Why is having a work-life balance essential?
A work-life balance can help you stay calm and collected when things seem out of control. And let’s be honest, working in a hospital often feels overwhelming.
Nurses face many challenges, such as:
- Long hours
- Death and dying
- Chronically ill patients;
- Emergencies; and
- Being understaffed
This stress can be emotionally and physically draining if you don’t recharge regularly.
Make it your goal to strive to find a work-life balance in travel nursing. Learning to work hard and play hard — and knowing when to slow down or stop — can create balance in your life. Follow our tips to get to where you want to be.
Table of Contents
- Why Is Work-Life Balance So Important as a Travel Nurse?
- Defining What Work-Life Balance Looks Like for You
- 11 Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance for Travel Nurses
- Trusted Nurse Staffing: Helping Our Travel Nurses Find Work-Life Balance
Why Is Work-Life Balance So Important as a Travel Nurse?
Research shows that burnout can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease as much as other risk factors such as smoking, body mass index, and lipid levels.
Maintaining a work-life balance for travel nurses is vital to having a successful, enjoyable career.
Trusted Nurse Staffing can help you find travel nursing assignments. Working with Trusted Nurse Staffing gives you more time for your day-to-day work assignments and free time activities. Create a free profile today.
Defining What Work-Life Balance Looks Like for You
It is up to you to decide what work-life balance means, as it can be different for everyone. Figure out what work-life balance looks like in your specific life situation.
- For some travel nurses, work-life balance may involve making more time to go to and from home. A relaxed commute can bring peace.
- For others, it may mean learning to leave work at work. Taking the stress home can be detrimental to your well-being.
- Some people may prioritize devoting more time to adventure. Getting out to explore is fun.
Check out this work-life balance calculator to visualize how your week is divided. Then use your results to make some tweaks to your schedule.
11 Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance for Travel Nurses
We all understand the importance of work-life balance in travel nursing. Now is the time to take action and live this lifestyle.
#1: Maintain a Routine
Thinking about your day-to-day routine helps you see how you spend your time. With that information, you can easily evaluate the aspects of your life you may neglect or avoid.
Developing a morning routine can help you start off on the right foot by helping you connect with yourself.
Here are some activities you could add to your morning to ground yourself first thing:
- Do breathwork
- Go for a walk
- Read something for fun
- Do yoga
- Write in a journal.
A big part of maintaining a routine has to do with your sleep cycle. Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman recommends doing the following to get better at sleeping:
- Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
- Go outside to view sunlight within the first hour of waking up and again before sunset. If it is cloudy, you should stay for about 20 minutes, and on bright days you can spend about 10 min taking in the light.
Be sure to schedule weekly time to do things that bring you joy. Keep it simple.
- Taking a walk
- Calling an old friend; or
- Stopping by a new coffee shop to add more downtime to your week
When we do things that bring us joy, we feel more positive. A study shows that even just talking about joyful experiences with others can help you:
- Improve your well-being
- Feel more satisfied; and
- Feel more energetic
Therefore, share the things that bring you joy with your co-workers as a part of your routine.
#2: Choose Travel Assignments That Meet Your Needs
As you get more experience as a travel nurse, you will start learning which assignments work for your lifestyle and which don’t. Paying attention to your needs will allow you to look for contracts that suit you better.
You may want to start off by making a list of what you think your needs are when looking for a contract.
#3: Create — and Fulfill — Your Bucket List
Getting out and adventuring can do beautiful things for your mental health and get you away from work.
Creating a bucket list is a great way to plan how you will adventure on your time off.
Many travel nurses burn out because they end up signing up for extra shifts. While this can be a perk of the job since many people may want to save money while working as a travel nurse, this behavior can also lead to feeling unbalanced or fatigued.
Avoid signing on for those extra shifts because you don’t have “anything better to do.” Once you have developed a bucket list for your “new city,” you can start planning some activities.
#4: Learn To Leave Work at Work
Working in the healthcare profession is stressful as some parts of your day can be very heavy.
Running around all day in this fast-paced environment is exhausting and draining. So when it is time to go home, you need to disconnect from work to recharge.
Try these tips to help separate your work day from your time at home:
- Turn off your phone
- Watch a TV show or movie
- Read that book that has been on your nightstand for the past few months
- Change into your comfy clothes
- Accept however you feel in the moment
- Pat yourself on the back for a job well done; and
- Use positive affirmations to fight stress and anxiety
#5: Use Your Free Time To Experience Your Surroundings
Travel nursing can be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Even if you don’t have a bucket list, get out and explore the cities you’re in. It can bring greater satisfaction and even peace after stressful shifts.
Here are some tips on ways to explore a new city:
- Read local publications
- Become part of local Facebook groups
- Eat the street food
- Explore local markets
- Visit local parks
- Eat at new restaurants
- Find local celebrations and festivals; and
- Visit museums and galleries
#6: Set (and Keep) Boundaries
It is healthy to learn to say NO. Creating boundaries is good for your mental health.
Let your coworkers and superiors know your expectations.
- If Sundays are your days off, no matter what, make it known.
- Don’t stay late every shift if you have other plans.
- Let supervisors, and your recruiters, know what your “no-go’s” are.
Read about how to prepare for your assignment to ensure success. Being prepared will help you stick to your boundaries.
#7: Find Community During Your Assignments
Some travel nurses may work more because they don’t want to go out and about on their assignments alone.
Get out of the house and away from work. Find community by:
- Spending time with other nurses outside of the hospital
- Taking art classes
- Joining a gym; or
- Becoming part of a community group
#8: Manage Your Time Off
Whether between or during contracts, time management and making time to get away from work is the key to success.
Use an agenda or an online calendar to organize your day, so you stay on track. Learning how to time block is one way to boost your productivity.
#9: Take Time To Rest
Ensure you’re taking time off. Being a good nurse takes focus and concentration; therefore, taking time off and resting is essential.
Not having a work-life balance can lead to workplace mistakes and additional emotional and physical stress.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and making time to rejuvenate. Don’t overfill your schedule to the point of maxing yourself out mentally and physically.
#10 Ask for Help
Work is always better when you feel supported. Having someone to bounce ideas off of or to confide in makes life easier.
For example, you may need to:
- Ask a supervisor for help. Feeling overwhelmed will eventually lead to burnout or mistakes. Communicate your needs.
- Find support networks outside of the hospital to help you find balance. Organize your time wisely and ask friends and family members to help with everyday chores and tasks.
- Brainstorm solutions to a problem with co-workers, friends, and family members.
- Talk with your recruiter about the jobs that aren’t working for you. No one wants contracts that cause chaos in your life.
You aren’t expected to do everything yourself. Ask for help when needed.
#11: Make Time To Move Your Body
Don’t put your health on the back burner for work. Always make sure you’re making time to exercise regularly and maintain healthy lifestyle choices.
And no, this doesn’t mean running from hall to hall helping patients.
Taking time to be active does not only help you get physically fit. According to the Chopra Center, the following are five benefits of moving every day:
- Healthier bones: Exercise builds and preserves bone mass.
- Enhanced mood: Movement can help fight against depression and anxiety.
- Improved brain health: Cognitive function increases with exercise.
- A spiced-up sex life: There is an improvement in arousal and satisfaction levels from exercise.
- Healthier lymphatic system: Movement helps circulate lymph fluid throughout the body.
Trusted Nurse Staffing: Helping Our Travel Nurses Find Work-Life Balance
Trusted Nurse Staffing places travel nurses with assignments across the nation, making the process easier for you.
Trusted Nurse Staffing is a small company committed to working closely with recruited nurses to provide guidance throughout their contracts.
Working with an agency can help you be more efficient with your time and make it easier to create a work-life balance.
Explore new places, gain experience in different environments, and earn a competitive salary as a travel nurse. Get started in three easy steps!
- Apply today
- Find your dream job
- Start your adventure
Take charge of your future; travel nursing is a great way to get ahead in life and visit new cities.
Complete a travel nursing profile today to get assignment offers for your skill set.