For superyacht crew, the festive period can feel stressful and overwhelming. Being away from home, family, and friends during the festive period can leave even the most upbeat feeling isolated and lonely. And with many working busy charters or owner trips, you’re left exhausted and feeling like there is little to zero time left for that all-important self-care. The result? Mental health is in the gutter, and the general crew atmosphere is at an all-time low.
What’s needed is a recharge. But, during a busy charter season when our bodies are tired, brains are fried, our minds are in pieces, and our next rotation or holiday is months away, we need to find other ways to restart our internal engines and balance our mental health. Team FunAir has put together some ideas on yacht crew-friendly ways to recharge your mental health for 2022.
At the start of 2021, there were over 1.7 million podcasts available online, and that number continues to grow every day. There are podcasts covering every topic imaginable, from true crime to economics. Whatever your interests, there’s a podcast covering its ins and outs. Podcasts are great to listen to on breaks or before sleeping. Listeners can tune into entertainment or educational shows. There are even mediation programs and sleep sounds.
The mental health section of the podcast universe offers its listeners a wealth of informative and interesting shows hosted by doctors and mental health professionals. While podcasts can never replace therapy and actual medical advice, they can offer coping strategies, conversation, and a safe space to their communities. Here’s our pick of some of the very best mental health podcasts out there.
The Happiness Lab
The Happiness Lab with Dr Laurie Santos is based on the phycology course she teaches at Yale University, the most popular class ever offered in the university’s 300-year history. Each episode takes you through the latest scientific research and offers research-based tips on cultivating happiness-promoting habits. They also share inspiring stories about others who find their own path to happiness. Episodes include Beat your Isolation Loneliness, Rising to a Challenge, and The Power of a Made-UP Ritual.
Delicious Ways to Feel Better
Hosted by Ella Mills, founder of Deliciously Ella, this podcast covers a range of topics about health and wellness. In each episode, Ella talks to an expert on subjects surrounding mental and physical health. Episodes include Understanding Anxiety, Depression, and Mental health, Mindfulness, Meditation, and Easing Stress, Food as Medicine, Changing Habits and Reaching Goals, and Controlling the Inner Critic.
The Trauma Therapist Podcast
The Trauma Therapist is hosted by Guy Macpherson PhD and focuses on the human spirit and healing trauma. In each episode, Guy interviews experts in the fields of trauma, mindfulness, addiction, and yoga. Episodes are around 30 minutes long and include Find Your Superpower, Embracing Our Intuition, and Self-Belief. Yes, Please.
Where is My Mind
Hosted by Niall Breslin, Where is My Mind is a podcast that explores how to navigate through our everyday lives in a world that is manic, stressful, and always on. There are also several guided meditations to help calm and ground you when you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed. Episodes topics include dealing with suffering, mindful communication, the healing power of nature, how laughter heals us, and self-compassion.
All In The Mind
This BBC Radio 4 podcast takes a scientific approach to explore the limits and potential of the human mind. Each episode also offers information and advice on every subject. Topics include Stress at Work, The Psychology of Motivation and Procrastination, How You Can Feel Less Lonely, and Wiring the Brain.
There’s an app for everything. We know that, so we shouldn’t be surprised that there is an assortment of apps designed to help with mental health. While apps can never replace real-life mental health services, they can be great tools to help manage mental health concerns and learn about coping mechanisms. Especially yacht crew who may not have access to traditional therapy or regular onshore medical care.
Talkspace matches you with a licensed mental health professional and puts therapy in the palm of your hand. This app could be very beneficial for yacht crew who struggle to access professional help while working onboard. With Talkspace, there is no need to visit a doctor’s office. Instead, users can text their therapist from their mobile device or schedule face-to-face video sessions. Talkspace therapists can help with a range of issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, stress management, social anxiety, and much more.
MoodKit was created by two clinical psychologists. It offers hundreds of activities based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) all designed to boost your mood and steer you away from negative thinking. The app also features a journal where users can track daily moods, how to manage stress, and any negative thoughts.
The Headspace app is designed to help its users live more mindfully by providing guided meditations. Users can choose from a range of meditations that last anywhere from three to twenty minutes targeted at beginners and those more experienced in meditating. Meditation has been proven to help with stress relief, attention span, memory, anxiety, and self-awareness. The app features stand-alone meditations and meditation courses such as Learning the Basics of Mindfulness, Better Sleep, and Dealing with Distractions.
Mindshift is a free app that uses CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) to help reduce worry, stress, phobias, social anxiety, perfectionism, and panic by using evidence-based strategies. The app’s strategies include thought journals, belief experiments, fear ladders, and comfort zone challenges. There is also calming audio, a community forum, short meditations, and other activities designed to face fears, change beliefs, and develop healthy, lasting habits.
Happify is a science-based app that uses proven tools and programs to help control your feelings and thoughts. Its games and activities can help users with coping with stress, promoting mindfulness, dealing with negative thoughts, building self-confidence, and even boosting career success.
Sleep is one of the major factors that can help with mental wellbeing. But, for many superyacht crew, it is a rare commodity. The average adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health. For most crew members, getting a decent amount of sleep means shutting down as soon as their shift ends, and let’s face it, that’s hard to do. The distraction of social media and technology often eats into sleep time. Even essential tasks like exercise and night-time hygiene routines eat into those precious ZZZZZ”s.
There are several things you can do to promote better sleep, increase sleep quality, and help you fall asleep faster in the time you do have.
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine in the evenings
- Cut down on electronics and screens directly before sleeping
- Keep your cabin cool – 18.3°C is the optimal sleeping temperature
- Listen to soothing music or white noise to drown out cabin noise and other boat noises
- Try a sleep meditation
Exercise is an easy way to boost mental wellbeing. Just 10 minutes of exercise can help boost mood, self-esteem, energy, sleep, mental alertness, and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. For superyacht crew, space and free time can be inhibitors to exercise. If there is no crew gym onboard, space can be very limited. But if you can find enough space to roll out a yoga mat, then there is plenty of opportunity for exercise.
Practices like yoga and pilates are very effective at building strength and providing a good workout in small spaces. Searching Youtube for small space workouts brings up hundreds of workouts that can be performed in tiny spaces. Stewardess and Pilates instructor Vee runs Instagram account @PilateswithVee, where she has several reels focusing on cabin workouts. Skipping or Plyometric exercises like squat jumps, high knees, jump lunges, and burpees can be great for getting the heart rate high in a short amount of time.
Aromatherapy has been shown to boost mood and mental state. It is thought that the chemicals found in essential oils may cause the smell receptors in the nose to send messages to the part of the brain that controls mood. Using a diffuser in your cabin or even essential oil room sprays are good ways to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy. Just be sure to check with your cabin mate that they are ok with it.
Effective oils include:
Superyacht crew live in a completely different world to those in land-based careers, and whilst it may look like they live a glamourous life from the outside, we know the reality is far from it. Mental health should be a top priority, but it often gets overlooked due to a myriad of reasons. Make 2022 the year you make it your number one priority. Make time for yourself. If things do get tough, speak to someone, a friend, a crew member, a superior, or a licensed professional. You do not need to go through it alone.
We’d love to hear how you deal with stress and your mental wellbeing when working onboard superyacht. Or if any of these suggestions have been of any help. Share your photos, ideas, and feedback with us by tagging us @FunAirFun on socials or by getting in touch.
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