Mental Health on the Go
Here you are.
In a brand new city.
In a brand new hospital.
And it hits you.
You are LONELY.
And anxiety takes over.
And you just want to curl up.
And you think "Why did I think this was a good idea?"
Don't worry, my friend.
We've all been there.
We are constantly stepping into the unknown.
We are choosing a life of uncertainty.
That comes with mega blasts of cortisol and our sympathetic nervous system is hanging out in fight or flight mode for a wee too long.
It needs a break sometimes.
Plus, we are in caregiving roles.
We care for people in their hardest times.
And sometimes, they sure don't treat us with gratitude.
And sometimes, the staff doesn't even act like a team.
So enter: stress, anxiety, depression, sadness, loneliness and a big a scoop of self-doubt.
We are living our own nightmare version of "Inside Out" from Pixar!
Step one: Acknowledge that those feelings have come to play for a second.
Step two: Take a breath and know how normal this is.
Actually, shockingly normal for those of us in the travel healthcare industry.
According to a 2012 report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative, about 9% of the population suffers from depression, and that number is doubled in nurses.
And... this study didn't even take into account travel nurses. But we could venture to guess the number is higher yet for us.
Step three: Be grateful for sadness?
Hard times in life are not bad.
Actually, they are our biggest teachers.
They connect us to our heart and realign us to our internal compass so we can re-assess what is important to us.
But when you are in those low times, (I know) it's hard to feel grateful for them.
Here are some resources to help us out when life is in the "giving us lessons" season.
Or when we want to just understand our thought patterns more and level up in life!
Active Listening and Counseling (Free)
Sometimes you just need a listening ear.
Nobody telling you how you're wrong.
Just a compassionate listener.
For this, we found 7 Cups.
We love this website because it has both free and paid services, depending on what you’re looking for.
Let's face it: we all have those occasional bad days. Those days when you want to go home and yell.
If you're traveling alone and are working in a new hospital then you may not have anybody to hear you vent.
That's what 7Cups trained listeners are for.
They will listen to your stories and allow you to expell all of your frustrations until you feel better.
Or, if you are struggling with mental health and feel like you need a licensed therapist, you can pay a monthly subscription fee.
This is a great resource if you have occasional down days. However, licensed therapist responses are limited to one per day, so if you are struggling with severe depression, you may want to consider other options.
Whether you are a Travel Nurse, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Speech-Language Pathologist or one of the many more traveling healthcare workers, your happiness and mental health is essential to your successful career.
But it can be hard to feel positive and happy all the time, especially when we're traveling.
And that's perfectly okay.
But we're changing locations every 13 weeks or so. It's impossible to have a consistent therapist.
... or is it!
If regular (unlimited) therapy sessions are what you need, then we recommend BetterHelp.
BetterHelp uses only licensed therapists with a choice of a variety of methods: messaging, live chat sessions, live phone sessions, and even video sessions.
And you can remain anonymous if you want.
The cost can range from $35 -$70 per week for unlimited interactions. Now, this might sound like a lot at first. But, when you take in consideration that face-to-face therapy sessions can cost upwards of $150 each session, this is actually a great deal!
The only downside is that they do not accept most health insurances. But their goal is to make mental healthcare accessible and affordable.
Depression Recovery Groups
Support Each Other / Pay What You Can
If talking one-on-one with a licensed therapist doesn't feel productive for you, don't worry.
Traditional therapy is not for everybody.
We are unique.
As unique individuals, not every method is going to work for every person.
We may not even want to talk about our own problems or feel comfortable confiding in strangers. And that's okay too.
Group Therapy is a great alternative!
Listening to other people's situations, emotions and stories helps us know that we are not alone.
And one group therapy resource we found for when you're on the road is Depression Recovery Groups.
Every session is lead by a professionally trained group leader, not a volunteer.
The sessions are also confidential and anonymous.
And you won't be forced to share any information that you don't want to share, it's okay to just listen.
Trust me, I know it can be intimidating to put yourself out there. But you might also be surprised how rewarding group therapy can be.
One bonus to this site is that there is no contract or monthly fee.
This site is designed to help people, not put them in debt. So the payments are donation only: you just pay what you can.
So if you're curious, try it out.
It can't hurt. And it might just help.
When you want to level up: Get an accountability coach
We are empowered travelers. As if life is meant to just be about getting to neutral.
We are here to really live! And to explore, push ourselves and become better people as we travel.
Ah, but there is one little problem. We have old habits that get in the way of this new version of ourselves we know is in there.
We have old thought patterns.
We have trouble deciding what to focus on or work towards.
We get ... well lazy!
It is proven time and again that successful people state their goals out loud and seek out coaches to help keep them on track. They use what they know about human nature to support what they want to get out of life.
Many successful people pay thousands and thousands of dollars a month for a coach. They want the most out of life and just like we have coaches in sports- they know hiring someone that is doing a part of life or habit better than them is exactly who they want to be surrounded with.
With coach.me we get to do this and it's affordable.
Their services range from free, to $15 a week and on up depending on what level of coaching you are looking for.
You pick your goal, pick a coach and you will text/chat with them everyday to monitor progress and get tips along the way.
You could want to be healthier, meal plan, meditate, wake up early, have a daily gratitude practice, write a book, be more productive.
Whatever it is, there will be a coach ready to cheer you on as you level up your life!
Headspace and Calm
Taking care of your mental health can be through the simple act of meditation.
I know, I know. It's not always as simple as it sounds.
We are constantly receiving micro traumas in our every day lives.
We can't turn on a TV or computer without being bombarded with terrible news and heartbreaking stories.
We can't take out our phone without receiving constant social media notifications, texts and emails.
So how are we expected to clear our minds?
We found a couple of apps to help with this!
Headspace and Calm are two of the meditation apps that we liked the best.
Headspace focuses on stress-reduction, sleep assistance, and meltdown exercises.
Calm helps you break bad habits, remain mindful, and sleep better.
I actually like to use both apps because they focus on different goals and use different methods to get you there.
Meditation has so many benefits!
It can help you in your every day life and in your work life and promotes happiness and fulfillment.
Family, Friends and Recruiters
What a beautiful thing it is to be raw and really seen by those who have earned our trust.
It takes courage. We spend so much time thinking other's lives are perfect (ahem.. thanks facebook) that we want to tuck away all the sadness or fear and want to always say "I'm great!"
Ah. But we are not always great. And the longer we spend playing pretend the the lonelier we feel.
Trust the people who love you to love you in your messiness. We are not meant to do life alone.
Connection is why we are here- humans are hard wired to connect. But your friends and family can only connect with you and see you in your pain if you have the courage to bring it to them.
Learning to let others in is brave. And it is 100% worth it.
You are worth being seen and heard.
Exactly as you really are.
Crisis Text Line
Suicide is Never the Answer
text HOME to 741741 or call 1-800-273-8255.
If you are in real emotional distress.
If you are in a state of thinking there is only one way out. If you are thinking about suicide- don't overthink it- just call this number. It is there 24/7. Let these professionals help you.
It may seem SO impossible to believe it will get any better.
A happy future can seem so far away.
But just trust in the people who have walk this path before you- and have amazing lives on the other side of this pain.
You are at your rock bottom.
But I promise- there is such beauty that can come of every little thing you are going through.
You are here for a purpose. Just take a breath and even if you don't feel like it - call the number. Or text. And just start going through the motions of the next steps.
You will feel better again. You will look back and be so grateful you took the next steps.
This Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a FREE and confidential place for you to get the emotional support you need.
Remember that suicide is NEVER the answer. There are people who love and care about you.
We found that the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website has some amazing stories that you can read about people who were experiencing a crisis and found a way to overcome and recover from it.
You are not alone.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor.
This is to be helpful and for education purposes only.
It's a resource to let you know of some of the cool options out there but in no way to be used as a treatment guideline. Chat with your doctor for that!
Laura & the Nomadicare Team xo
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