Make Time for Family and Friends While on Assignment
Every person needs a support system — a group of people they can rely on in both good times and bad. Nurses especially need to have friends and family they can turn to when they need an ear to listen or just to enjoy the connection that comes with human interaction. For travel nurses, this can be more difficult to maintain, since you’re always on the move. Nevertheless, it’s vital to find reasons and opportunities to maintain your social circle, especially while you’re on assignment and distant from the people you care about.
Long-distance relationships are challenging but worth it
It’s a fact of life that people need people. Even if you’re someone who is more independent, you still need someone in your corner every once in a while. After a hard day, it’s a comfort to know you have someone you can talk to.
Sadly, travel nursing turns almost every personal connection you have into a long-distance relationship. Working back-to-back assignments away from home can take a toll on your relationships, whether familial, friendly, or romantic. Many travel nurses struggle with this and begin to feel isolated as a result. Combined with the stress of consistent travel and a nursing career, losing the connection to your support network can cause huge emotional strain.
There’s a reason long-distance relationships get a bad rep. It’s much harder to stay present in someone’s life when you’re not around to meet for coffee or celebrate together on the important days. It takes more time, effort, and coordination to connect with loved ones who live in a different city or time zone than you.
Despite the challenges, it’s important for both you and your distant loved ones to stay present. Putting effort into your long-distance relationships provides you with emotional support when you need it and lets your family members and friends know how important they are to you, too.
Tips for maintaining long-distance relationships on assignment
Making a long-distance relationship work isn’t always as challenging as it may seem. There are many ways you can maintain those connections to the people you love without adding more stress to your plate. While you can always send a check-in text here and there, you should also incorporate a few more meaningful tactics for connection:
- Plan a digital date. Technology makes it easier than ever to share quality time with loved ones from afar. You can do many of the same things you’d do in person over the phone or computer, like watching a movie, playing games, and chatting over dinner or coffee. Schedule a time and day for your “date” and plan to be present with each other online.
- Write like pen pals. There’s something endearing and personal about receiving a hand-written letter from a loved one, but even a lengthy email message can feel more intimate than a text message. Share your physical address or your email with loved ones and swap messages like pen pals while you’re away. (Just make sure to update them when you move!)
- Plan get-togethers between assignments. Things can get hectic between assignments, but it’s important to use some of this time to catch up with people back home. Plan ahead with your family or friends to arrange get-togethers before you head out again, whether that’s a dinner date or a mini vacation. Getting it on the calendar early helps you plan for it later.
Putting energy into your relationships while on assignment keeps your loved ones close and helps you live a happier, more fulfilling life.