Tips and Education
Dealing with Homesickness as a Travel Nurse
September 27, 2022
Being homesick is a very over-consuming feeling. Whether you’re an hour away from your home and family or 16 hours away, homesickness is a natural feeling. It’s essential that, as a travel nurse, you refrain from letting this feeling turn into exhaustion and anxiety. Traveling immerses you in new places and gets you out of your comfort zone! It’s crucial that if you do become homesick, you don’t let it take you over and turn into something more strenuous to your mental well-being!
Things we Recommend Avoiding:
It can seem so easy to simply stay in and turn on Netflix when the feeling arises. Binge-watching Friends or Stranger Things may temporarily make you feel better, but in reality, it’s a distraction and cover-up. Withdrawing yourself from where you are is not a coping mechanism that will lead you to overcome homesickness; it will most likely escalate it.
Many people like to take visits home or call loved ones to help ease missing home, which is fantastic if this helps you! However, to some, this can be a temporary fix. And as a travel nurse, you know that taking visits home can be a challenge when you have limited time off of work.
The homesickness may subside while talking or being with friends/family in those moments; the after-effects may hit you worse than before. Now we aren’t saying to avoid contacting these people completely; it just means to try not to overdo it!
While you may feel alone during this time, it’s important to know that this feeling is natural and strikes everyone at some point in their lives. There are healthy ways to cope with this feeling and turn it into something great! Now that we’ve gotten past the methods we recommend avoiding, let’s dive into a few ideas & tricks to help ease your mind while feeling homesick on assignments!
Keep your mind occupied doing things you enjoy. Often, this requires putting yourself out there, which is a-ok! Try inviting a coworker to try out a new restaurant or coffee shop. Take a trip to the local Farmer’s Market one morning. Find a nifty bookstore nearby and browse some books! Check out an art or history museum by yourself or with a friend. If you feel like doing something that doesn’t require much time out, then go to the store, grab a notebook or scrapbook and take it home to make a bucket list for yourself!
There are many options to keep your mind off your overwhelmed emotions. When you keep yourself occupied, time goes by quickly, and your mind will need this to unwind!
Find a Place Nearby that Feels Like Home.
Finding a comfortable place that gives you a sense of back home can be different for everyone. Often, big department stores are an excellent place to start. That Target on the corner by you probably has the same items and maybe even set up as the one back home does! Some example stores include Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, Home Depot, Costco, Sam’s Club, Bass Pro Shops, etc… The list goes on.
Walking through these stores can bring a sense of calmness to your mind. It’s the fact of knowing that no matter where you’re at, you can walk through these isles and find the exact items you’d be able to grab back home. Your senses are more than likely familiarized with these places too. For example, the popcorn smell & sight of Starbucks Coffee right when you walk into Target is probably similar to the Target back at home. Or the sounds of the store alerts going off and seeing those bright fluorescent lights at Walgreens will be very similar, if not the same as the Walgreens in your hometown!
It may sound like a wild idea to walk around a department store for comfort but trust us when we say to try it out!
Bring Familiar Items from Home on your Assignments
This tip is nice and straightforward. Pack some things you love from your home with you when you’re on an assignment. This can be anything from photos or letters to blankets and plants! Whatever your comfort items are, bring them along with you.
When the anxiety of homesickness starts to arise, having these items around is a good way to help give a sense of continuity and ease the shock of being somewhere new. Psychologists call these items transitional items as they are a source of comfort when transitioning into a new environment!
Remember, these feelings of homesickness on an assignment are common and normal and happen to people of all ages. They are not permanent, and there is no need to judge yourself for having these feelings.
Our recruiters at Titan Medical are always there to talk and help guide you through some of these feelings! We care for you and want to ensure you’re living your best life while traveling with us!
If you’re ready for your next travel assignment, give Titan Medical a call today at 866.332.9600, and we’d love to assist in finding your next adventure!