6 Tips How Travel Nurses Can Deal With Depression

travel nurses and depression

Travel nursing is probably one of the most rewarding nursing specialties. Apart from the great pay and endless opportunities, you’ll also have a life-changing adventure, sense of personal fulfillment, and career enhancement.

Although travel nursing is great, it can still be challenging at some point. At times, you’ll feel overworked, tired, and stressed out. You’ll lose your appetite, suffer from a weakened immune system and experience heightened emotional sensitivity. When not addressed early, these things can easily lead to depression.

So, what to do about it?

Whether you’re an experienced travel nurse or you’re new to this specialty, here are some of the best tips you can use to keep depression at bay.

Exercise regularly

yoga class

Make time to exercise consistently. You can try going for a swim or a run in a nearby park. If it’s your day off, go to the gym or attend a yoga class. Try to find the best local classes to make the experience a lot more exciting.

If you can’t go out, you can simply workout at home. There are several online workout routines you can watch and follow before or after your shift.

Being physically active can help reduce stress by causing the brain to release feel-good hormones. Spending about 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise can greatly reduce the signs and symptoms of mild to moderate depression.

Practice self-care

Before you actually arrive at your new location, make sure to do your research. Create a list of places you can visit. This can include restaurants, tourist spots or even events you’d like to check out. Take your list with you and be sure to add more by getting recommendations from locals.

As much as possible, eat healthy. Even when you’re not working in the hospital, it’s easy to forget eating when you’re enduring a tough shift and working long hours.

And when you are enjoying your stay, it’s easy to feel tempted to try out every local dish you see. Be mindful of what you eat and try to enjoy your meals in moderation.

Rely on your family and friends

travel nurses depression

Even when you are away, it doesn’t mean that there’s no way for you to remain in contact with the people close to your heart. Your family and friends are your support system so be sure to spend some time talking to them.

Give them a call whenever you’re free and whenever you are feeling bad and low. You’ll be surprised at how a single call can change your mood in an instant. Seeing them, even through video calls, can also make you feel like you’re actually catching up to them.

Don’t be afraid to say “no”

While you can’t really say no to your job, you have the option to choose your commitments.

If you are feeling tired, don’t be afraid to say no to your friends. If someone gives you a call and you’re not really in the mood or you simply don’t have the energy to talk, just say no.

Rejecting people might make you feel guilty at first. However, if you really value your mental health and your general well-being, you should prioritize yourself. You don’t always have to explain yourself and you don’t always have to please other people.

Be open to new experiences

Most travel nurses get overwhelmed with work that they forget why they chose the specialty in the first place. If you are feeling down and unhappy, it’s probably the right time to step out of your comfort zone.

Try out activities and hobbies you’ve never tried before. Go to places you’ve never seen and create experiences that you’ll treasure for the rest of your life. Go out and meet new people and build memories that’ll last.

Build a support system

support system

When you are in a foreign place, establishing a support system can be hard. There’s the issue of trust and language barrier. While your closest family and friends are the best people to make up your support system, you can also try reaching out to other travel nurses.

You see, it’s hard to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression if you’re the one experiencing them. Reaching out to other people for help can make it easier for you to recognize and address your situation.


It’s easy to see the link between travel nurses and depression. Being on the road and being far away from your loved ones isn’t easy, particularly when you have to endure long and stressful hours at work.

With these tips, however, you should be able to stop depression before it even hits you.

See Also: 10 Best Places To Travel Nurse