The holidays can be a time of celebration and joy, but they can also bring up feelings of tension, sadness, and sorrow. As a traveling healthcare professional, you have some unique holiday stressors that may impact your mental health. You work long shifts and are away from family, all while coping with the high demands of working in healthcare.
No matter what emotions the holidays bring up for you, your feelings are totally normal. And you definitely aren’t alone in what you feel. At Trusted, we value the overall wellness of our clinicians. Your mental health is important to us, and we are here to support you- over the holidays and always! Here’s our list of holiday mental health tips tailored to travel health professionals!
- Self Care Strategies
What makes you feel content, happy, and energized? Self-care looks different for everyone. For some, it's downtime, alone time, or a book or a movie. For others, it's making plans with friends, a night out in a new outfit, or a good meal at that fantastic restaurant downtown. Or it can be a day on the slopes, at the gym, or in the wilderness. Whatever self-care means to you, be sure to carve out more time for it during the holiday season.
Remember, it's common to experience holiday stress and feel anxious or depressed this time of year. Mostly, these holiday blues are temporary, but you should seek support if they last for more than two weeks. Studies show that the holidays can be an extra trying time for those with existing mental health issues. Have your favorite self-care strategies ready, spend time doing what you love, and reach out to others in your support system when needed!
- Prioritize Rest and Sleep
Whether or not the coming months are jam-packed with activities, travel, and events, rest and sleep are essential! The days are darker and colder, and it's a perfect time to catch up on some rest. The holidays are a demanding time for many- we encourage you to protect your work-life balance, personal time, and boundaries. If you don’t want to pick up an extra shift, don't hesitate to say no. If you feel that attending a specific holiday event will drain you more than uplift you, choose to stay home or make other plans instead.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet
One of the simplest ways to feel better, both emotionally and physically, is to take good care of your physical health. But don’t worry- this doesn’t mean missing out on all the delicious holiday meals, treats, and sweets. It can be as simple as making sure you drink a glass of water between your favorite holiday beverages, adding some extra fresh fruits and veggies in a meal or two before a holiday party, and eating the items that you genuinely enjoy.
- Connect With Fellow Colleagues and Travelers
It's fun to make new friends while traveling! Connecting with other colleagues and travelers also helps build a support system wherever you are. Reach out to your fellow travelers and get a holiday dinner planned on a night you are all off. Make plans to do something active outside, and check out the local holiday markets or area volunteer opportunities.
Feeling lonely over the holidays is normal, especially for travel healthcare professionals. Your fellow travelers will be thrilled to have new friends to celebrate with. You can also join our Trusted Community to stay on top of local and virtual events hosted by Trusted. This is a great place to connect with other Trusted nurses!
- Creative Ways to Celebrate
It's completely normal to be bummed about missing out on some of your favorite holiday traditions. Making some new holiday traditions of your own can help!
- Did you know that Chandler, Arizona, boasts the largest tumbleweed Christmas Tree?
- Don’t miss the Surfing Santa competition in Dana, California!
- Make a traditional New Mexican holiday wreath out of dried green chiles.
- If you are traveling to Alaska, don’t forget to visit the town of North Pole! You might even catch a glimpse of the northern lights while there.
Scope out the local holiday events and any unique traditions specific to your new city. Each city boasts its own special holiday customs, decorations, and events to explore.
- Create a Festive Environment in Temporary Housing
Decorating for the holidays may not be your thing, and that’s OK. But, if decorating makes you happy, don’t forget to decorate your temporary home with some holiday cheer! Bring a few small decorations from home, such as your favorite ornaments, stockings, or keepsakes from family. If you didn’t bring anything, take a day to check out local holiday shops and buy something that will work in your new space. Don’t forget to make your own traditional holiday recipes or try new ones!
- Virtual Gatherings With Loved Ones
Don’t want to miss out on seeing your nephew open up his gift from you? Or make sure you get to catch up with your much-loved grandmother? Being part of gatherings back home is possible with technology. We know it's not the same as being there in person, but it is a fantastic way to remain connected and to participate in celebrations afar. If you work the holidays, you can virtually join your loved ones' gatherings before or after your shifts, or even during a quick break while on shift.
- Managing Holiday Expectations
The holiday season as a travel nurse may differ from holidays not spent working as a traveler. And that’s a good thing! Remember all the amazing experiences, people, and locations that travel nursing brings into your life. While there are downsides to being a travel nurse over the holidays, there are many upsides, too- like holiday pay!
- Embracing Imperfections
Your holiday season as a travel nurse may not be perfect, and that’s OK! No holiday season ever is, and we encourage you to embrace this. Don’t sweat the little things, and if planning additional events, parties, outings, or meals for others stresses you out, don’t be afraid to say no! There are plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays, and we want you to celebrate in a way that makes you joyful.
- Utilize Trusted Health’s Resources
At Trusted Health, we offer a wide range of mental health services to our travel professionals, free of cost. Check out our wellness resources for more information. As a Trusted employee, you have access to mindfulness and meditation services through Headspace. If you need someone to talk to, we offer access to free mental health professionals and therapy services through Spring Health. Your mental health matters.
Holiday Mental Health Tips - The Bottom Line
Coping with loneliness, dealing with stress at work, and maintaining a work-life balance can be challenging for a travel professional, and these tasks can become more demanding during the holidays. It's essential to recognize that whether you're feeling merry and bright or facing some struggles, your experiences are valid. At Trusted Health, we see you, we support you, and we're here to assist you in managing your mental health.
Don't let stress overshadow your holiday spirit. We encourage you to make self-care, well-being, and mental health a priority during this festive season. And remember, signing up with Trusted Health is a step towards accessing a wealth of resources designed specifically for travel nurses.