Achieving a true work/life balance is difficult in the best of circumstances; the life of a travel nurse is most certainly not the best of circumstances and can present its own set of difficulties. When you are hours from home and all you are familiar with, how is it possible to accomplish a balance to make your experiences as productive and beneficial as possible? We’ll explore some options here.
Part three: Socialize
As technology makes our world smaller and more accessible, it also has the unfortunate effect of making it seem as if we are connecting with people when in actuality we are only reading the updates on their social media feeds. You may know what your best friend in high school thought about the latest episode of Game of Thrones but when is the last time you spoke with him? You may have seen the latest pictures of your cousin’s adorable new baby but when was the last time you visited her? We all have busy lives but we cannot ignore the importance, and benefit, of actual human contact.
Ray Williams, writing in Psychology Today, lists 8 reasons why human contact is absolutely essential to us, stating that is leads to decreased violence, more trust, economic gains, stronger immune systems, stronger team dynamics, non-sexual intimacy, greater learning and overall well-being. Obviously, a travel nurse will most certainly be interacting with other people but I think context is important here; there is a vast difference between struggling to save the life of a stranger on a table in front of you and having a friendly chat with someone in the grocery store.
The Wall Street Journal reported about the trend of coffee shops limiting or cancelling free WiFi services and the impact it’s having on patrons. While there was some resistance, for the most part customers seemed to embrace the change. The idea was that a sea of people bent over laptops and tablets wasn’t the most social of atmospheres when most patrons only wanted to work on their own things in their own quiet spaces. I remember those places being called libraries.
Some travel nurses are fortunate enough to be able to travel with their families on these cross country adventures and that may be the perfect scenario, as all of these wonderful and unique experiences get to be shared amongst loved ones. I would say that it’s important to never take those constant companions for granted though; be sure that you are helping them to have meaningful and special memories as well. They will not have the occasion to meet new coworkers and have those initial interactions where someone suggests a place to eat or an interesting sight to see.
While not human contact, many travel nurses bring their four legged family members with them and that can be a healthy and comforting companionship on the road. WebMD writes that “for nearly 25 years, research has shown that living with pets provides certain health benefits. Pets help lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety. They boost our immunity. They can even help you get dates.” Don’t forget that your fur baby has been waiting all day long just to see you and let you know that you were missed and you’re always loved and appreciated.