As a travel nurse, you pack up your belongings after every assignment ends. Often, these assignments are thousands of miles away from your family and friends. So, how do you handle being that far away from those you love in a town you aren’t familiar with? Loneliness can be a real fear for travel nurses, but it doesn’t have to be.
Avoiding travel nursing loneliness is possible! There are many options to keep your time occupied while on assignment, aside from working. We have put together a list of things you can do to combat the loneliness you may feel while away from your family and friends.
Join a gym:
Find a gym in your new area that offers classes! You have a better chance of meeting people by joining a gym class than just going there. Yelp is a great place to search for gyms in your area because they also give reviews like restaurants. Many gyms offer classes more than once a week so that you can work around your work schedule!
Today’s technology makes staying in touch with loved ones while on assignment much easier than ever! Our cell phones now allow us to make video calls. If that won’t work for you, there are numerous ways to use different apps or programs like Skype. While it may not be the same as seeing them in person, it will help you feel closer to them and avoid travel nursing loneliness.
Explore your new temporary city. Getting out and exploring your new area is a great way to get out, and you may meet some friends along the way as well. A lot of cities and businesses offer events to bring people together. Facebook is a great place to look for events happening around you. You can also ask your co-workers for ideas on what to do.
Many travel nurses use the Meetup app. People use Meetup to meet new people, learn new things, find support, get out of their comfort zones, and pursue their passions, together. The app has groups you can join that you are interested in, such as; Health and Wellness, Outdoors, Family, Sports and Fitness, and many more. When you join a group, you will see who is hosting local events for that group. You can always create one if there isn’t a group for a topic you enjoy. It is a great way to find others who enjoy the same things you do.
Get a pet or Volunteer at an animal shelter:
It may seem like a lot to take on, but pets can provide companionship no matter where you go. You won’t feel quite so alone, having them with you in your new “home.” Coming back to an empty home can make the loneliness worse, but having a pet there waiting can make a huge difference. Before getting a pet, please remember that having a pet on an assignment can change how you travel and look for housing. The Gypsy Nurse has some great articles on travel nursing with pets; you can find them here. You could volunteer at a local animal shelter if getting a pet doesn’t fit your current lifestyle or plans. Giving of your time is a great way to combat loneliness. What better way to give your time than spending it with adorable animals at an animal shelter? Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers. Volunteering will get you out of the house while you spend time with other people and animals that appreciate any attention you can give them. At the same time, it may not be in the books for you to adopt a pet while on the road. You can give love to those in the animal shelters while you are on assignment.
Meet other Travel Nurses in the area:
This is a great way to combat loneliness while making friends! What better people to connect with than those who know exactly what you are going through? There are many groups on Facebook dedicated to specific cities for travel nurses.
Learn a new hobby:
You are on assignment, usually for 13 weeks at a time, which gives you plenty of time to pick up and learn a new hobby. Learning a new hobby will help with loneliness because it keeps you busy and your mind off being away from family and friends. There are so many options to choose from. Knitting, crocheting, hiking, writing, yoga, and the list goes on and on.
Hiking is an excellent option if you can find a place in your new city. It gets you out and about and away from your home away from home. Knitting and crocheting are great because they can be done from your home, and there are many tutorials on YouTube that make it easy to teach yourself. The list of new hobbies to learn is endless; it depends on what interests you and what you think you will enjoy.
Loneliness is inevitable while being away from your family and friends, but it doesn’t have to be.
These are just a few ways to combat loneliness while traveling for an assignment. There are many more ways.
Our blog offers many great articles on a variety of topics, if you would like more information on travel nursing, tips or just general information click here.