Working as locums physician more often than not requires you to travel for work. Many work assignments may range from a few days to 6 months at a time. This means you will spend an extensive amount of time traveling away from home. While traveling as a locums physician may be good for your career, it can wreak havoc on your health. However, using these five tips will ensure that you stay in tip-top shape while being on the road.
- Drink Water, Lots of It.
Traveling is extremely dehydrating. The air in airplanes, hotels, and hospitals is very drying. Therefore, it is easy to get dehydrated while traveling for a locums assignment. In order to combat this, you must be intentional about staying well hydrated. Avoid alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and high sodium food. Drink water on a regular and consistent basis, aiming for about one gallon of water each day.
- Minimize Eating Out
The stress of traveling combined with stress of being on a locums assignment makes it very tempting to eat out. However, we all know that restaurant food, fast food, and junk food are high in fat, sodium, and calories. Therefore, minimize eating this kind of food while traveling. In order to do this, take healthy snacks with you while traveling. Furthermore, stay at a hotel that provides a complimentary breakfast. You can eat a healthy breakfast consisting of oatmeal, fruit, bagels, etc. This will allow to avoid stopping a McDonald’s for an Egg McMuffin on your way in to work.
Furthermore, stay at a hotel with a kitchenette so you can prepare your meals. If a hotel with a kitchenette is not available, stay at a hotel with a microwave and mini refrigerator. You can buy healthy frozen prepackaged meals, or you can prepare food in your hotel room. I can make a healthy well balanced meal consisting of a lean meat, whole grain carbohydrate, and a vegetable in my hotel room using just a microwave and a mini-fridge. In addition to that, take your lunch and snacks with you to work. In my experience, hospital cafeterias have some of the unhealthiest food. So, to avoid being tempted to eat pizza every day for lunch, take your lunch to work.
Another option is to take advantage of meal delivery services. Icon Meals offers healthy, customizable meals that they will ship to you. I order my meals online and have them shipped to my hotel. Click here and enter the code stephanie10 for your 10% discount.
- Continue your exercise routine
Most hotels have exercise rooms with a treadmill, elliptical, and weights. You can also access various exercise routines online. You Tube has countless free routines for yoga, Pilates, toning, weight training, Zumba, you name it. If you are going to be at a locums assignment for a few months, consider joining a gym or the local YMCA. Most gyms no longer require contracts and you can cancel your membership once your locums assignment is over. Furthermore, see if the hospital where you will be working has an employee fitness center. If it does, see if you can get access to it.
- Maintain your routine
Being away from home on a locums assignment can be stressful. One way to combat that stress is to maintain your normal routine as much as you can. Try to wake up and go to bed the same time every day. Continue your exercise regimen. Eat the same types of foods (healthy foods) while on your locums assignment that you do at home. Maintaining your routine as much as you possibly can keep you in sync and helps minimize the stress associated with traveling for locums
- Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Make sure that while working on a locums assignment you get as much sleep as you can. It is imperative that you are well rested so you can function at your maximal level. The nature of our work as physicians makes getting an adequate amount of sleep difficult at times. However, you must practice and maintain good sleep hygiene while traveling as a locums physician.
Following these simple steps will ensure that your health and wellness routine stays intact while you are traveling for locums.
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