Humans are social beings. They thrive in the presence and support of loved ones. It’s then no big revelation that one of the major challenges in travel nursing is the sense of loneliness travelers feel when they’re on the road. Not having friends and family around—exacerbated by being a stranger in a strange land—can take its toll on travel nurses especially during those first weeks of an assignment.
We’ve all been there. Loneliness is not exclusive to travelers but while most of us can easily schedule a picnic at the park with close friends, travel nurses don’t have that luxury. The effect is that their bout with loneliness seemed more intense than those of regular folks. Don’t fret. There are ways to counter feelings of isolation. Here are some tips that may help:
Don’t Feed the Beast
Or rather, don’t dwell on the loneliness. This seems very straightforward but many people feel compelled to listen to depressing music or watch tearjerkers when they’re lonely. Instead of distracting themselves or changing their pattern of behavior, they readily bask in the depression. Remember why you took the assignment in the first place. If the primary reason why you decided to become a travel nurse is to see more of the country then take the time to do so. You control how you want to see your situation as either good or bad. Think of the positive and leave the negative vibes behind.
Get Involved in Club Activities
If you’ve always wanted to take up swimming on a regular basis or learn how to cook, now’s the time to do so. Take up classes. Join a group that shares your interests. Keep yourself too busy to worry about being alone and you’ll find yourself meeting new friends. The point is that the best stress-free way of meeting new people is by joining a club or getting involved in group activities.
Own a Dog
Dogs or any kind of pet are great companions. They love you unconditionally and make you feel needed. Plus, having a pet will eat up time that you’d otherwise use to feel sad. You have to feed them, walk them and play with them. Research dog parks located in your area and take your pet there. While you’re at it, try to engage other dog owners in conversation.
Develop Friendships at Work
This isn’t as scary as it sounds. Really it’s not. Chances are you will get invited by co-workers to go out because they know you don’t know anyone in town. Say yes even if you feel ill at ease at the start. The sooner you break the ice with your new co-workers the sooner you’ll develop friendships.
Loneliness is part of travel nursing. It comes with the territory of moving to a new city. But it doesn’t have to define who you are. Remember that one of the reasons why travel nurses do what they do is because they yearn to experience new things and explore new places. So do that. The good news is that the feelings of loneliness go away in time. The longer you stay at a new city the more familiar its rhythms and people become to you. Loneliness can only hold you for so long until you decide that you’ve had enough. You can mope in your apartment after work and eat takeout pizza. Or you can take full advantage of the opportunity you’ve been given to gain new experiences. It’s really up to you.