There's no place like alone for the holidays...
Whether your travel assignment has you rockin' around the Christmas tree solo this year, or your physical distancing from family and friends, there are still so many ways to feel at home (or at least a little closer to it) during the holidays. Here are a few ideas to make the season seem a little easier when you're spending it alone.
When You're A Medical Traveler Alone For The Holidays
Find creative ways to tinsel the town
This time of year is a magical one, full of lights, laughter and people making plans. Being alone for the holidays is a good opportunity to put yourself out there and be a part of something merry and bright.
Volunteer your time.
This is always a top suggestion for the, "What do I do during the holidays?" question, but that's because it really makes a huge impact. Doing something for others always leaves you with a warm feeling. If you can't be near family, why not give back to the community you are a part of for the next several weeks? Another great way to volunteer your time is to make sure you work those holiday shifts, so perm staff and other healthcare professionals who have been overworked can take a break.
Lean into your travel family.
If you are at a facility with other travelers, reach out to them and create your own traveler holiday celebration. You're all in the same boat. Whether that means being able to see each other on a break at work, or including a small group of responsible coworkers who are practicing physical distancing too, now is a good opportunity to use your time away from home as a chance to make new friends and connections, confide in your coworkers about how you're doing mentally this year, and maybe even start a traveler holiday tradition.
Host your family and friends virtually.
Technology makes it easy to keep your friends and family one touch of a button away. You don't have to be a tech-savvy person to stay in touch. Take your video chats to a new level... Bring the holiday party to you via your computer screen! Given the extra precautions some are taking this year, it could take some logistical planning to get your family in the same zip code as you, let alone when you're on a travel assignment. If you can't make it to their holiday celebration, set up a video chatting device during the get-together. It allows you to see everyone and listen in, watch people open gifts, and experience the gathering almost as if you didn't miss out at all. Hosting a holiday party online could also take some extra planning, but with some good spirits and the help of online games and apps, you can stay connected even if you're far away.
Deck the halls like a solo pro
This has been a long year for many people, so getting in the holiday spirit can help improve your mental state. Nothing says scrooge more than a bare apartment, even if you're only there temporarily on assignment. Spending the holidays alone doesn't mean you need to go bare bones! You still deserve all the trimmings! (Bonus: you get to eat all the cookies yourself.)
Make your space merry and bright.
We know it's hard to travel with a lot of stuff. Most of the time you're thinking about what you can live without carting around to your next travel assignment. But if you're away from home during the holidays, consider some holiday cheer in the form of decor. A mini tree, some string lights, a little bit of tinsel... whatever makes you feel at home could make your season and your living space more festive. And hey, every tree needs a good holiday home to head to, so check out some local tree farms for special deals on pre-cut trees. Plus you can recycle your tree after the season ends, and you won't have to store it or haul to to your next assignment.
Bring back the memories and traditions.
Make a traditional holiday meal. Nothing brings on the memories like a traditional meal or side dish you grew up with. But just because you're on a travel assignment during the holidays doesn't mean you can't create your own dish, or replicate one that you love. Ask your family for the recipe and try your hand at that homemade goodness.
Give yourself the gift of self-care.
The buzzword of self-care has been everywhere lately. That doesn't mean it's not true! A low-key holiday can be the perfect time to self-reflect and spend time on you. Maybe you need a little downtime to rest and relax. Maybe you need to focus on staying grounded during the busy season. Psychology Today has some tips for holiday self care you can use. Here's a summary:
• Keep exercise essential
• Get in touch with gratitude
• Protect your sleep
• Feel (don't eat or drink) your feelings
• Give yourself the present
Focus on yourself this season. Having a little alone time is ideal for self-reflection and goal planning. Take advantage of the down time to remember the year and focus on what the future will bring for you in the upcoming year.
New year, new travel goals.
Do you have bucket list locations you want to get an assignment at? A new skill you want to learn? Spend some time planning out your travel life in the new year. Check with your recruiter to see if you have the skill set and opportunity to start checking some of those places off your travel bucket list.
Being alone for the holidays comes with unexpected opportunities. Make the most of your home-away-from-home holiday season. 'Tis the season for caring, but when you're miles apart from family and friends, it can be difficult to feel close. There are ways to reach out and spark joy in their hearts and yours. Thanks to all our medical travelers who keep their holiday spirits high when they're working away from home during the holidays.