How to Take a Break from Travel Nursing

Travel nursing can be a rewarding and exciting career, but the constant changes and moving can also wear you out. Taking an intentional break from travel nursing can help you return to the job refreshed and reinvigorated. It can also proactively help to prevent burnout.

Even though your scenery changes consistently when you take on a new assignment, you still need vacation time. Take some time to slow down, spend time with friends, and listen to your body.

If you’ve been on back-to-back assignments recently, consider these questions to help you determine when and how long your break should be.

 How much time should I take off? 
Only you can decide the amount of time off that feels like a true break. Considering logistics will help you make a sound decision:

  • How long can you survive financially without working?
  • Will you still have access to medical insurance during your break?
  • Does your family, significant other, or roommate support your plan?

 What will you do during your break? 
An idea of how you’ll spend your off time is crucial to a successful break, especially because you’re used to a fast-paced environment as a travel nurse. Here are some suggestions to fill your “working” hours while taking time off.

  • Rest and relax. If you’re mainly looking forward to catching up on your sleep, allow a few days to veg out. Resting isn’t laziness—it’s an essential component of staying healthy and fit.

  • Catch up with friends and family. If you are coming off a busy travel season, you should definitely make time for friends and family. Reach out ahead of your time off so you can start socializing as soon as you’re back home.

  • Tackle home improvements or repairs. When you only have a short time between assignments, it’s easy to put off tasks related to the upkeep of your home. Use an extended break to tackle those often-ignored items.

  • Focus on your favorite hobbies. If you’ve neglected your hobbies because you’ve been so busy, an extended period without work is a great time to reinvest in what delights your soul. Return to some old favorites or pick up a new pastime.

  • Take professional courses. Having a set amount of time off can also allow you to grow professionally through classes or certifications that might be easier to accomplish without working full-time. Investing in your career could also provide you with clarity about what comes next.

 What does the future hold for you? 
Boarding planes or driving long hours constantly from job to job keeps your mind focused on the present tasks at hand. Use your break to visualize what you want your future to look like.

 For example, consider what you love about travel nursing and what you don’t—and if a change is needed. Maybe you can explore closer-to-home job possibilities, or perhaps you’d like to focus on a different aspect of nursing.

 Also, think about your housing —is it still working for you both at your home base and when traveling? For instance, some travel nurses have embraced mobile living, while others rely on staffing agency housing recommendations or places. If you want to change that aspect of your travel, taking an extended break is an excellent time to re-evaluate and explore your options.

 Overall, remember that we all deserve breaks. Planning for time off is a healthy way to keep your body and mind fully present in your work as a healthcare professional. So, use your off time wisely to rebalance your work and life, and you’ll be ready to re-enter travel nursing, rejuvenated and refreshed. 

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