Work, work, work and return the next morning
Like every seafarer who has put in around 15 to 20 years of sailing time and dreams of settling ashore, I, too, went through the same. After sailing for 18 years, the last few years as Master, in 2006, I stepped ashore and took up a new post as Marine Safety and Quality Superintendent working in Cyprus, subsequently got into onboard training, auditing and ship inspections and travelled the globe.
If you love taking up challenges, travelling, working with multinational crews and being answerable for your actions taken, this is a fantastic job.
But I feel it takes its toll. Long travels, improper diets, climbing up and down combination and pilot ladders, in and out of ballast tanks, dry docks, assisting during Vetting inspections and external audits, etc, being answerable to senior managers, Directors, Owners, charters by no way is easy.
It is stressful and definitely affects, though some would not admit it as they may not see a physical change as yet.
In today’s day and age, everyone speaks about the mental and physical health of Seafarers and various factors such as work pressure, lack of sleep, anxiety, etc. Surely, Mental health is an important part of the physical well-being of the seafarer.
However, in all honesty, I think many of us working ashore in the marine industry have similar issues.
Working in the Marine industry is not a 9 to 5 job; to me, it’s a lifestyle. I’m sure those of you working in the HSEQ dept, Technical dept or Crewing department will agree. More often than not, we take our jobs home, too; our phones and laptops are on stand-by even when we are at home, our minds are still thinking about what’s happening on our ships. You will agree many times, we deal with the following
- Calls at night regarding a problem or technical issue onboard
- Issues regarding PSC, flag or detention.
- Last-minute changes of port, and we need to redirect crew, spares, etc
- Crew joining, missing flights, visas, immigration issues etc
- Ship spares not reached, not released by customs, etc
- Video calls, meetings with managers, owners or clients in different time zones.
I’m sure you know better, and this list will only get bigger.
Also, at times, due to our work and hectic lifestyle, we neglect our personal physical activity at times. We console ourselves by saying we will do it on the weekend, but when the weekend comes, we just want to catch some sleep, relax or be with the family, go socialising and networking, meet for an event, cocktail or dinner again, all the physical activity planned goes for a toss.
I took to running at the age of 40, started with a 5 km run, and gradually, over the years, moved up to a half marathon, full marathon and ultra-marathon; just a week ago, I successfully completed a 100 km run.
I feel leading a healthy lifestyle and being physically fit is a fashion statement. There are a whole lot of advantages. Exercising and maintaining a healthy body and mind have several advantages. In the running world, we refer to this as “runner’s high,” the experience is attributed to a burst of endorphins or happy cells released during running.
The mental benefits don’t stop when you finish your run; regular cardiovascular exercise can spark the growth of new blood vessels to nourish the brain. Apart from the physical and mental advantages, exercising has a profound effect on your emotional and psychological well-being too.
Hence, I strongly urge you to regularly do some form of physical exercise, Gym, yoga, walking, running, Pilates, Tabata or anything which you like; this will improve mental and emotional well-being it will not only reduce mental and physical stress. It also keeps you in Shipshape, and a noticeable improvement in your digestion, sugar levels and heart rate, a noticeable change in the quality of your sleep. In addition to your knowledge, competency you feel a renewed vigour and Self-confidence,
Let’s together ensure we look after our bodies and set examples for all around us, for our loved ones and for seafarers alike.
A lovely quote can sum this up,
I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.Joyce Meyer