Let’s face it traveling is exhausting, but it’s something with which travel nurses are very familiar. Traveling, whether by car or by plane, takes a great amount of effort and energy, and at the end of the journey when you arrive at your new assignment location, you could be feeling limp and drained, both physically and mentally. This is never a good situation to be in, especially if your first shift begins within hours or a single day of your arrival. Luckily, it does not always have to take days to recuperate from your cross-country traveling and moving experience. With a few tricks, you can overcome jet lag or travel fatigue in general and get your body and mind into the right place before you begin your first shift.
Food and drink tips for flying travel nurses
Avoid alcohol and heavy foods a few weeks before and after you arrive. Though you may be tempted to sample the delicious fare your new destination has to offer, stay with light and healthy meals for several weeks before and after you travel. This will ensure that your body is optimally fueled and ready to take on whatever punches travel has to throw its way, and it will also reduce the chances of you getting sick when moving across state lines. Stay hydrated as well, as flying is especially prone to drain you of your body’s moisture. Getting plenty of fluids will prevent illness and keep your health in check.
Physical activity tips for flying travel nurses
Relax as much as possible during your flight or drive. Traveling is stressful, but all that anxiety could aggravate your jet lag and fatigue later on. Try to stay as relaxed and calm as possible while you travel so that your body can focus entirely on readjusting to a new time zone. In addition, do not participate in any strenuous activity immediately upon arrival. While jump-starting your body with activities when you get to your final destination may seem to be a good idea, it can actually further disrupt your body’s internal clock. This means not rushing to the baggage claim or going out to a party that night. Instead, take things easy until you go to bed. You will wake up more refreshed and more adjusted as a result.
Sleep tips for flying travel nurses
Stay on your normal schedule of sleeping and waking as much as possible. When you travel from one end of the country to the other, or when you travel from the U.S. to an international assignment, it can be difficult to get used to living two, three, or 12 hours ahead. To make this transition easier, try to sleep when you normally would at home and wake up at the same time as well. Though you may struggle to stay awake when you’ve arrived somewhere in the early afternoon, do not let yourself fall asleep too early or else you will completely throw off your sleeping schedule. Instead, keep yourself mildly occupied until your regular sleeping time comes around. If you have trouble sleeping, consider taking a mild sleep aid the first night, such as melatonin or Benadryl. This will allow you to fall asleep on time and wake up adjusted to your new time zone.
By practicing these things, you can help kick your jet lag and travel fatigue to the curb in as little as a single day. That way, you can readjust quickly and give your new assignment in your new hospital 100% of your focus and effort.