HOMESICKNESS ON BOARD
Written by Joshua Davenport-Braes
Last updated: 09/12/2019
When a crew member steps on board a superyacht for a long-haul journey, it may be months before they are reunited with friends and family. Being separated from one’s friends and family can take its toll on the best of us.
Loneliness can impact individuals both mentally and physically. Scientists have suggested that the detrimental feeling of being alone can cause a variety of symptoms including:
- Cardiovascular disease and strokes
- Increased stress levels
- Decreased memory and learning
- Antisocial behaviour
- Poor decision making
Below, Yachting Pages has compiled some tips to help you get through some of the lonely times at sea.
Yacht crew members all over the world agree that exercise is one of the ultimate ways to keep on top of stress and stay motivated. This doesn’t mean you have to spend 4 hours a day toning every muscle in your body, this could even just be a short workout after your shift is complete. Not having enough time shouldn’t be an excuse, as the benefits of feeling content are immeasurable on a long season at sea.
Remember that time WILL pass
If you’re having a day where you are particularly missing your loved ones, it can be positive to reassure yourself on the passing of time. The calendar pages will flick and the clock will tick, and eventually your time on board will come to an end. Whilst sometimes it can be hard to keep this thought at the front of your mind, it is important to be able to reassure yourself that you’ll be able to return to familiar settings in the near future.
Read a book
Another excellent technique for beating stress can be reading books. It is a smart idea to take a good book on board with you. With the potential to be without the comfort of constant WiFi and satellite TV, being able to dive into a great story or non-fiction subject you are passionate about is a superb way to keep your mind off missing home.
Make friends on board
You may be away at sea for months at a time, and it is almost impossible to avoid your colleagues. Having a strong relationship with those who are also on board can make your time at sea much more pleasurable. Whether it’s just unwinding and discussing something silly or reflecting on a particularly crazy day you’ve shared with a colleague, there is a lot to be said for having someone in a similar boat (if you’ll pardon the pun) to talk to.
Eat healthy food
Binging on junk food and unhealthy food make it harder for your mind and body to handle stress. Not going overboard with the beers, cocktails and soft drinks is a good place to start to help your body and mind remain healthy. And maintaining a balanced diet will keep you fighting fit for those long shifts, deep into the night.
Stay in touch with your family
If you’re lucky enough to have internet access on board while out at sea, it might be a good idea to arrange a time where you can communicate regularly without one party missing out on a chuck of sleep!
Depending on where you are in the world, it can be difficult to call home whenever you want, so it is crucial that every family member knows when each end of the line is available.
If you’re not so lucky and do not have the luxury of internet access or knowing when you are on and off shift, it is a good idea to use some of your time when docked to make these kinds of calls. If you can’t get through to your desired loved one, even leaving a voicemail where they can respond, or emailing, can keep up a line of communication, so you can be sure that everyone is still fine at home!
Master a new skill or hobby
They say ‘an empty mind is the devil’s workshop’, so prevent yourself from overthinking at all costs! Surround yourself with a completely new hobby that may be unfamiliar to you. For a list of suggestions for things to try your hand at, why not read our guide on new skills and hobbies you could take up on board!
Loneliness on board can have a significant impact, not only on how much you are enjoying your time at sea and your performance at work, but most importantly it can take its toll on your mental health.
Take time to look after yourself and follow some of our tips and advice so you can feel more comfortable on those long seasons away.