BHS Blog / Healthcare News and Trends

How to Manage Self-Care When on Assignment

Posted on: October 17th, 2019

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Self-care is proven to have positive effects on a person’s emotional and physical health. Some may consider self-care to be an indulgence, arguing it is selfish to set aside time for yourself. In today’s busy world, it’s not enough to assume that we’ll find time to fit self-care in our schedule. It often requires consciously making time by planning to incorporate self-care into our day.

What is Self-Care

Self-care expands beyond caring for daily hygiene and physical needs. It includes nurturing emotional health, happiness, and well-being. Successfully incorporating self-care into your routine will show positive results in your mood, stress and anxiety levels, and relationships with others.

Some of us may already reap the benefits of incorporating self-care into our daily routine, but may find when we’re out of our element it’s more difficult to prioritize self-care. When traveling is part of your job, planning ways to incorporate self-care can help reduce stress and ensure that you get the most out of your trip.

Incorporating Self-Care Into Your Routine

It is easy to notice the difference in ourselves when we prioritize things such as sleep, healthy eating, and exercise. Here are some examples of how to incorporate self-care into your busy routine:

  • Improve sleep by reducing caffeine and sugar intake.To help you sleep, consider downloading a meditation app.
  • Pack your favorite pillow or slippers, little luxuries like a satin pillowcase, or a sleep mask.
  • Eating healthy is easier when you stock up on nutritious foods and plan meals. While traveling, try to avoid the vending machine and choose healthier alternatives, but don’t forget to treat yourself with the local specialty dish.
  • Exercising can help you feel more positive and combat jet lag. Explore new areas by taking a walk, bicycling, or checking out a nearby gym for short-term specials for travelers.
  • Manage your time instead of letting time manage you by saying no to negative people and unnecessary tasks. Limit your screen time; try to only use it to maintain connections with family and friends.

Prepare to Travel

Traveling can be stressful. Here are some tips to reduce the stresses that can make going on assignment challenging as well as ways to include self-care:

  • Organize important documents necessary for your trip.
  • Inform your family and friends of your travel plans so they know when to expect an update. You might want to consider downloading a locating app so your family can track you during your travels.
  • It’s easy to lose track of dates and times when away from your usual routine. Set your calendar with reminders for medications, important dates, or other scheduling items you don’t want to miss.
  • Prepare for cabin pressure changes by packing gum or filtered ear plugs. Don’t forget compression socks for long flights, noise cancelling headphones, and that book you’ve been waiting to read to make your flight more enjoyable.

What Not To Do While on Assignment

Traveling to new destinations and working in different environments can be both exciting and overwhelming. To help prioritize self-care, plan for what you’re not going to do while on assignment.

If you’re not going to…

  • get overwhelmed by emails, be sure to designate a time to check them. It will decrease your email stress if you schedule an automated out of office response message to be sent while traveling.
  • ditch your routine while you’re traveling. Plan for indulgences instead of treating every day like a free-for-all and forgoing all your healthy habits.
  • worry about visiting every must see at a new destination, prioritize what is important to you. It could be the favorite tourist attraction, an old library, or even local dive bars.

If you have a difficult time leaving your pet(s) at home, you can check to see if your destination is pet friendly. A lot of the time, hotels can accommodate you and your companions. If you are missing your family, you can use video chat to communicate with loved ones. Finally, you can also indulge in some of your favorite comfort foods to remind you of home.

Prioritize Self-Care

Self-care is an opportunity for you to prioritize you. In the chaos of everyday life, it is easy to lose sight of caring for yourself. It is critical that no matter how busy life gets, that you put aside some time to focus on making yourself happy. As a travel nurse with Barton Healthcare Staffing, you can mold your schedule to meet all your self-care needs.

Maureen Bonatch MSN, RN
About Maureen Bonatch MSN, RN

Maureen Bonatch MSN, BSN, RN draws from years of experience in nursing administration, leadership and psychiatric nursing to write healthcare content. Her work has appeared in numerous health system websites and healthcare journals. Her experience as a fiction author helps her craft engaging and creative content. Learn more about her freelance writing at and her fiction books at