When it comes to talking about your emotions with your team, people often feel like they cannot – even when they should.
A life as a Seafarer can, for some people, feel lonely since they are away from home for months at a time on a ship with the same team members. So why not communicate with each other and get to know everyone on a more personal level?
Yes, this can be intimidating but you can do it!
In a survey I have completed, it revealed most of you are feeling the same way: scared of Covid-19, want life to go back to normal, are bored, homesick, depressed, and bored. Finding ways to share these connected emotions with your team is important and will most likely place your mind at ease knowing there are other Seafarers who are experiencing the same feelings.
Communicating to others on your team will also make you seem more human and less a Seafarer worker. It will allow more openness on the team, increase communication, and you can get to know everyone on a more personal level. And hopefully, being open with your team members will also benefit your mental health as you ae not keeping everything bottled up until you explode.
So how do you communicate openly with your team? Here are some tips!
- Ask how they are doing
- Ask if they are also feeling homesick, anxious, or stressed about a topic such as Covid-19
- Be open and honest with each other, if you are not okay – do not say you are okay!
- Show your respect while someone is talking about their problem, and offer some advice or share your own experiences
- Be comfortable with being vulnerable as it lets everyone else know that it is okay
“Hey, how are you doing?”
“I really miss my family, how are you feeling being so far away?”
“I am really worried about Covid-19…”
“Can I share something with you….”
“I am feeling _____, do you have any advice?”
“How are you coping with ____”?
Talking about these issues will not only help you, but will also help your entire team, it just requires open communication!
Having an open communication with your team will benefit your mental health, you get to know your team on a more personal level, and you will find yourself less alone. Now, I am not asking to talk about your emotions all day long, because you need to find a balance.
“If a leader is overly emotional or reactive with it, the team will feel like it is on a roller-coaster ride. If the leader is never emotional, they run into being “Mr. Perfect” in their team’s eyes. So how do we find balance?” – Entrepreneur Magazine
Finding the balance is also important, you do not want to talk about your emotions all day long, but you also do not want to avoid talking about your emotions. Have these conversations at the dinner table, coffee breaks, after work, or whenever you have time. But also remember that you can talk about anything, not just how you are feeling: your life back at home, your family – learn about each other and you will find your team will become your family! Have team building exercises such as exercise activities, game nights, have a pizza night, or just go outside with each other and take in the summer!
I encourage every Seafarer to express one emotion they are feeling and to ask one person on their team how they are doing! Trust me, it will open communication greatly within the team.
Counsellor/Social Work Placement