Whether you’re leaving for school, an internship, or travel nursing, being away from home can be tough at times, even for the most experienced traveler. It’s exciting to seek adventure in a new place, but after a long day, you might feel like you just want to be back home. Homesickness comes from a lack of familiarity, which can make us feel nostalgic for the comforts of home.
The first thing to know is that this feeling is normal, and the best thing to do is to work with that feeling without ignoring it. Here are five field-tested tips and tricks to work through homesickness on a travel nursing job.
1. Take care of yourself
Nurses should know this better than anyone. In general, self care should be a priority no matter where you are. But when you’re homesick, taking care of yourself becomes even more important. Nursing schedules are busy, but you can find creative ways to set aside time to get cozy and read, treat yourself to a massage between shifts, or dedicate some time to a favorite (or new) hobby. Homesickness can increase when you’re stressed, so these self care strategies will help to combat stress and homesickness at the same time.
It’s important to note that a big part of taking care of yourself is being okay with feeling homesick once in a while. It’s natural to feel this way, and feeling bad for feeling homesick certainly won’t help things. Acknowledge how you feel, and then work through it with the rest of these simple strategies.
2. Stay connected with family and friends
When you’re feeling extra homesick, it might feel hard to call your family and friends at home if you worry it will make you miss them more. However, your family and friends are always a great support system when the blues start to creep in. Focus on things in your new town that you’re excited about, and share those experiences with people you care about. Keeping in touch with friends and family will bring back some of those comfortable feelings of familiarity and belonging. Plus, if you do a particularly good job focusing on what you like about your new surroundings, you might convince them to come visit you.
3. Explore the new town
It’s especially good to explore your new town when you first move. This is a good way to familiarize yourself with the local hot spots—you can find your new favorite restaurant, a secluded shop, or a great hiking trail nearby. It’s also a great way to meet people and make new friends. A new place is a great excuse to try on new experiences, too. If there’s a sport or hobby you’ve always wanted to try, test it out in your new environment—making this a habit can replace feelings of homesickness with fresh energy and excitement.
4. Get to know your coworkers
The great thing about travel nursing is that you always have something to talk about with your coworkers—the amazing experiences you’ve had at other travel nursing spots, techniques you’ve learned, or questions you have about your new assignment. If you’re feeling homesick, take this conversation a bit further and make plans to spend time with your coworkers outside of work. They’ll likely be excited to show you the town and their favorite spots. As you meet people and form friendships, you’ll start to feel more grounded in your new place, which will help homesickness to fade into the background.
5. Mix the old with the new
When you leave for a new place, you don’t have to leave everything behind. If you’re feeling homesick, work on combining what you love about your new place with familiar things that make you feel at home. Do you have a favorite sport? Find a group or a gym that allows you to continue doing that sport. Or, is there a restaurant back home that you really miss? Challenge yourself to find a similar restaurant in the new town. That said, remember that being a new place gives you a chance to grow, so allow yourself to do that.
Your travel nursing home gives you another opportunity to mix the old with the new using physical objects. Make your new place your own by bringing a few favorite accessories or decorations from home.
Get ready for your next adventure
With travel nursing, you’re almost constantly on the move. This can be exciting, but you might find yourself longing for your original home, or maybe even for some favorite former travel nursing spots. As with most things, it helps to focus on the positives. Travel nursing with RNnetwork is all about making great new memories at work and in the town where you’re living right now.