Achieving a true work/life balance is difficult in the best of circumstances; the life of a travel nurse is most certainly not the best of circumstances and can present its own set of difficulties. When you are hours from home and all you are familiar with, how is it possible to accomplish a balance to make your experiences as productive and beneficial as possible? We’ll explore some options here.
Part one: Exercise
This can be tough, even for those who are inclined to keep a normal exercise regimen. Perhaps your local gym does not have a franchise in your new area? One quick fix for this is to visit the websites of any gym within the distance you’re comfortable traveling to and looking for a free trial coupon. Some gyms offer one free visit while others can offer up to 2 weeks at no cost to you. This gives you a chance to try out the facilities and the atmosphere before making a decision. Some locations have so many fitness centers that you can conceivably get a few months of workouts in without problems.
What about the commitment required? Most gyms want you to sign up for a contract and then autodraft a payment from your account each month over the span of a year or more. As this is not viable for the average travel nurse, ask locations you visit about the option of day passes, where you pay only for the day you are actually working out. This can add up quickly if you are interested in attending often but it keeps you from being bound by an obligation you may not be able to meet. Another suggestion would be to find a workout partner who can bring a guest along and come to an arrangement with them. Also, when looking into housing options, you may find a hotel with a fitness center.
Exercise is an essential component to good health and most experts agree that even some exercise yields tremendous rewards. ITechPost shared that the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found in a study that “just one session of moderate exercise could already be enough to keep inflammation down”. Newsmax describes a study done in Finland that “showed that participating in moderate or high-levels of physical activity were associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and decreased risk of death from all causes, including strokes or heart attacks”.
Exercise not only has physical benefits but can even impact your brain. According to Shape Magazine, a study by “Penn State University research shows that getting fit (coupled with getting enough iron) not only builds muscles, but can actually boost brain power.” The New York Times reported recently that a new study showed that “people’s mental health tended to demonstrably improve if they were physically active.” The May 23, 2016 online edition of Neurology reports that exercise may help older people slow their rate of cognitive decline”. ZME Science states that the results of research from the University of Auckland, New Zealand indicate that moderate exercise “is enough to promote neuroplasticity or the brain’s ability to reshape itself.”
As a travel nurse, exercise is a great way to relieve stress, a wonderful reason to get out and about in a new town and certainly an immensely beneficial way to spend your down time. Making this a priority for yourself will help you to find balance amidst the chaos of life on the road.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our work/life balance series!