If you often go on long-term sea voyages as part of your job, you probably already know how stressful life onboard can get. While working on a vessel does have its perks, it also has its set of unique difficulties and challenges.
However, addressing these challenges can make a big difference between a thriving sea career and one that will make you question your decision to go through the trouble of maritime school and training.
This article delves into helpful tips for coping with isolation and stresses joint during long-term sea voyages.
Learn to Communicate with Others More Effectively
One of the significant causes of stress among seafarers is the inability to communicate appropriately with others onboard due to different native tongues, cultural differences, and clashing personalities.
Seafarers must learn how to communicate effectively to ensure the vessel’s safe operation and the safety of its entire crew.
However, it’s important to remember that communication is not only about talking but also significantly involves listening.
Listening to things happening around you, commands and instructions, and people who try to chat with you to communicate more personally is essential.
This is especially important if the other person has a different communication style than you or needs help comprehending their accent.
Your professional and personal lives will benefit greatly if you learn to develop your listening skills. But the question now is, how do you even do it in the first place?
Before anything else, you must be honest with yourself and consider how you listen to others. The following are some of the essential things you need to consider:
- Ensure you are taken on board and listen to any advice or instructions.
- Do you allow someone to finish whatever they say, or do you habitually interrupt them?
- Do you tend to spend other people’s sentences because of your impatience?
It can be very stressful if you don’t understand what’s happening, what others tell you, and what you should do next. However, if you take a more considered approach to communicating and listening properly to others, you might be surprised how it helps eliminate some of your stress.
Stay Away from Negativities
Any form of negativity can be very stressful. It’s never a good thing to be around negative people, and you need serious self-restraint to ensure that other people’s emotions don’t affect you, mainly if they often complain about things.
Of course, you need to address serious concerns right away. However, if you ever find yourself trapped in a negative cycle and your mood is starting to be affected by a crewmate or two, it’s time for you to step away.
Never get sucked into moaning and complaining, even if it is only to engage in conversations. Try to change how you react, and this will help alleviate your stress. For instance, if one of your colleagues is about to start complaining to you while you’re on deck, in the wheelhouse, or in the engine room, here are some tricks you can try:
- Use your cheerful attitude to counteract their complaints and try to lighten the mood to kill the negative vibes.
- Remind yourself that it might be their problem, and it has no effect on you whatsoever, so there’s also no reason for you to be upset about it.
- Tell yourself to focus on the positive things. The situation might not look great, but there’s still a silver lining.
- If you need help with the above and can walk away, do so immediately and look for something else to keep you busy.
Don’t Let the Daily Grind Get to You
This one might be easier said than done. After all, you’re here to work, whether it’s a job at sea or ashore. However, staying positive is critical if you’ve been isolated for several months on a vessel.
Regardless of the workplace, it’s too easy to fall into the dangerous trap of constantly talking about work and nothing else. If you’re on board, in particular, you might lose sight of what waits for you at home and why you are even doing the job in the first place.
However, your stress will only add up because of those endless talks of trying to line up your next employer and job, giving it your all, waiting for a long time to finally get promoted, and talking about your salary.
If you’re starting to get sucked into the endless black hole, here are some things you can do to lift your spirits:
- Appreciate the vessel and be glad you’re not working up inside an office.
- Remember the reason why you wanted to work as a seafarer in the first place.
- Always remind yourself of your job’s excellent benefits, from gorgeous sunsets, amazing friends, and the chance to travel the world.
- Walk away from conversations that will only lower your spirits.
More Tips to Cope with Isolation and Stress Onboard
Although no magic cure will eliminate stress and feelings of isolation, you can still do things daily that will help nurture your mental health during long-term sea voyages. These include the following:
- Be your best colleague, and always spread positivity wherever you go.
- Make sure you de-stress once you arrive home.
- Focus on the things that make you happy onboard.
- Train, learn, and educate yourself during your free time to invest in your future.
- Stay physically active, as this can help with your overall well-being.