While the hustle and bustle of the holidays can be invigorating, the cold dark months afterward can be a letdown — particularly for on-the-road travel nurses. However, there’s no need to let the winter doldrums get you down. Instead, follow these five tips designed to help you sail through to spring’s thaw.
1. Move It
Sure, nothing sounds better when the thermometer dips low than curling up on your sofa with a good book and waiting for warmer days, but while this is okay every once in awhile, it can also be detrimental to your physical and emotional health if it becomes a way of life.
There’s no simpler way to raise your spirits than by moving your body. Whether you head to the gym, pop in an exercise DVD, or just talk a walk, focusing on fitness will not only help you look better when shorts season rolls around, but will actually help you feel better too thanks to the feel-good endorphins exercise triggers.
Struggling to get motivated? Increase the accountability factor by enlisting a friend as your workout buddy.
2. Hello, Sunshine!
The weather outside may be frightful, but the sun isn’t completely gone. Whenever it does manage to shine through, seize the opportunity to soak up some spirit-lifting vitamin D. Just be sure to wear your sunscreen as damage can occur even when it’s cold outside. One tip for weathering life in a cold climate? Invest in the right winter weather gear. Or, a the Norwegians say, “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.”
If natural sunlight is particularly hard to come by and your mood is less-than-magical, bright-light therapy offers benefits, as well.
3. Ohm My!
Meditation’s brain and body benefits have long been known, but research recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicates that mindfulness meditation may actually be as effective as antidepressants when it comes to countering depression.
The best part? You only need a few minutes a day to start putting mindfulness to work for you.
4. Child’s Play
Travel nurses have demanding schedules, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find time to relax every now and then. One way to feel like a child again? Play like a child again.
Find something you love to do and do it whenever you get the chance. Schedule a coffee date with a friend, join a book club or pick-up sports team, or just head to the mall for some window shopping.
If you live in an area with snow, meanwhile, plenty of opportunities for recreation abound. Lace up those ice skates or snap on those ski boots for some good, old-fashioned outdoor fun. Or, round up some friends, grab some metal trays, and head to the nearest sledding hill.
These activities aren’t just entertaining; they also create chances to connect with others.
5. Hug It Out
Speaking of connecting with others, did you know that hugging has proven health benefits? The next time you’re feeling low, reach out and hug someone. You won’t just feel better, you’ll also reduce your risk of infection and give your immune system a beautiful boost in the process. In other words, while a flu shot is always your first line of defense against the dreaded flu, hugging a friend or family member may be a surprising second.
Why worry about whether the groundhog will see its shadow this year when you can embrace winter and all of its wonders instead? Not to mention that if you commit to making the most of every moment, flip-flop season will be here before you know it.