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Around the world, the general public is on lockdown and people are working out new routines for how to keep fit and healthy within our homes. Maybe we could all learn from seafarers who spend months on board ships and have to maintain a healthy lifestyle at sea, often in very demanding conditions.

As today is World Health Day, it’s a fitting time to reflect on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle: whether you are a seafarer working on board or a non-seafarer – there has never been a more important time to keep healthy!

It is well recognised that without a healthy routine in place, it is difficult to maintain physical and mental wellbeing but the good news is that by making a few adjustments to your routines and taking charge of your own wellbeing you can start to feel the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

Whether working at sea or adjusting to working at home, it is important, where possible, to try and stick to a routine, taking care of these essentials:

Eat and drink healthily

Exercise

Socialise

Rest

  1. Eat & drink healthily.

A healthy, balanced diet promotes a strong immune system and can help prevent illnesses. Be aware of your calorie intake which should take into account your daily activity, age, gender and height. Also be aware of your salt intake as too much salt can raise your blood pressure and lead to serious medical conditions. The recommended maximum intake is 6g a day including salt that occurs naturally in products.

Ensure you keep hydrated: the recommended amount is 6-8 glasses of water a day, adjusting this to suit your personal needs depending on your level of exertion, the climate or the temperature you work in. On the subject of drink, be careful of your alcohol consumption. We drink to relax, to enhance our mood or even sometimes to forget. However, these benefits are short lived, and alcohol can have a negative impact on our wellbeing. Whether you are working on board or working from home, the temptation may be to drink more – but maintaining drink-free days will help you stay healthy.

More information is available on the WHO guidelines ‘recommendations for healthy eating’ click here to read more, and ‘Drinking guidelines: General Population’  by IARD, which you can access here.

  1. Exercise regularly.

Regular exercise not only keeps you physically fit, but can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better. When exercising, your body releases endorphins, hormones that are responsible for reducing stress and improving your mood, this means you will not only improve your physical health, but also your mental wellbeing as well.

There are many exercise programmes to choose from that are designed to help you keep fit on board that you can also continue at home. Work out a routine that suits you and your daily routine: the important thing is to create a habit of training and be consistent with it.

  1. Socialise.

It is not uncommon for seafarers to isolate themselves from others on board and spend their free time in their cabin. Whilst sometimes it is nice to have a bit of peace and quiet, it is just as important that you take time to talk to friends, family and colleagues. Making friends and having trusted people around to talk and confide in helps to maintain a positive mind set which leads to better mental health.

Seafarers and people at home are in the same boat: we also need to make a conscious effort to maintain social contact and friendships safely, while adhering to social distancing measures.

  1. Remember to rest.

Our final tip is the importance of good quality rest.  Having a 5 minute break from a task or taking a few minutes out to get some fresh air can often be enough to help de-stress you.  Sleep also plays a vital role in good health and wellbeing. Whilst not always easy, getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. Here are some tips that may help improve your sleep:

  • Don’t drink caffeine late in the day
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal before going to bed
  • Try and keep your cabin or bedroom at an optimum temperature
  • Keep your cabin or bedroom as dark as possible
  • Try and get into a wind-down routine before sleep: a shower, read a book, listen to soothing music.
  • Avoid using smartphones, tablets or other electronic devices before going to bed

Here at Marlins, we are aware of how challenging work on board can sometimes be and how taking care of your physical and mental health requires continuous effort. To support the seafaring community, whether at sea or on shore, we have developed a range of Crew Wellbeing titles.

These titles are designed to provide you with information and techniques that can help you maintain a healthy and physical lifestyle.

For more information you can visit the Marlins shop at by clicking in this link.

or contact us at info@marlins.co.uk

Stay healthy everybody.