Traveling for a living can quickly take a toll on your health if you aren’t careful, no matter what your profession. Even though the main focus of being a travel nurse is ensuring the care and health of others, it’s easy to quickly let your own health slip in favor of focusing on your patient’s. However if you yourself fall ill or are not operating to your fullest potential, then eventually it’s going to start affecting your job and ultimately those you’re caring for. This makes it imperative to stay on top of your own health so that you can continue to help others.
These five tips will ensure that you are in tip-top shape while traveling:
- Make time each day for exercise. One of the hallmarks of being a travel nurse is that you are constantly on the move, which can make it difficult to carve out time each day for exercise. However keeping your body in shape will give you more energy throughout the day and keep you in optimal health. Look around for deals with gyms that allow you to exercise at any of their locations, get up early and go for a brisk walk, or take a short bike ride in the evenings after your shift has ended. If you don’t have access to a gym or any weight machines then focus on doing bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, crunches, and squats so that you stay toned and strong.
- Start each day with a healthy breakfast. When you’re in a hurry in the mornings, breakfast can be the first thing that gets nixed from the to-do list, but you’ll be doing yourself a big disservice if you opt to skip breakfast every morning. Instead make an egg casserole ahead of time and freeze it in portions so that you can pull out a serving each morning, microwave it, and go. Or bake oatmeal bars and pair them with a scoop of peanut butter and a piece of fruit. Having easy, convenient, ready-to-eat breakfast foods on hand will make it easy to eat breakfast even when you’re in a hurry. And since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that’s one meal that you don’t want to skip.
- Stick to water throughout the day. Sodas and sugar-filled coffees may be your go-to drink of choice, but they also are going to leave you feeling sluggish and dehydrated, and help you pack on pounds if you drink them on a daily basis. Instead try keeping a large refillable water bottle with you and drink only water throughout the day. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of a lack of energy, so making sure to drink enough water each day will help you stay energized and allow you to think more clearly.
- Get enough sleep. The majority of people around the world are chronically fatigued, and this is largely due to not getting enough sleep each night. Traveling for a living and constantly being in new places can make it hard to get on a regular sleep schedule, but being fatigued throughout the day can also begin to negatively impact your performance at work. Being in the healthcare profession means you need to be able to make decisions with clarity and not be battling any morning, afternoon, or evening slumps. If you find it hard to fall asleep try taking a natural sleep aid, such as melatonin, turn off the TV an hour or more before bed, and focus on relaxing your entire body and mind to help you fall asleep more easily.
The travel nursing profession, while extremely rewarding, is certainly not an easy one to be in, and it’s not hard to let your own health become secondary to everything else you have to do each day. However to be the best travel nurse you can be, it’s important to focus on your own health as well as the health of others: Eating healthy foods, getting in moderate exercise, drinking enough water, and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule can help you do just that.