There are tons of benefits to a traveling medical career. We talk about them all the time and love hearing about the exciting things our professionals get to do and see thanks to the freedom that comes with a career as a traveling healthcare professional.
However, we also know there’s a flip side to this nomadic lifestyle, especially around the holidays. It can be difficult to spend the holidays away from family and friends, particularly in a new city with few familiar faces. Read our tips on beating the blues while traveling to keep your holiday cheer at optimal levels.
Recognize Holiday Depression
The most important self-care you can provide yourself is recognizing the signs of seasonal and holiday depression. Lots of people have heard of seasonal depression which is typically linked to lack of sun exposure during the winter. Holiday depression, however, is when the holidays are specifically responsible for feelings of sadness, anxiety, loneliness or self-reflection which is often negative in nature.
Reasons individuals experience seasonal depression can vary but they are often linked to stress (financial or otherwise), fatigue, unrealistic expectations or the inability to be near loved ones. If you’re feeling symptoms of holiday depression, talk to a professional about the best course of action. Never forego a mental health check if you feel persistent feelings of sadness, as they may be signs of a real issue.
One of the best ways to beat seasonal or holiday depression is through volunteer work. This may seem counterintuitive to someone who thinks “if I’m depressed, people should be helping me, not the other way around.” In actuality, volunteer work is a great way to get out of your own headspace and gain perspective. By helping out at a local soup kitchen or organizing a clothing drive, you not only distract yourself from the sadness you’re feeling, but also channel it into an activity you’ll feel good about.
It can be hard to pass on having a few extra drinks during the holidays, but excessive drinking can worsen symptoms of holiday depression. Because alcohol is a depressant in and of itself, compounding excess drinking and holiday depression can lead to increased feelings of loneliness or worthlessness. If you’re already having trouble getting over the holiday hump, you’ll want to pay extra attention to your drinking habits.
Keep in Close Contact
There is absolutely nothing wrong with calling your mom every day during the holiday season—she would probably love it actually. One of the best ways to mitigate feelings of holiday depression is also the simplest: Keep in touch with family and friends. Technology has made it even easier to find ways to communicate with the people you love no matter how far away they live. Whether you’re sending a holiday card of you and the dog, using a communications app like FaceTime or Skype or simply sending Snapchats of your daily activities, there’s no reason to sit in the feeling of being alone.
Surround Yourself With Things You Love
Photos of your friends and family, holiday decorations and scented candles are just a few of the many “positive triggers” you’ll want to surround yourself with during the holiday season. Take in all the small pleasures you can. Savor a favorite meal or get back into a passion you’ve put on the back burner and you’ll find your mood lightening quickly. If you’re having a hard time figuring out what your positive triggers are, write a list of things you’re grateful for. This can be a great way remind yourself about the good things in your life while also showing you what things make you happy!
Remember during the hustle and bustle of the season that the key to a truly happy holiday is self-care. From the team at LRS Healthcare, we wish you a healthy, happy holiday season and a joyous New Year!