5 Ways to Overcome Travel Anxiety and Pursue Your Travel Nursing Dream
Travel anxiety is common, even among individuals who don’t normally battle anxiety. The idea of exploring the world is exciting, but touching down in an unfamiliar place and calling it home for 13 weeks is enough to deter any nurse from making the leap to travel nursing. If you dream of becoming a travel nurse — but struggle with travel anxiety — your first step to achieving your dream is overcoming your fear. And there are a few tried-and-true ways to give you the push you need.
Why does travel unnerve us?
Travel induces anxiety because it takes your comfortable routine and flips it on its head. Instead of a familiar city you know your way around, you’re somewhere new with no bearings and limited support. Fear of something going wrong is scarier in this scenario, leading to sweaty palms when you plan a trip. The effect is magnified when you combine travel with the long-term displacement that comes with a travel nursing gig.
Tips for overcoming travel anxiety
But travel anxiety doesn’t have to consume you. Address and overcome your anxiety, so you can conquer fear and enjoy new experiences. Follow these five tips to overcome your travel anxiety:
- Identify triggers. Certain things trigger anxiety more than others. You might feel more anxious on an airplane than you would in a car. Anxiety may spike after a cup of coffee. Learning your specific triggers lets you confront and combat them when you travel. If flying raises fears, opt for a road trip instead, or skip the morning coffee to keep the jitters at bay.
- Prepare for the “what ifs.” People with travel anxiety are familiar with the countless stream of “what ifs” that pop up during travel planning. What if I get lost? What if I get sick? Plan for these scenarios to ease your fears. It helps to have solutions ready. You might keep a paper map and research the nearest hospital and urgent care facility.
- Use comforting distractions. You probably have a hobby or interest that takes your mind off stressful situations. Bring your favorite distractions with you when you travel! Pack a good book or movie, download episodes of your favorite podcast, or buy some puzzle books for the trip.
- Practice mindfulness. Knowing how to calm yourself in stressful situations is key to overcoming all types of anxiety. Meditation and mindfulness are reliable tools for centering your thoughts and slowing your breathing when you feel anxious.
- Rely on your support systems. You aren’t alone. Even when you travel, your support system is just a phone call or video chat away. Your friends and family can offer the help and encouragement you need in times of stress.
Strange surroundings and breaks in routine can make anyone anxious, but the more you travel, the easier it gets to prepare and adapt on the go. After a few assignments, you’ll get used to a new routine, and the experience will feel less unpredictable. In travel nursing, every job is a new adventure in a new place, but practice will empower you to leave your fears behind and focus on what lies ahead.