Weathering a global pandemic is an enormous challenge for every individual. It is not only the direct threat to our own health and that of others, but the damage to the economy and social life that is taking a toll. It is normal to feel a marked increase of anxiety and uneasiness during this period, and it is unlikely those emotions are going to go anywhere soon. That being said, there are ways that you can better position yourself to address these feelings.
As crew members on yachts we are used to remaining for long periods at a time in confined spaces with very little privacy. Maintaining our wellbeing is essential because while we’re on journeys we have no “home” to recuperate in if we feel emotionally unwell. We are trained to have a certain level of mental fortitude.
With that in mind we’ve come up with some tips for you to feel a little bit more leveled as you weather the storm from your own ship at home.
You’ve probably heard this from a lot of people, but we couldn’t agree more with this piece of advice. When we’re sailing to a destination without guests we can endure weeks (and sometimes months) out at sea with very little structure. It’s very important during these periods to have a schedule to your day. If you’re slammed with work and taking care of kids, having a beginning, middle and end to each day will help you feel less crazed. If you on the other hand find yourself with little to do, a schedule will help you feel more grounded about approaching your day and allow you to actually get something done instead of aimlessly wandering between the fridge and the TV while promising yourself you’ll learn how to play the guitar. We recommend adding windows of time for each activity or block in your day and a few moments at the end of the day to review what was done.
2. Tidy environment tidy mind
Either you’ve obsessively cleaned and organized your home, or you’re on the other side of the spectrum and you’ve allowed your surroundings to slide. If you’re with children, maintaining a clean home while looking after them (and working) is an almost impossible feat. Regardless of your situation, we want to stress the importance of having a degree of tidiness in your surroundings and its positive effect on your mental wellbeing. Even small changes, like tidying your nightstand shelf before you go to bed, can help you feel that you’re more in control.
Again, something that you will have heard a thousand times. Be sure to move. Along with regular exercise (see here for a workout we designed to be completed in small spaces) it’s important that you take opportunities to move in and around your home. That might mean more chores - like vacuuming and cleaning, or taking more trips up and down the stairs carrying fewer items. It might mean completing an activity you would normally sit down for by standing up. Try to incorporate more movement in any way you can.
4. Address how you feel
In moments where you indeed feel scared, overwhelmed, or sad, address your feelings instead of keeping them bottled up. Take a few moments and acknowledge what is happening and allow any reaction - be it anger or crying - to be released. Then return to your day. If it helps set aside a time to worry for a few minutes, and try writing your concerns down in a notebook to release them.
The pandemic is frightening, lonely and monotonous. It is easy to be get burnt out and feel that we are living in a weird dream that repeats itself over and over again. Our remedy for that is simple: wonder. Take moments throughout your day to take wonder at the world, at how unlikely it is for us to be here, at how beautiful life can be.