SEAS THE MIND, the mental health training provider for the maritime industry are back with their monthly blogs that are dedicated to promoting an environment that cultivates a strong sense of healthy wellbeing onboard. SEAS THE MIND was started by two ex-yacht chefs who recognised the need to start a more transparent conversation around mental health within the industry, and they have worked to create a training program specifically for Mental Health First Aid onboard.
In this month’s blog, they cover stress and anxiety, and how to keep as calm as you possibly can onboard.
Mental Health Awareness Week: Anxiety
This year, the subject for Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 is: anxiety. It’s a significant topic because we all experience anxiety and anxious moments in our lives, but it is mostly described as a feeling of persistent and intense worry about everyday situations. It can also be accompanied by a fast heart rate, sweating, and quick breathing. Even feelings of fatigue and tiredness.
If you have experienced anxiety before, you’ll be aware it’s a crippling feeling in high stress situations, and makes what you’re dealing with more stressful. Sometimes on boats, trying to juggle work-life balance and looking after guests can be a lot to focus on while you’re offering them the best experience on the water.
Understanding the root of your stress and anxiety is just as important as knowing how to deal with it. You need to understand its nature and what triggers are causing you to feel this way in your day-to-day life before you can tackle it and feel better. Some days might be more stressful than others, but that is normal. However, if you experience extended periods of anxiety onboard, it might be best to see a doctor.
How we experience anxiety is different for each individual. We are unique – and that shows in our coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety. Knowing what situations make you feel more anxious and developing ways to deal with (and release) some of that stress is very important. We all encounter difficult situations at some point in our lives that leave us feeling more anxious than normal.
Finding ways to relieve release pressure will make you feel more in control of the situation. Even though it is different for everyone, here are a few basic tips to implement – so you can better deal with anxiety and stress.
Keep a journal of what you’re feeling, what makes you feel this way, and what makes you feel better. This is often the first step to figuring out where it comes from, so identifying your triggers which help you to feel more calm and in control in those situations.
2. Take a break
Relax. Sometimes we get so busy that we pack our days with running around, talking to contractors, or having guests on while planning a major refit. These high-pressure situations can often leave tensions running high so remind yourself to take a break. It doesn’t have to last days, but taking a step back for a couple of hours can calm you down. Clearing your head before getting back into the daily grind will do wonders for you.
Moving your body and getting your heart rate up is vital in positively affecting how we view our situations. This doesn’t mean you have to do the sweatiest HIIT workout ever, though. It could be anything from a walk to an active hobby that gets you moving. Find something you enjoy and try and implement it 3 – 5 times a week.
4. Talk about it
Talk to someone you feel comfortable with. Communicating and sharing your emotions with someone you trust is a great way to feel more supported and reassured in a potentially stressful time. If you can’t find anyone to discuss your anxiety onboard, there are resources available that provide remote therapists for you to discuss matters with and work with you through difficult circumstances.
Rounding off: take care of yourself
Find a way of releasing stress that works for you. Make sure you eat nutritious meals, sleep well, and take a break when needed. Anxiety is a normal emotion and your body’s natural response to stress. If you’re living in a high stress work environment, it’s crucial to manage the stress and anxiety when it becomes overwhelming.
Take care of yourself and spend time filling your cup.
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