Stress Busting

10 February 2011 By Rubi McGrory

Between living where you work, working long hours for weeks on end and always feeling rushed, it’s no wonder you’re so stressed out. And with the guests on board, heading off for a spa day isn’t an option. You’re so tweaked…even your stress has stress.

This frazzled feeling causes more than just bad breakouts: you’re tired all the time, you have tension headaches and your immune system is suppressed, making you more susceptible to every germ your guests bring on board. Additionally, you are an emotional and mental wreck. You’re unable to focus, and you’re angry, irritable, sad and cranky.

While your guests are having the time of their lives, you are a big mess of misery. Since a day at the beach isn’t an option to bring your freak-out levels down, incorporate a few of these quick and easy stress busters into your routine.

· Breathe. Deep breaths, in and out. Give your brain plenty of oxygen.

· Drink a glass of water. No really, hydration helps the body and the brain. Skip sugary sodas and stick with simple, slick, wet water.

· While you’re at it, back off the caffeine. One cup of coffee is okay, but five before lunch…no wonder you’re so amped up.

· Treat yourself to a mini-massage. While you are waiting for coffee to brew or for a machine to power up, give your ears a vigorous rub, starting with your lobes and working up or give yourself a quick hand massage, working each finger with your opposite hand. Be sure to breathe deeply.

· Ask for help when you need it. Your fellow crew would rather lend a quick hand than deal with your nervous breakdown.

· Laugh. Laugh at yourself, at your ridiculous situation and with your fellow crew; the sillier the better. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Have contests to see who can be the funniest. First person to make someone laugh so hard their beverage spews out their nose wins.

· Substitute gratitude for complaints. Scientific studies show you can’t be tense and grateful at the same time. The next time you want to whinge, count your blessings instead. Think about friends and family shoveling snow (again) or the hoards of unemployed lining up at job fairs.

· Watch what you’re eating. Refined sugars and heavily processed or fatty foods will bog you down further. Think grapes and almonds, not chips and dip, for your afternoon snack.

By finding just 10 to 15 minutes for yourself, you can give your brain and your body a much needed recharge and you’ll feel more relaxed and focused.

· Take a load off. A short break will work wonders. Have a cuppa and stare off into space.

· Move your body: grab a quick swim, a few sun salutations, a speed walk around the marina, even some basic stretching will invigorate your body and refresh your brain. Don’t forget to breathe.

· Find an outlet. Just a few minutes of focusing your mental energy away from your stress will help calm your brain. Puzzles, games and repetitive activities are proven calming methods. Crosswords, Sudoku, knitting and drawing are just a few ways to do this. Can’t fit your guitar on board, what about a mandolin?

· Read a good book. Sorry, but DVDs just don’t have the same effect. Engage and transport yourself fully into another world; let the narrative bring you to a happy place.