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Beating the Holiday Blues While on a Travel Assignment

Dec 7, 2022 | Travel Nursing



The most wonderful time of the year is quickly approaching. Something about the holiday season that spreads endless warmth and joy and has us embracing our inner child. Maybe it’s your favorite comfort foods, time and memories spent with loved ones, or the cool, brisk weather. On the flip side, if you find yourself taking on a travel assignment during this period, you may be feeling slightly homesick. Trust us we get it, FOMO (fear of missing out) may have you dwelling. But don’t worry, here’s some advice on how to make the most out of your travel assignment and avoid those holiday blues.


Why Work Holiday Shifts

As a healthcare traveler, one of the many perks is having the freedom to select when and where you would like to travel for your assignment. Whether it’s your first rodeo or you’re a traveling healthcare pro, you should anticipate working some or all holidays that fall during your assignment. One of the many perks of working through the holidays is avoiding the wave of healthcare travelers that take time off during the holidays but are then seeking assignments after the new year. Being willing to work over the holidays can mean more assignment options.


Although this might not sound as ideal as spending time with your loved ones, you still have the same opportunity to spread joy by providing patients with the care they need. These patients, their families, and non-traveling professionals at your facility all appreciate what may seem like a small sacrifice. Especially facilities that are experiencing a shortage of healthcare workers.


Besides, just helping out your new community, there are additional perks of working holiday shifts. It never hurts to have a little extra cash in your pockets to ease any financial stress. Take advantage of the holiday shift pay perks such as a bonus and/or time and a half based on your hourly rate. You also get to push your boundaries by meeting new people, working in a new environment, and expanding your current skill set. Not a big fan of the holiday season? Stay busy and avoid all of the holiday traffic and chaos by working through it! And if you find that you have a winter assignment and require a specific holiday off, make sure to be upfront and discuss this with your Recruiter prior to signing your contract!


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Keeping that Merry Feeling

One of the most important things that you can do is to plan ahead. As soon as you find out your schedule, be sure to share it with family and friends. Doing so prevents any surprises and allows time to plan a makeup date with them. Thanks to today’s technology, keeping in touch with your loved ones has never been easier. Maintain your holiday spirit by planning regular Facetime or Zoom calls with friends or family. You can also ask them to share pictures and videos of your holiday gatherings.


Besides, going into your shifts with a positive mindset helps keep spirits high internally and in your work environment. No one likes a Scrooge, whether that’s your coworkers or patients, they all want to feel the same amount of joy rather than feel like a burden. Need a pick-me-up? Blast some holiday music on your drive to work and make a pit stop for your favorite holiday drink. Let’s be honest, sometimes the small things can be the most meaningful in your day-to-day.


After a long shift, the last thing you want to do is spend hours cooking. For your convenience, save time by having your meal ready to pick up or ready to throw in the oven, or have friends send you a care package of your favorite homemade holiday treats. As a healthcare traveler, there are more than likely fellow travelers in the same boat as you at your facility or surrounding area. Great company and food are what the holidays are all about. Not sure where to start? Check Facebook to see if any local events are happening, grab a coworker to see a movie on your day off, arrange a Secret Santa, or coordinate a potluck or Friendsgiving with your coworkers.


Being Intentional About Your Days Off

Whether you’ve never been on the beach during the holidays or encountered snowfall, traveling during this time allows you to experience the beauty of the holidays from a new environment, and through a new lens. Every city has its own traditions, and you get to be as involved in them as you would like. Perhaps that’s signing up for a Turkey Trot, volunteering, or watching a parade. Another great option is to ask around and see what coworkers or locals normally do to celebrate. You may even come home from your assignment with some new traditions that you’d like to share.


This period is also a great time to recharge those internal batteries and ground yourself. Sometimes isolation is just what your mind and body need. That could look like reading that book that you haven’t got to, planning your personal goals for the upcoming year, or setting time aside for your favorite hobby. Wherever you are on assignment, your days off are the perfect time to explore your new community and be a little selfish. Make sure to get as much quiet time in and then when you’re ready for it, there’s plenty to do and see.


If you’re not sure where to start, consider making a bucket list for the duration of your assignment. Hit up local breweries and restaurants, visit an ice-skating rink, or go camping. Looking for something more seasonal? Spread holiday cheer by watching your favorite holiday movies, decorating your place or workstation, dressing your pet up, driving around to look at lights, and more. And if you don’t want to do it all alone, you don’t have to! Need some additional inspiration? Read our blog, Thanksgiving Day Traditions for Healthcare Workers.


If you’re feeling a little bummed about being on assignment during the holidays, we want to remind you that you’re not alone! There are coworkers at your facility that are feeling the same emotions. If you find that you need some extra support, one of the many benefits that LRS Healthcare provides our travelers is our EAP Program. It might not always seem like it, but many wonderful things can come from working holiday shifts. Including higher pay, meeting and helping numerous individuals, and getting to delve into everything special that your new city has to offer! Not sure where to go? Explore some of our travel winter assignment hot spots. And when you’re ready to apply online for a travel assignment with LRS Healthcare, our Recruiters will be ready for you!


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