Taking a healthcare travel job comes with a ton of benefits that often not only include a high salary and free housing, but the chance to experience new destinations, perhaps beautiful scenery, great local eats and advance your career too, with all sorts of opportunities for learning new skills, adapting to new circumstances and ways of doing things.
But being away from home for longer periods can mean bouts of homesickness for some healthcare travelers. While it’s a common and a natural human response, there are plenty of ways to beat it.
Take Advantage of Social Media and Other Technology
These days, one of the best ways to keep in touch with friends and family is social media. Not only can you post pictures and videos of all those fun experiences you’re enjoying in-between shifts to let them know what you’re up to, you can use technology to invite them to regular video chats, Skype calls or FaceTime. Just don’t overdo it, because if you’re constantly checking out Facebook to see what everyone is doing back home, it could make homesickness worse, and you may miss out on opportunities to make new friends. Staying connected on social media is a great way to beat homesickness as a healthcare traveler.
Use Snail Mail
Don’t forget about snail mail, writing letters is still a good way to keep in touch, especially with those who don’t use social media, perhaps your grandfather or a great aunt. Another option is to exchange care packages occasionally – ask a loved one to send you a package with things you love from home and in exchange you can send them little gifts and postcards from your location.
Make New Friends
By making an effort to create new friendships, you’re less likely to experience homesickness as much. Your neighbors and colleagues are the easiest to start with – find people you have things in common with, or those that are interested in trying something new. If you’re struggling, head to a site like Meetup.com which offers various clubs, groups and “meet ups” for like-minding people in places throughout the country. Check out these tips for making new friends while on assignment.
Live Your Life to the Fullest
Now is the time to get out and explore. The more you do so while you’re not working at your travel job, the easier it will be to stay excited about being farther away from home. Play tourist, experiencing popular attractions, perhaps going for a hike in the mountains or taking strolls on the beach. Sampling all the different foods at local restaurants and enjoying the nightlife is almost always fun too. You’ll be so busy having a good time, homesickness will quickly become a thing of the past.
Be a Part of Important Events
One of the hardest things about being away from home is missing important events, like your niece’s graduation, your nephew’s school play or maybe your sister’s gender reveal. Thanks to modern technology, however, you can still be part of those moments. Use a tool like Facebook Live and it’s almost as good as being there. If that’s not possible, ask someone to video it for you, and when you return home you can enjoy a movie night with your family and friends together.
Change the Way You Think About It
Always remember that you’re in control of the way you feel. If you choose to be homesick, you will be. By transforming how you think about it, you can be much happier. What are you grateful for having taken this travel nurse assignment? And, what are some of the benefits about being away from home? For example, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder. A little distance can help change your perspective, allowing you to understand what’s really important in life. The experience might just strengthen your relationships back home by causing you to appreciate them even more.