As a travel nurse, mental health can often take the back burner when you are responsible for providing patient care. But many healthcare workers don’t realize that keeping track of their mental health is essential to having a successful assignment.

Your mental health can also have an effect on your physical health, so prioritizing it is important. We’ve created a list of tips to help you take care of your mental health while on travel assignment.

Read on to learn more!

1. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead for your assignment can help reduce stress and anxiety before your assignment even begins.

Communicate with your recruiter to learn more about your destination, your facility, housing options, and what to expect on the floor. Ask about the workplace culture so that understand how to make a good first impression.

Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to pack before you head out. The average travel nursing assignment is 13 weeks, but contract lengths can vary. Some travel nurses take 4, 6, and 8-week assignments, or spend up to 26 weeks on assignment due to contract extensions.

The length of your assignment should determine how you pack and prepare yourself.

2. Stay Active

Staying active is another way to take care of your mental health on assignment. Physical activity causes your body to release endorphins, which improves circulation and creates a sense of wellbeing.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.”

3. Eat Healthy Foods

Eating healthy is essential to maintaining energy and focus while working. If you have the time, it will benefit your mental health to have well-balanced, healthy meal already prepared before, during, or after a shift.

The foods you eat and your regular eating habits can go a long way in reducing anxiety and stress. According to the Harvard Health Blog, leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon) have been shown to reduce anxiety.

4. Prioritize Your Needs

While this is likely easier said than done, your mental health needs to take priority while you’re on assignment. If you feel yourself getting burnt out you need to vocalize that to your team, recruiter, or your supervisor, and someone may be able to help you manage your stress better.

Simple things like getting plenty of sleep, chatting with friends and family, or just taking some time to decompress and watch Netflix can significantly improve your sense of wellbeing. Whatever it is that helps you feel the most comfortable and helps you calm down from difficult shifts. Just be sure to pay attention to how you’re feeling – take care of yourself while taking care of others!

5. Talk To Someone

Sometimes all it takes to help maintain your mental health is having someone to talk to. Whether that is a friend, family member, colleague, or a professional. Part of prioritizing your mental health while out on assignment means having someone to talk to when you’re feeling on edge.

Tough patients and long hours have you down? Sharing this with someone can help you organize your thoughts and feelings and make sense of your state of mind. Friends, family, or a therapist can offer advice and help if you need it.

Therapia Staffing Cares About Your Mental Health & Success

Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking you’re alone in all of this. Many traveling clinicians feel overwhelmed from time to time.

It’s important to remember that your mental health is not a roadblock to productivity. If you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or burned out, taking time to practice self-care and get the relief you need will only help you progress.

Travel assignments can be great opportunities to advance your nursing career. Taking care of yourself is the first step to success.

You’ve got this!