When guests are coming on board, it is crunch time to get the boat ready. This often means crew get worn out before the real work even begins. While doing whatever it takes to get the boat ready for guests is inevitable, it’s important for crew to prepare themselves mentally and physically in any way you can.
If you want to feel healthy with guests on board, it’s crucial to take care of yourself before they arrive. Plan ahead for early nights, enough sleep, and exercise. Make a plan on exactly how you will take care of yourself when guests are on board.
When guests are on board, one of the first things crew do is start indulging in the guest leftovers such as cheese platters, croissants and late-night dinner leftovers. Falling into this trap will most likely leave you feeling heavy and even more tired, so find ways to eat healthy, eat early and snack smart.
Healthy foods such as bananas are proven to boost serotonin in the brain for a better mood, while foods such as dairy and meat, which are high in fat, can leave you sluggish and not feeling your best. If produce is not an option as a snack, make sure you have other healthy snacks like granola bars, hummus and nuts.
Also, make sure you eat enough during meal times so you’re not snacking on whatever comes your way all day.
No matter what anyone says, you need a sufficient amount of sleep to perform well. While the amount of sleep necessary may be different for everyone, it’s still a fact. There is only a set amount of days you can have a deficit of sleep before you start to lose it.
Find a way to get to sleep right away when your shift is over and train yourself to nap on your break. If you’re on a boat where there are too few crew and sleep is scarce, make sure to take care of yourself in every other way to make up for the sleep deprivation.
Be aware that when your body is tired, you will likely crave junk food and coffee as a stimulant. If you indulge, you will probably feel even worse later. Keep eating healthy and drinking enough water and you will offset some of the effects of not getting enough sleep.
When we’re busy it’s easy to forget to drink water. After a few days of guests on board, coffee also becomes a staple. However, coffee is acidic, overworks your adrenals and is dehydrating. This combination will likely make you feel even more tired. When you’re tired and dehydrated, you are more likely to snack on unhealthy foods. To combat this, limit coffee or get rid of it all together.
And drink water. Try putting rubber bands around your bottle and taking one off each time you finish a bottle. This will help you reach your water consumption goal each day.
Vitamin D is essential to feeling good. Studies have shown that a high number of people are deficient in vitamin D, even if they live in a sunny climate. If you can, step outside on breaks, even if it’s only for 15 minutes to soak in some feel good rays.
If it’s a long guest trip, spending some time on your break doing simple exercises in your cabin will drastically improve how you feel. The key is to not wear yourself out; just raise your heart rate enough to get some endorphins flowing. Try doing 1-3 sets of 20 squats, lunges, push-ups, tricep dips and holding plank pose for 1 minute. See how you feel. Then get some rest, have a shower and notice how great you feel for the rest of the day.
One overlooked element to feeling your best when the guests are on board is just deciding that you are going to feel good, no matter what. Have you ever known the type of person who seems like they are in a good mood all the time? Chances are it’s not because they feel good all of the time. It’s more likely that something in their personality has made them decide to present themselves that way to the world.
It might sound difficult to feel your best all of the time but the decision actually is moment-to-moment and with each circumstance. All you have to do is stop, breathe and decide before you react. With practice, it gets easier and will change your experience on board like nothing else.
Angela Orecchio is a chief stew and certified health coach. This column was edited from entries in her blog, The Yachtie Glow (www.angelaorecchio.com), which offers tips for crew on how to be healthy, fit and happy on board. Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.