Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional.
People tend to go on vacation to take a break from the stresses of everyday life. And while cruises have been known to improve the mental health of its passengers, sailing through paradise does not necessarily make one’s problems disappear.
Even on vacation, taking care of yourself mentally and physically is important. Luckily, cruising provides the perfect opportunity to do just that by offering a plethora of services and amenities that support health and well-being at every turn.
Here are five tips to follow in order to take care of your mental health while on a cruise, ensuring that you return home rested, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the world.
1. Plan Ahead
One of the best ways to take care of yourself on any vacation is to plan and prepare yourself before leaving home. The great thing about cruising is that most ships provide thorough information about the voyage prior to embarkation. Utilizing this information to familiarize yourself with the onboard services and amenities will help you to feel more prepared for the journey.
By taking a look at the cruise itinerary ahead of time, you can plan various activities and coping mechanisms to support yourself while on board.
For example, if you are an introvert at heart, locate places on board where you can have some peace and quiet. Don’t skip out on giving yourself alone time if that’s what your mind truly needs. On the other hand, if you thrive in group environments, sign up for some workout classes or cooking lessons. This will allow you to connect with other passengers while keeping both your mind and body occupied.
2. Health & Wellness Center
Speaking of onboard services and amenities, most cruise ships have a health and spa center that directly caters to the well-being of its passengers. Depending on the cruise line, you will have the opportunity to receive relaxing, full-body massages, participate in an intense cardio workout, learn how to meditate, get a makeover at the salon, and so much more.
Furthermore, most cruises come equipped with medical professionals who are more than willing to discuss any health issues that arise, offering professional advice and management techniques. Taking advantage of these health and wellness offerings is a perfect way to support yourself and your mental health while enjoying your time on board.
3. Choose Suitable Sea Day Activities
Many people choose their cruise vacations based on the port destinations. However, sea days can also offer the perfect opportunity to relax and recuperate without worrying about disembarking and exploring a new port city. In order to best ensure that you’re taking care of yourself on these days, be sure to be flexible with yourself and choose sea day activities that align with your mood.
Take a look at your ship’s Daily Guide to see which activities pique your interest. Most cruise lines offer everything from rock climbing to skydiving, dance classes to academic lectures, award-winning restaurants to star-studded performances. No matter what type of person you are, you are sure to find an enriching activity on board that will allow you to recover your energy.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Take A Break
Next, while on vacation, it’s common for people to feel the pressure to do it all. And when you’re on board a cruise liner with seemingly limitless opportunities for fun and entertainment, it can be tempting to stay busy for every waking moment of your voyage.
As important as it is to take advantage of all your cruise has to offer, it is equally important to give your body and mind a break. Instead of taking your fifth workout class of the week, lounge by the pool for a few hours and bask in the sun. Skip the salsa dancing competition and curl up with a good book in your room, or if what you really need is a few hours of mindless social media time, start scrolling! Listen to your body and mind; don’t be afraid to rest when needed.
5. Go Easy on Yourself
The last and arguably most important tip is to go easy on yourself. If you’re struggling to stay relaxed and level-headed, the last thing you need is to put too much pressure on yourself to power through the pain for the sake of the vacation. Give yourself compassion at every turn and allow yourself to feel what you feel.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy your cruise vacation. You get to decide what kind of voyage you want to have. You get to decide what activities you do and don’t do. Nobody can take that autonomy away from you.
Having compassion for yourself will allow you to accept your struggles without being defined by them. Focus on staying in the present moment to enjoy your cruise ship’s many offers.
Cruises are meant to be fun, enjoyable experiences. The last thing you want is to spend the voyage struggling with your mental health. But if you do end up needing some extra doses of mental self-care, these tips will help to ensure that not only do you get to enjoy everything that cruising has to offer, but you also get to take care of yourself in the process.
By Tyler Jeremiah