Seafaring is a promising yet lonely job. But most Filipinos still enter the profession, no matter how difficult it is to be away from their family. Luckily, there are some ways you can alleviate homesickness.
Seafaring is a highly rewarding job. In fact, it’s one of the top professions in the Philippines, with hundreds of thousands of men and women entering it every year. However, it’s also one of the loneliest. Seafarers are often burdened by homesickness and loneliness at sea, feelings that can cause their mental health to deteriorate.
Fortunately, there are ways proper ship crew management can alleviate the inevitable loneliness of their crew. Here are some of them:
1. Hold more enjoyable activities
Seafarers feel isolated the most when they aren’t doing anything in their downtime. If you give them more worthwhile activities while they’re off work, they can divert their attention to enjoying the present time instead of missing home.
Ship managers can ask their crew about activities that they’d like to do or events that they miss the most from home. You can hold sports tournaments, mini food festivals, and other recreational activities that the crew can enjoy together.
2. Provide lots of entertainment
Onboard entertainment can’t be a substitute for the happiness felt in the arms of friends and family, but it can sure come close. While on the ship, provide the crew with lots of entertainment that they can enjoy alone or with other crewmates. Bring along a collection of books, movies, board games, card games, video games, and other simple sources of entertainment.
3. Promote camaraderie among shipmates
Shipmates become the family that you have at sea over time, and there are no better people to help you beat homesickness than them. As a seafarer, make it a point to connect and bond with your shipmates while you’re at sea. Look out for each other; cheer each other up when one of you feels stressed, lonely, or downright depressed.
If you are a ship manager, strive to promote camaraderie among your crew starting from Day One. Hold small gatherings from time to time so that they have a chance to bond outside of work hours. You can also start prayer groups or support groups for people that are interested in reaching out to others or receiving support. There are lots of ways you can bring your crew together, but the main goal remains the same: to create a family among shipmates.
4. Encourage regular exercise
Exercise can not only provide a healthy outlet for crew members that are feeling a bit down, but it can also give them something to do when they’re simply bored. Encourage your crew members to exercise regularly, especially if they’re feeling lonely since exercise can help release happy hormones and improve their mood.
To make exercise more fun, start daily or weekly challenges, such as ’10K treadmill marathon challenge’ or ‘bench 150 in one week.’
There’s no denying that seafaring is one of the hardest professions out there, but it doesn’t have to be lonely all the time. With these tips, you and your crewmates can make it through your voyage without being overwhelmed by homesickness and loneliness.