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Taking Care on the Road

Taking Care on the Road

At times on the road, it's tough to maintain a positive attitude and keep your energy level high. After all, you're always the new kid on the block who has to prove yourself, and you're far from your support network of family and friends. Try our tips for how you can take care of yourself emotionally and physically while traveling for work.

Make Yourself Comfortable

You can't create a permanent "nest" when you're traveling, but you can carry items or symbols with you that make you feel at home anywhere. A concrete item, like your favorite bathrobe, could address your nest-building needs while you're away from home. So could colors, tastes or smells, says John-Henry Pfifferling, director of the Center for Professional Well-Being, a Durham, North Carolina, nonprofit educational organization devoted to promoting well-being among healthcare professionals.

Make Connections

Don't be a hermit outside of work. "Because you're in an isolating situation, you have to reach out more," Pfifferling says. Visiting a church, hooking up with your college's alumni association or meeting fellow fans of your favorite sports team will bind you with an "extended family," Pfifferling says.

Take Advantage of Your Free Time

Don't lose sight of the reason you chose to travel. During her years as a traveler, Lynn Blissard, an ICU nurse who has done a lot of traveling for work assignments, has explored South Carolina, Arizona, California and Illinois. Your days off can also be used to cultivate your hobbies. Blissard scuba dives and takes piloting lessons.

Stay Active and Eat Right

The more fit you are, the better able you'll be to handle the stress of your job on the road, Pfifferling says. Exercise regularly, avoid too much caffeine and eat nutritiously. Shift workers should take special care to prepare healthy meals rather than indulge in readily available junk food. Try to eat with others, as people who eat alone are more vulnerable to overeating, Pfifferling says.

Stay in Touch

Call and email your family and friends regularly. If you're on an extended business trip, plan to visit or host your loved ones, even if only for a few days. The holidays could be an especially rough time for novice travelers, so plan ahead for them. Pfifferling recommends sending cards, letters and emails well in advance of the holidays, guaranteeing you'll receive more correspondence the week of the actual event. If rituals are important to you, make sure you observe them by decorating, worshipping or building a shrine, for example.

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