How Travel Nurses Can Make it the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Isn’t it? It’s been a harder holiday season this year than most for travel nurses all around. On top of the cold and temperamental weather (depending on your contract location) travel nurses are battling feelings of exhaustion, isolation, frustration, and even anxiety as the continued rise in COVID-19 cases seems un-ending. It’s entirely possible that right now it doesn’t actually feel like the most wonderful time of the year.
There’s nothing wrong with struggling to get into the holiday spirit this year, but I would encourage you all to do something to try to observe this special time of the year, in respect of any religious or spiritual affiliation you may have, and not let it pass by totally unremarked. Moments of joy are important to our mental and even physical well-being. Joy can improve your immune system, and can even combat pain and stress. Right now, we could all use a boost to our immune systems, and definitely a decrease in stress.
Here we’ve come up with a few things travel nurses can do to help make it feel, even if only for a little while, the most wonderful time of the year.
Decorate and then Donate
Travel nurse lifestyle doesn’t make it very practical to have a big storage tub of holiday decorations to pack up when the season is over. Instead, head to a second-hand store or thrift shop, and browse the holiday section. Set a budget and focus on purchasing a few decorations that can bring some cheer to your temporary home. Then when the holiday season is over you can donate the items again.
Decorate by Using Live Greenery and Perishables
Alternatively, decorate your temporary home with real garland, or wreaths made of live pine. If you celebrate with a tree, buy a small real tree and string it with popcorn and cranberries. The aroma from live greenery will permeate your home space to give a cozy feeling and then can simply be thrown out when the time is right.
Simmer Potpourri to Smell the Holiday Spirit
Our sense of smell is tied to memory recall. For this reason, many people will smell something and say, oh this makes me think of ___. Common scents often tied to the holiday season are cinnamon, clove, apples, cranberries, or something citrusy mixed in. You can find lots of easy recipes online to make a simmering potpourri for your stovetop so your nose can trigger those feelings of holiday spirit and joyful nostalgia.
Christmas Movie Marathon
There’s no shortage of Christmas movies out there, they’ve really exploded to become their own genre. If you didn’t know it yet, the Hallmark Channel has tons of Christmas movies playing nonstop. Settle in for a Christmas movie, or two, or do a marathon. Some of my favorites include:
- White Christmas with Bing Crosby
- A Christmas Story
- Christmas with the Kranks
Spend a Little Time in the Kitchen
Many people who don’t do a lot of baking will get into the holiday spirit by having some fun in the kitchen. Put on some holiday music and bake up some cookies, or that favorite pie recipe of your grandmothers. Even if your results don’t taste the same as you might remember, the experience can be worthwhile. Part of the holiday spirit is giving and sharing. So, share the fruits of your kitchen labor with coworkers, housemates, or even neighbors.
Organize a Present Swap
If you’re living in agency provided housing, you may have housemates. Alternatively, if you live alone, look to coworkers or neighbors. Organize a small gift exchange, something with a price limit, or even a white elephant theme. With social distancing measures being a current priority, consider hiding the individual gifts or leaving them on doorsteps instead of a gathering for everyone to open gifts together.
Keep in mind that if this holiday season is different than your typical one, that it also won’t be your last holiday season. Next year you will be in another place, perhaps closer to friends and family, or perhaps not. This year will be one to remember, and while some of the memories will be focused on the tumult of the pandemic, you just might find yourself reminiscing on the uniqueness of how you experienced this holiday season. These little tips are things you can do to bring you some cheer, and who knows? Maybe some of these things you’ll enjoy enough to start a new tradition.