All about Mental Health on a Cruise

Maintaining Mental Health While Cruising

by Nicole Rebeiro

Most cruise travelers claim the promise of an ideal vacation, but a minority of them may leave port more exhausted and even depressed than when they climbed aboard.

In particular, travelers with bipolar tendencies – alternating episodes of emotional highs and lows more frequent and intense than normal – may start on a high note but suffer an emotional nosedive even if they are on Caribbean cruise that others can only pine for.

The triggers for such emotional distress can be anything from unmet expectations, inconsiderate fellow passengers, long lines and unbearable crowds, and yes, even bad weather. While these circumstances are expected to disappoint level-headed passengers, the same incidents leave more serious damage to emotionally sensitive travelers.

If you are one of these unfortunate few, it pays to develop coping strategies (apart from popping your prescription pills) so you recover your composure and enjoy the rest of your voyage. Here are some.

• Address your grievances through appropriate channels. It is easy to let your temper fly out of the table when you do not get the eggs done right or the coffee piping hot. Instead of dousing the poor wait staff with scalding ugly brown liquid and ruining everyone’s breakfast, politely request for replacement even when you are boiling inside. If that is not enough punishment, complain to the maitre d’.

• Seek company. When you feel another wave of anguish over petty things rising, distract yourself and talk about your trivial inconveniences with your companion or with someone willing to listen. If you are considerate enough not to ruin another person’s holiday, talk to the crew. They are obliged to listen as a matter of customer service.

• Retreat to your solitude. When you can no longer handle crowds, do not risk putting up to them and steal the spotlight via displays of inappropriate behavior. Instead, go for a leisurely walk around the deck and get some natural air.

• Avoid going solo. While it is essential to keep a modicum of solace, recognize the transition between peaks and valleys of your moods. When you feel like entering the valley of darkness, put in effort to reach out to your companions, or if traveling solo, neighbors. Resist the temptation to lock yourself away and brood. You know you can easily slip into a dangerous frame of mind when left to your devices.

• See the ship doctor. When all else fails, go to the ship clinic. While they focus on treating physical maladies, they at least have medical training to recognize and alleviate symptoms of depression. They may not be able to make changes to your medications, but they can be a great source of help when you cry out for one.

As with other areas in life, vacations present opportunities to ruin your mood. Learn to sidestep these ever-present dangers, or you will not get the break you need.

• Nicole Rebeiro

Nicole is a London-based travel journalist, and whilst she is not telling tales of her travels to the people of the local home where she volunteers, she is out discovering the world and creating new ones.

To see other articles by Nicole Rebeiro about cruising see:

• Avoiding putting on weight
• The real cost of cruises
• Enjoying the outdoors on an Alaska Cruise...

 Cruise Advice - Tips

• Running on a Cruise

• Advice for an Alaska cruise
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• Bringing Alcohol Onboard
• Cabin Fever
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