Female nurse in blue athletic work out gear stretching on a yoga mat indoors for a healthy lifestyle and exercise habit.

Healthy Habits For Travel Nurses to Adopt to Feel More Energetic

November 15, 2022

Trying to stay healthy as a nurse can be overwhelming. Long, stressful shifts and task-filled off-time leave little room to build healthy habits. But you CAN do it as a travel nurse! Building healthy habits will fuel you with more energy to go on travel adventures between shifts. So, if you have been wondering how to stay healthy during travel, you have come to the right place. Here are seven healthy habits for nurses and other travelers!

1. Drink Plenty of Water

Graphic of a cartoon male nurse drinking from a water-bottle in athletic gear after working out or exercising.

Make sure to drink plenty of water on your way to your shift, during breaks, after your workday, and on the way home. It can be challenging to drink enough water during your shift. Especially if you don’t have a breakroom or locker room near your unit. (You know, since no food or drinks are allowed at the nurse's station.) If you don’t like water try other sugar-free options. Try flavored water, sparkling water, or even put fruit like lemons or berries in your H2O. A good way quickly to form a healthy habit of drinking water regularly is to make markings on your water bottles. Mark specific hours throughout the day indicating where the water level should be after drinking from the bottle.

2. Eat a Nutrient-Dense Diet

Graphic os a blond cartoon female eating a green salad out of a bowl for a nutrient-dense diet and healthy lifestyle habit.

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet takes planning. Especially in living quarters without a kitchen or kitchenette. In this case you can request a refrigerator from your staffing company. A fridge keeps fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and other perishables handy. A good healthy habit for nurses is before starting your contract, research local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Find local resources for healthy foods so you won't have to live off takeout! Additionally, you can research local restaurants and see who offers fresh, low-calorie options.

3. Stay Active

Graphic of two cartoon diverse woman riding on bikes smiling and laughing to stay active and workout.

Staying active may be one of the healthy travel tips that may seem off-base. After all, you're very busy during your shift and are most likely getting plenty of steps. But, it's important to stay active on your days off. Will Hatton, founder of The Broke Backpacker suggests getting a gym pass that lets you use their facilities across different states. If you aren’t interested in the typical gym. In that case, try a fitness studio or a unique outdoor activity, like a barre or Pilates class, or hiking trails!  

4. Get Enough Sleep  

Graphic of a cartoon female nurse resting her head on a pillow sleeping for healthy habits.

Getting enough sleep may be one of the most difficult healthy travel tips to follow. We all know we need adequate sleep, but some nights or days can be more difficult than others. If you’re a nurse that struggles to get a good night's sleep try these tricks for quality sleep.

  • Only use your bed to sleep. Avoid eating or doing other daily tasks in bed.  
  • Get blackout curtains for your sleeping area.
  • Try a sound machine or app as a soothing white noise.
  • Avoid screen time for at least an hour before going to bed.
  • If possible, avoid eating and snacking at least one to two hours before bed.  
  • Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages too late.
  • Drink two ounces of tart cherry juice to help stimulate melatonin production.  

5. Make your Mental Health a Priority

Graphic of a cartoon male man meditating with hearts surrounding and brain imagery, taking care of his mental health.

This tip is imperative in how to be a healthy nurse, but it is even more vital for travel nurses. In fact, sobering statistics show a steep decline in the mental health for travel nurses. Not only are travel nurses working grueling 12-hour shifts, but also doing so in a new environment. Check out your new neighborhood for cooking classes, art classes, or reading groups. Not only can these classes offer a way to unwind, but you may meet some new people along the way! Give yourself time for a hobby or something you use to decompress after a long shift.

6. Go Outside

Working the night shift limits exposure to sunlight and the outdoors, in general. Go outside! Any chance you get. It reduces stress and cortisol levels, increases vitamin D levels, and promotes better sleep. This healthy habit helps improve your lifestyley in more ways than one! This tip is vital for nurses who are working the night shift.

7. Stay Connected

Cartoon graphic of a female travel nurse wearing salmon pink looking at her phone smiling with message notifications surrounding staying connected.

Stay connected to friends and family to reduce loneliness while traveling. As mentioned before, if you are on a travel assignment, you are most likely not in your home city or even your home state. Traveling alone can make your assignment very lonely at first. This gets easier once you start meeting new friends and acquaintances.  

Travel nursing can be a great way to work, plus go on an adventure! But it can be challenging to maintain healthy habits on the road. To make your assignment more enjoyable, you must understand how to stay healthy as a travel nurse. These healthy habits for travelers can help guide your way to a less stressful assignment!

Are you interested in taking on a travel assignment? Let Advantis Medical guide you along your journey to your next adventure! Sign up on AdvantisConnect to browse thousands of jobs across the nation and get connected to your personal recruiter.

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