Those working in the medical travel industry can attest that heavy workloads, long hours, and high anxiety are too often part of the deal. Even though you may have accepted the realities of a stressful job long ago, it's important to remember that work-related anxiety can cause depression, weight gain, substance abuse, and sleep disorders, among other problems. Since stress can take a toll on all aspects of your health, maybe in ways you don't even notice, it's fundamental to recognize its presence and develop a plan of attack. We're here to help with this list of tips for you to consider as you plan for your next travel assignment.
establish a routine
You probably follow a routine every morning when you get ready for work, so set up another routine for times when the stress meter rises. Make a point to find a peaceful space in your workplace, such as a serenity room or an outdoor water fountain, and visit when you need a break. A few minutes away from the source of your stress can be reviving, as can be the walk you take to get there. Your routine should also include some reflective time at home after your shift is over. Consider a meditation session with a smartphone app like Calm, some healthy snacks, a bath, or relaxing music, like this song that was created by neuroscientists to reduce anxiety.
stay on track
If you're a hard worker and passionate about your job, you may be making stress worse by taking on extra shifts and never saying "no" when coworkers ask you to fill in. People may like your friendliness, but you're just adding more to your already stressful life. Keep on track by turning down those extra shifts and instead use your free time to unwind, visit friends, and just enjoy life in your new locale. Once you get the hang of saying no and keeping your focus on what's most important, you'll find that stress is easier to manage too.
Even though your job may be tiring, it's important to round out your life with social activities and exercise. Many healthcare facilities offer yoga, aerobics, pilates, or have workout rooms filled with weight machines and treadmills. There's probably no better way to relieve stress than with a good workout, and you might meet some new friends in exercise classes that can show you around town or invite you to join them on hikes and other events. When you have a rich personal life, the stressful things that happen at work are more easily put into perspective.
As a medical professional, you may be exposed to trauma that's difficult to shake and can accumulate into depression or a sense of meaninglessness over time. This is especially true for professionals working in high-stakes environments like emergency rooms, intensive care units, or NICUs. Take care of yourself by seeing a professional therapist or counselor when you are feeling especially tender or vulnerable. A mental health specialist can help you work through uncomfortable feelings and provide you with coping techniques that you may never have thought of on your own.
Travel assignments are as stressful (or more) as any other job you might take, but fortunately there are opportunities to take breaks between each stint. When you use the downtime to recover and recoup, you'll be even more ready to take on the next challenge. Read through our Healthcare Travel Guide for more information about the advantages of travel work. When you're ready to apply, search our jobs page for positions that suit your skills and experience. When you have a plan to minimize stress, life at work is easier and more rewarding.