to foster new friendships and reduce your feelings of loneliness. Take the time to keep up your routines and traditions that you do at home. Do you work out every day? Go to church every Sunday? Keep these routines in place to help create a sense of continuity.
Encourage your friends and family to visit while you’re on assignment. Although you won’t have long periods of time to take off to be with them, a shared experience helps maintain your long-distance relationships and having someone at home waiting for you for a couple of days helps reduce the loneliness. When you travel, remember to bring photos or pieces of jewelry that mean a lot to you and help remind you of family. Stay connected with your loved ones through social media. Post pictures of what you’ve been doing and ask them to do the same.
If you have a hobby you enjoy, look for groups in your new location. If you enjoy playing backgammon, going hiking or stamp collecting, look for groups of individuals who enjoy the same thing. Sensory experiences are linked to memories, so a specific smell, music or photos will help you to feel rooted and comfortable in your new surroundings. While social media is a wonderful way to stay connected each day, telephone calls and texting are convenient and give you the opportunity to hear the voices of the people you love. Video calling friends in real time is another step in the right direction, but it’s likely making new friends in your new environment that will help to fill the void while you’re experiencing a whole new level of adventure.
The professional recruiters at Amare Medical Staffing are adept and experienced at helping you choose a new assignment and stay grounded while you’re traveling and enjoying new experiences. Call us today so we can help you pick your next travel destination and grow your professional experience – all at the same time!