Life as a travel nurse is both exhilarating and challenging. When you’re constantly moving to a new destination every few months, it can be all too easy to slip into a pattern of indulgence and overlook your normal health and wellness practices. Here are five tips to stay healthy as a travel nurse.
Start every day with a glass of water
An easy habit to incorporate into your routine is to start each day with a glass of water and make an effort to continue drinking it throughout the day. Although your favorite latte from Starbucks may be tasty, nothing has the benefits a simple glass of water will. Staying hydrated will not only keep you energized, but it will also help you stay focused throughout the day.
Exercise is one of the most important ways to keep your body healthy. Find a local gym to join and ask about their short-term membership options. If the gym isn’t your thing, you can still find alternative ways to stay active.
Maybe you’re on assignment in Florida and can take up swimming or jogging. Are you on assignment in Colorado? Lace up your hiking shoes and go explore the mountains! Wherever you are, find ways to make working out fun. Your body will thank you for it in the long run.
Although it’s convenient, skip the fast food and try not to eat out for every meal. You will not only save calories when you do this, but you will save money too.
When you arrive at your new destination, look up the nearest grocery stores and try to do some shopping. Cook fresh dinners at home and prep lunches for the next day packed with protein. Eating healthy will help you feel less bloated and lethargic, and more energized.
You may still want to try new restaurants and experience the local cuisine, and that’s okay! It’s all about moderation. Plan to eat out every once in a while but try to pick a lighter option on the menu or substitute healthier side dishes.
Get enough sleep
As a nurse working long shifts, getting adequate sleep is easier said than done. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night to give your body enough time to recharge from the previous day.
Try sticking to the same sleep schedule every day to keep your body’s internal clock balanced. You can also create a calming bedtime ritual to help your body wind down by avoiding electronics before bed. The bright lights from the screens of our electronic devices actually activate the brain and can make it more difficult to fall asleep. A great alternative to phone scrolling is reading a book before bed or writing in a journal.
Having trouble falling asleep in an unfamiliar place? Consider using a white noise machine, blackout curtains or a humidifier. You will wake up the next day feeling energized, refreshed, and ready to continue helping your patients!
Make mental health a priority
Practicing self-care is one of the most important ways to combat stress and burnout. Every individual will have their own techniques to help reduce stress, but some popular methods include meditation (try using an app like Calm), regular exercise, journaling, talking to a loved one or listening to music.
Whatever method you choose, make sure to give yourself plenty of ‘me-time’ so you can recharge for the next day and avoid feeling overwhelmed. You can’t take care of those around you if you don’t take care of yourself first, so don’t overlook the importance of your emotional health.
Following these five simple healthy habits will help you feel your best, will give you the energy you need to experience all your new city has to offer and keep you healthy as a travel nurse!