Traveling can be exciting. Visiting different places and discovering new things might make adhering to daily routines feel like it may diminish the adventure. Although, drastic changes in your regular sleep schedule, eating habits, and exercise routine can have you feeling as if you need a vacation to recover from your vacation.
If you're on assignment, spending an extended time traveling may be normal. Maybe you chose travel assignments because you like change, and enjoy experiencing new destinations, but that doesn't mean maintaining a routine has to be boring. Understanding the benefits may help avoid having routines feel like a chore, but rather that they are essential to your feelings of well-being.
Benefits of a Routine
A healthy routine can help you to better handle stress, cope with change, achieve goals, and manage your time. During times of change, routines can provide normalcy and stability, allowing you to complete daily tasks on autopilot. This may free your mind from thinking too much about the task itself, and provide time to concentrate on more complicated tasks, or allow for creative thinking.
Expecting to continue with the same routine can be difficult when everything in your environment has changed. Many of us are creatures of habit, so incorporating some of the comforts of home in your new place by organizing your clothing, adding familiar scents, and other personal items may help you maintain more of your typical day.
Healthy Routines for Travel
If you understand yourself and your habits, clarify your work expectations and the usual schedule for your new role, you can plan ahead to adjust your time to incorporate healthy routines.
There’s no doubt that exercising is beneficial for reducing stress, increasing energy, and overall well-being, but without a little planning, even the most dedicated may be challenged to maintain an exercise routine while traveling, or working in a new destination.
Consider your choice of exercise when choosing your location and determine how to maintain your exercise routine.
- Consider if there are nearby bike rentals or trails for your commute
- Find the closest gym
- While networking, ask about exercise options, and healthy eating establishments
- Connect with a workout or an online accountability partner to maintain motivation
- Pack resistance bands, weights and/or a mat, and use online or televised exercise programs
- Walk during breaks, take the stairs, and explore the area
Get Adequate Sleep
If the rotating shifts that often accompany working in healthcare aren’t enough to interrupt your sleep, changes in time zones, and sleeping in an unfamiliar environment may. If you’re sleep deprived, even the simplest tasks can become challenging, and may result in headaches, irritability, and fatigue.
A few ways to improve your sleep while traveling include:
- Adjust your sleep schedule 3-5 days prior to departure
- Avoid overdoing it with caffeine
- Use earplugs or white noise
- Silence your phone
- Use a sleep mask
- Bring your favorite pajamas
Focus on Healthy Eating
The fatigue and havoc associated with changes to your schedule, or daily stressors, can tempt you to opt for emotional eating. Incorporate time to shop for healthy choices to avoid choosing the vending machine, unhealthy convenience foods, or fast food. Take advantage of opportunities to try local cuisine and choose a smaller portion, or split the portion to take home for another meal.
In addition to physical health, it’s helpful to focus on nurturing your emotional well-being. Extended time traveling can result in disconnect with family and friends. Fortunately, in addition to a phone call, technology provides various ways to stay involved with our loved ones.
Use group texts, FaceTime or other video group conferencing, or browse through social media to view photos so you don’t feel as if you’re missing out on your family and friend’s day-to-day life. If you’re on an extended assignment, choose a location they might like to visit.
New Places, Same Routines
It’s easy to let routines slide while traveling, but as a healthcare worker, your health should be a priority. Maintaining healthy routines while traveling may help you enjoy a better work-life balance, and can help improve your emotional and physical well-being.
Talk to one of our recruiters to learn more about opportunities to work while traveling to new destinations. A little planning can help you to maintain your routines, so that each new place feels a little like home.