Managing Anxiety: Best Strategies for Travel Nurses
Anxiety impacts us all — some worse than others. It’s often heightened in unfamiliar situations, such as traveling or starting a new job. Unfortunately for travel nurses, they face a high-anxiety situation every 13 weeks. For many, the prospect of getting comfortable at one assignment just in time to leave for another might make travel nursing seem daunting. But for those who learn to manage their anxiety, travel nursing can be a rewarding career choice.
One of the best ways to manage anxiety while traveling is to focus on self-care. Prioritizing physical, emotional, and mental health means paying attention to your personal well-being and taking steps to nurture it. Some self-care practices to help travel nurses include:
- Regular exercise and physical activity to release endorphins (feel-good hormones)
- Healthy eating habits to stabilize moods and boost energy levels
- Sufficient rest and sleep to reduce anxiety and improve mental health
- Relaxing hobbies or activities to promote relaxation and stress reduction
- Seeking emotional support from friends and family to help you decompress
Develop coping strategies
While self-care practices are helpful, they’re not always applicable in the moment you begin to feel anxious. Coping strategies are a set of skills and techniques to actively manage stress and anxiety. They include the following:
- Deep breathing exercises, known as diaphragmatic breathing, to help you relax
- Meditation and guided imagery to calm the mind and nervous system, reducing anxiety
- Progressive muscle relaxation to decrease muscle tension and promote relaxation
- Journaling and expressive writing to provide clarity and help you process anxiety
- Listening to calming music to reduce feelings of anxiety in the moment
Seek professional support and resources
Being a travel nurse can be both exciting and overwhelming. New places, new people, and new experiences can contribute to a mass of emotions that can be difficult to handle alone. Seeking professional support and resources — such as mental health specialists, therapy, counseling, and support groups — can make all the difference. These resources offer a safe space to discuss your feelings and develop coping strategies for any challenges that arise during your travels.
Many online resources and apps are designed to assist with anxiety management, making it easier to manage your mental health on the go. Don’t be afraid to reach out to employee assistance programs or healthcare organizations for support. They are there to help you through any difficulties you may face. Above all, don’t hesitate to seek the support you need.
Anxiety doesn’t need to be a hindrance
Traveling with anxiety as a nurse can present unique challenges, but it’s possible to find a sense of balance and calm amidst the demanding nature of this profession. By prioritizing self-care, developing coping strategies, and seeking professional support, travel nurses can effectively manage their anxiety and continue to provide compassionate care.
Remember, taking care of your mental well-being isn’t just crucial for personal happiness and fulfillment. It’s also essential for delivering high-quality healthcare.