How To Stay Motivated & Stress-Free at Sea

How To Stay Motivated & Stress-Free at Sea

As you’ll know, because 90% of global trade is handled by sea, maritime transportation is crucial to the world economy. In addition, shipping is the most economical and environmentally beneficial method of transporting commodities and raw materials worldwide.

Simply put, every seafarer sailing the seas plays a massive role in ensuring the globe's economy stays afloat. But the truth is, no job is easy—that's a given—but a special kind of challenge awaits those who choose life at sea.

Leading the life of a seafarer can be full of adventure, but even the most strong-willed can feel the stress. The vessel's rigorous schedule, which leaves little time for anything other than work could be to blame.

a roro ship

Such emotions can even be triggered by missing family members and feeling homesick.

So, when you feel unmotivated and tired, what can you do to lift your spirits?

Why are seafarers stressed?

Due to the challenging work environment, as a seafarer, you are frequently exposed to various stresses. As a result, you face pressures that are mental, emotional, and physical in particular.

If one were to list down all the typical stressors seafarers face, the list would probably look like this:

  • Loneliness and being cut off from friends and relatives while traveling
  • Being worried about leaving loved ones behind
  • A lack of restful sleep
  • Poor diet
  • Having to line up your next job when your contract ends
  • Working under deadline constraints
  • Extremely high or low temperatures
  • Heavy seas and bad weather
stormy sky over the ocean

Although no two humans are the same, knowing some of the most common reasons one gets stressed onboard is an excellent place to start.

How can seafarers stay motivated?

There are some telltale signs. You're probably moving more slowly, putting off work (if you can), and lacking energy. You probably aren't completely focused on your work, which is the biggest problem.

So, how can you avoid this state? Aside from getting in touch with your loved ones, there are some things you can do to boost your motivation and productivity:

  1. Exercise

Life at sea thrives thanks to a solid routine. When everyone works like parts of a well-oiled machine, deadlines and tasks are met with confidence and ease.

man lifting weights

But monotony is never good. On the contrary, it causes mental exhaustion and breeds worry and boredom.

Since the human mind is not a computer, it cannot function like a robot using the same software daily without becoming dissatisfied. Following a monotonous routine also significantly contributes to the decline in cognitive function.

To break the day-to-day routine, find time to exercise every day. It helps you look forward to doing something else other than work.

Scheduling time for exercise can occasionally provide the much-needed break needed to let off steam built up from a particularly challenging shift.

Several studies have demonstrated that exercise, in general, can enhance mood and lessen stress and anxiety.

the word stress being written by a pencil

Physical activity encourages the synthesis of the chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine, which lessen depressive symptoms. It also boosts endorphin production, which helps us feel good and motivates us.

2. Unplug

The Internet is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps you stay connected with the world. Through it, you can contact your family and friends back home.

On the other hand, it can be the source of negativity and jealousy. Social media has this particular effect that makes us want to compare ourselves and our lives with those of others.

But the thing is, many people showcase a filtered life online. So, for your peace of mind, try to unplug once in a while.

phone with social media icons

Stay offline for some time and distract yourself with activities that require you to live in the moment.

You can read books. Listen (and even dance!) to your favorite music. Try to start a journal and record your thoughts and feelings for the day. Even cleaning your cabin can even help you lift your spirits.

3. Protect your peace

You might find yourself working on a vessel with a group of people who aren't ultra positive. However, the way you react to such circumstances has the power to alter them. Train your mind to see the silver lining.

Listen to your crew mates vent if you have the headspace, but never take their words to heart. Instead, start your shift positively—this will help you end the day strong.

yellow ball with smiling face on it

Looking for more tips to help you stay motivated and stress-free onboard? Head this way.

How can the crew cultivate a stress-free environment?

The thing about cultivating a stress-free environment is that you need to get everyone on board. Literally and figuratively.

After work, try to avoid locking yourself inside your cabin. Make it a point to mingle and interact with others. The longer you spend alone, the more lonely you can become. A great way to make your life happier is to be friendly and have people talk or hang out with you.

On that note, having a party can work wonders when it comes to lifting the spirits of the crew.

pineapples in party hats

No parties planned? Whether it’s a pool party,  a barbecue, or a birthday celebration, why not be the one to arrange a knees-up?! These events and celebrations encourage you to form ties with your fellow crew members and keep you emotionally engaged during the voyage.

To summarize

The life of a seafarer is undoubtedly an adventurous one. But like any experience, one is bound to face some challenges while onboard.

The key for a fruitful career at sea? A healthy body and mind. Cultivate your hobbies, build a solid bond with your crewmates, and enjoy what every day brings. You’re one of the few lucky ones who get to see and experience the beauty the sea has to offer.

If you’re ready to start or continue working on ships, Martide can help get you started. Build your resume today or view our exciting job vacancies.