There’s nothing quite like discovering a new place on your own. It is one of the most exhilarating parts of travel nursing: moving around the country completely untethered. However, many travel nurses report missing their friends and family back home, and suffer from feelings of loneliness. Humans are inherently social creatures, so it is completely normal to feel lonely in a new place. While there are endless activities to do and places to explore on your days off, it may seem daunting or awkward to do these things by yourself as a new traveler. Here are some ways to avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment and make the most out of your contract.
Check Out Social Media Groups and Apps
Many nurses on assignment use social media and apps to meet new, like-minded people. Bumble, the dating app, has a “BFF” function where you can meet potential new friends. It’s simple: you create a profile, list things you enjoy doing and your personality type, and swipe until you match with a new friend to enjoy your new city with. A big plus is that if you meet someone who has been in that city for a while or grew up there, they can help show you around and get familiar with the town.
Facebook groups are also great for meeting new people. There are tons of groups out there for people with specific interests that live in your new town. For example, when I moved from my hometown to New York City, I joined a Facebook group of NYC residents who were fellow listeners of my favorite podcast. After posting that I was looking for people to explore the local live music scene with, I found a couple new friends in that group who I started going to concerts with. It was such a great tool to find people with common interests as I adjusted to life in my new city.
Join a Local Recreational Sports Group
If you’re more of a “Sporty Spice,” rec leagues are amazing places to meet new people and avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment. Recreational sports leagues provide opportunities for adults to play at beginner, intermediate and competitive levels in many athletic games. Simply Google rec sporting leagues in your new town and take a look at the local offerings. Whether you’re into bowling, volleyball, baseball, or even kickball, there’s a league for you. Rec sports are great at bringing people together, and you’re bound to have a blast while bonding with your team.
Take a Class
Signing up for various classes is one of the best tips on how to make friends in a new city. The freedom you have when it comes to choosing what type of class or classes to attend is what makes this piece of advice great. Whether it’s painting, dancing, improv, or working out, classes naturally bring people together around whatever activity sparks your interest. Not only does it help bring you out of your shell, attending a class regularly will allow you to surround yourself with consistent group of people. This will usually help foster new friendships, or at the very least, help you gain proficiency at a new skill or introduce you to a new hobby.
Reach Out to Coworkers
Being sociable and accessible at work is one of the best ways to make friends in a new city and avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment. Think about it – you already have something in common with your co-workers: nursing! Not to mention that you already interact with them on a daily basis. In addition to having meals with them in the break room, you could always invite them to watch a sports game or go to that great local brewery after work. Nurses tend to have a special bond with one another that can only come from being on the job, so it’s often super easy to connect with colleagues if you reach out.
Without a doubt, the noblest way to avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment is to volunteer at charitable organizations in the area. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, and it’s one of the most rewarding things a person can do in life. There are many ways you can volunteer your time depending on your interests and beliefs. First, pick a cause you’re passionate about. For example, if you love animals, then you should consider becoming a volunteer at the local animal shelter or humane society. If you’re passionate about the environment, join a local trash pick-up effort. There are tons of ways to give back while also being part of a group and meeting new people. Check out VolunteerMatch.org to see volunteer opportunities with organizations near you.
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