Travel assignments: they can be a very exciting adventure, full of possibilities. You meet new people, see parts of the U.S. that you’ve never seen before, and find new ways to grow as a person. But, although there is excitement with travel healthcare, you may find yourself in a rut. You can start feeling lonely, exhausted, empty, and may even struggle sleeping. These are common symptoms felt by many travel nurses I have talked with; all of which can lead to depression.
Depression is something that could happen to anyone at any time while traveling as a nurse or tech. The reality is that every time you accept an assignment you’re put into a new place with new people and new surroundings. Doing this time and time again can take its toll on you.
While not a cure for depression all together, here are some simple ways to help get you through some difficult times.
1. Talk to someone
I know it can be cliché, but there is a reason why. IT’S VERY IMPORTANT! The worst thing anyone can do is bottle up their feelings until they explode. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with a professional therapist, reach out to a loved one or someone close in your life by any means necessary! Simply catching up with a familiar person can do wonders. Also, reach out to your recruiters! We are here to make sure you enjoy your assignments. If something is going on, we want to help you out. Remember you are not alone.
Just hearing the word exercise can leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. However, exercising releases endorphins that boost your self-esteem and make you feel good. According to helpguilde.org, regular exercise seems to encourage the brain to rewire itself to help you stay positive throughout the day. For example, kickboxing can not only provide a great workout, but it’s also a great form of therapy. I mean, you get to hit things. Talk about a stress reliever!
3. Get out and explore
This is a common theme in a lot of my blogs.. Not only is it a great reason to start travel healthcare, but you can learn so much about your assignment location. You’ll also walk away with fun memories, and great stories to tell everyone.
“”When we challenge ourselves to do something different, there are chemical changes in the brain,” Cook says.”Trying something new alters the levels of [the brain chemical] dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment, and learning.” -Ian Cook, MD. He’s a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA.
4. Fight back negative thoughts and write it out
There can be times we doubt our skills, our own thoughts, and we could have a fear of missing out. So we start to attack ourselves over something that could really be trivial. To help fight these internal thoughts, it is essential to identify them as an alien point of view.
“Make sure you ask yourself, would you think such cruel thoughts about a friend or family member who was experiencing the same struggles. By having compassion for yourself and recognizing this inner voice as a destructive enemy, you can begin to see who you are more clearly and realistically”-Lisa Firestone Ph.D. (Psychology Today)
Another great way to help the negative thoughts is to journal. Take a couple of minutes each day before you go to bed to just write out how the day made you feel. Be honest with yourself about why this was the case. Releasing stress through pen and paper can really help out.
Depression is a serious condition. You should never feel ashamed if you’re feeling depressed; it truly can happen to anyone at any time. I hope these tools will help you out if you ever need the support. When in doubt, simply talk it out!
If you would like to learn more, or would like to talk with someone The Kim Foundation is a non-profit organization with our parent company C&A industries.
Marcus Benzel is a Recruiter for the Aureus Medical Social Media Recruitment Team. He started with Aureus Medical as a Recruiter in the Nursing division in June 2014 before moving to the social media team in 2016. In his spare time, he performs in community theatre productions and has been in 10 shows in the last three years. He also enjoys working out. Another fun fact about Marcus: he collects fun socks!