How to Avoid Homesickness as a Travel Nurse
Travel Nurses move around the country every 13 weeks or so, to a new assignment in an unfamiliar city.
Every move is exciting at first — you can explore a new city, you’re ready to make new friends, and you’re game to check out the local attractions. After a while though, the newness can wear off.
You might start to feel lost. You don’t want to leave your place, and you don’t want to meet up with people after work. You start to miss home.
Many Travel Nurses will go through their careers without facing this problem. For others, adjusting to a new environment can be hard. If that describes you, we can help. We’ve come up with a few tips for feeling at home wherever you are.
Bring home with you
You might not be able to bring your friends and family with you, but you can bring along things that remind you of them.
Decorate your home away from home with pictures of the places and people you love. Hang up shelves and fill them with tokens that remind you of home and your fondest memories.
If you’re worried about damaging the walls, stock up on affordable stick-on picture hangers available at your local hardware store.
Pinterest is full of ideas for memory walls (arrangements to keep your memories close). Buzzfeed also lists some clever ways to display photos of your loved ones that are easy to pick up and bring along when you move.
No matter how you get it done, decorate your new home. Surround yourself with memories and you’ll fight off that homesickness.
Keep a clean home
Clutter is bad for you in many ways. If you’re already feeling isolated, a messy home makes that worse. Clutter makes you less likely to invite people over, and it increases your stress.
If your place is already overrun, set aside the time to declutter it. Once it’s clean, keep it that way! Zenhabits offers some great tips for this in their Ultimate Guide to Conquering Your Clutter.
Taking ownership of your space will make it feel less temporary.
Make new friends
Anxiety over being away will only get worse if you isolate yourself.
You’ll certainly be able to make some new friends at work. Just make sure conversations with your new friends aren’t only about work drama. Get to know your coworkers’ interests and hobbies outside of work, and you’re bound to ward off that lonely feeling.
Get to know your neighbors, too. Give them a gift when you move in and see if you share interests. Ask them if they know of some good places to eat, shop, get coffee, etc.
Explore your new home
This is what you dreamed of. Travel nursing allows you to explore places you haven’t been, and learn new things.
But when that dream becomes a reality, you might feel at a loss for what to do next. That’s when homesickness sets in.
Force yourself to explore your new digs. If you’ve made a new local acquaintance, have him or her show you around.
Make the unfamiliar familiar, and you’ll feel less anxiety. Learn where to find everything you need. Find a salon, a local grocery store, a cozy cafe and a bookstore.
As these new places become more familiar, you won’t feel so out of place.
Bring your pet
For pet lovers, nothing beats coming home to a warm and furry four-legged friend. Cats and dogs make great companions for Travel Nurses.
Make sure you let your agency or leasing company know about your pet well in advance to make sure it’s allowed. While you’re at work, dog-walking services and pet daycares can keep your pet company.
On your days off, walking your pup can be a great way to get to know your new neighborhood and neighbors. Walking new neighborhoods alone can be intimidating. Walking your dog will make you feel safer, and can be a conversation starter with your neighbors.
Be sure to read our post on travel nursing with pets for more tips on bringing your pal along on travel assignments.
How have you dealt with homesickness?
If you’ve been down this road before, we’d love to know how you were able to feel at home in a new place. Let us and your fellow Travel Nurses know how you overcame homesickness in the comments below.