Nov 15, 2023
Staying Healthy During Winter Travel Assignments
As a traveling healthcare provider, you are used to caring for others when they are not feeling well. However, especially when embarking on assignments during the winter months, it’s essential for travel nurses and traveling healthcare workers to pay extra attention to their health and wellbeing. With some proactive steps, you can stay healthy and thrive during your winter travel assignments.
Boost Your Immune System
To stay healthy during winter assignments, maintaining a strong immune system is paramount. Adequate sleep, regular exercise, and a balanced diet filled with immune boosting foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can make a significant difference. Consider taking vitamin supplements, especially vitamin D, which can be deficient in winter when there’s less sunlight.
The dry, indoor heating during winter can lead to dehydration. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Proper hydration helps maintain the mucous membranes in your respiratory tract, which can be a defense against respiratory infections. Consider this your sign to get that big fancy water bottle you’ve had your eye on!
Take Breaks and Rest
Travelers often work long hours, and it’s easy to get caught up in the demands of your assignment. However, taking breaks and getting enough rest is essential for staying healthy. Avoid burnout by pacing yourself and ensuring you get adequate sleep, even if it means adjusting your schedule. To read more about avoiding burnout as a travel healthcare provider, check out our article, What To Do About Healthcare Burnout.
Flu season typically peaks during the winter months, so getting a flu shot is crucial. As a healthcare professional, you’ll likely have access to flu vaccinations, and it’s wise to take advantage of this opportunity. Additionally, consider staying up to date on other vaccinations, such as the COVID-19 vaccine, to protect yourself while working among vulnerable patients or those who are more likely to be contagious.
Practice Good Hand Hygiene
As a healthcare professional, you already understand the importance of good hand hygiene. During the winter season, this becomes even more crucial, as cold and flu viruses can spread easily. Especially when you aren’t at work, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use hand sanitizers when necessary. If you are traveling with family or living with a fellow traveler, it may also be a great time to remind them to do the same!
Winter assignments can be emotionally taxing, especially if you’re far from home and experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Practice stress management techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and yoga to maintain mental well-being. Consider connecting with local support groups, fellow travel nurses or other traveling healthcare workers to share experiences and seek emotional support. For more mental wellness tips, check out our article, Nurturing Mental Health and Wellbeing as a Healthcare Traveler.
Plan for Seasonal Activities
While focusing on your health is crucial, don’t forget to make the most of your winter assignment. If your assignment is in a cold climate, enjoy local winter activities, such as ice skating, skiing, or sledding, to make your experience memorable and enjoyable. If you’re in a milder climate, take advantage of the great weather and get outdoors. Fresh air and sunshine are vital for good health.
Staying healthy as a traveler is not just essential for your wellbeing but also for the wellbeing of your patients. By taking proactive measures to protect your health, you can ensure a successful and fulfilling winter assignment while making a positive impact on the healthcare system and the communities you serve. If you’re looking for a winter travel assignment, Aequor’s dedicated recruiters are ready to help! Visit the Aequor Talent Portal to browse thousands of open positions in cold or warm climates.
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