Dealing with Stress & Anxiety onboard

Dealing with Stress & Anxiety onboard

It’s clear that being a professional seafarer can be very stressful job and sympathy is not typically a forthcoming emotion with the fast pace nature of this business. Here we share some tips that might help you overcome a down moment.

Get outside! Walk for 30 minutes every day on your lunch break when you're on the dock. Getting active, getting outside and being able to have some time of your own makes a huge difference.

Give yourself some boundaries. If you finish work at 5 pm, do NOT work past 6. Schedule for after work, whether you are going to have a quiet face mask and move night or you are heading off the boat to shop, pre-plan it.

Confide in someone. Share your stress or worries with someone else. Often just by speaking about it, you can come up with a solution or being able to see the situation with a new set of eyes.

Allow yourself time to get emotional. If you feel too overwhelmed, let yourself cry and then moved on.

Write a list of everything you need to accomplish and tick it off throughout the day. When it all gets a little too much, being away from your partner, missing a wedding at home, dealing with intense requests from the boat, write a list of everything in your life that brings you joy.

Small acts of courage –  instead of avoiding situations or people that make you feel anxious try and address these anxieties by approaching a situation that creates the least amount of anxiety for you. This is called systematic desensitization – the purpose of this method is for you to gradually confront your fears thereby increasing your sense of confidence to challenge your biggest fears.

Allocate worry time – dedicate a certain amount of time for worry. Use your worry time productively by writing down all your fears and worries. You’ll find that our worries circulate repeatedly in our heads by getting them down on paper reduces the inundation of thoughts.

Build a relationship with your anxiety. Keep a journal of when you feel anxious and think back to what triggers the onset of your anxiety. This is an effective way of exploring any patterns that may be occurring and is also useful if you are or intend to work with a counselor in the future.  

Several crew mentioned regular rotation and more down time as ways to help ease the stresses suffered when working long hours and seasons on board. Even just improving internet access for crew to better keep in touch with friends and family would go a long way towards improving mental health!