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When we are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed it is often to do with worrying about the future. When we give the power to worry, we give ‘worry’ permission to take control of our mental state; when it gets to this stage it can be very difficult to self regulate our emotions.

Having a mental health safety plan will put you in a better position to manage your mental health issues.

A mental health plan is designed to be your lifeline when you can sense that your well-being needs are at risk. The most important part of the plan is that you make it your own and is personalised to meet your needs if not, you are unlikely to use it and it will simply be ineffective.

Where to start?

Create a working document – This means that you will continuously refer back to your plan and make changes when needed, you will find that your triggers and coping strategies will change with time, therefore it is important to make changes when required.  The purpose of the plan is to manage difficult emotions and ideally prevent them from spiralling out of control.

When you have finalised your plan, transfer it to a medium that is easily accessible, i.e your phone or a sheet of paper that can be kept close by.

1. Identify early warning signs

Start off by identifying the situations or events that can trigger you in feeling overwhelmed, we call these early warning signs.

For the purpose of this blog let’s imagine there is a crew member named Jane. Jane feels anxious and stressed come post and pre-season where she is responsible for managing the yacht’s inventories. She may find herself procrastinating or distracting herself with other work duties so as to delay attending to the inventories. 

2. Think about triggers

Following step 1, think about what triggers your warning signs. Triggers for Jane, for example, could be the end of the season or the last guest trip.

3. Prepare a strategy

Think about strategies that might help ease the stressful situation/s, what was helpful or unhelpful for you in the past? Then write down the links between warning signs and triggers followed by possible intervention strategies.

Jane called a meeting in the crew mess which involved the crew in brainstorming ideas on ways to tackle the inventory ‘to do lists’ to ensure that it is completed as effectively and efficiently as possible. The crew were very excited to have shared responsibility and they left feeling valued and along with having a sense of purpose. Jane felt as if a huge weight was lifted off her shoulders and now instead of wasting time worrying about inventories she used that time to organise her personal and professional life so that she had a healthy work-life balnce.

4. Reach out to your support network

Ensure you have a positive support network in place – friends, family members or professionals you can reach out to for support when necessary. Reaching out for support is so important, we are not robots and it is impossible to do EVERYTHING. If you shy away from asking for help I would take a serious look at the reasons why. 

Here is why I am confident in reaching out for help –

  • I don’t know everything and I never will. By outsourcing my weaknesses and using my resources and contacts wisely, I can increase my chances of learning and fast track my success.

  • Asking for help promotes a growth mindset – growth means expansion if you have a fixed mindset you will only feel stuck and more frustrated. A growth mindset comes with vulnerability and courage. Challenge your belief system around asking for help – are your reasons justified?

  • Asking for help strengthens relationships – People have more respect for others who can admit to their vulnerabilities or weaknesses. If you want to build real connections and be an admirable leader be genuine.

  • By reframing your perception around asking for help can make it easier for you to reach out. Reframing is a technique used to challenge unhelpful thinking.

Share your support plan with your support network –

Your support network plays a key role in ensuring that you are able to carry out your plan. They are likely to pick you up when you fall and walk alongside you until you are confident to carry out your plan independently. In this case, Jane talked with her second stew and articulated what support she needed from her and how she intends to communicate her needs.

Many people find that having such strategies in place enables them to feel more at ease knowing they have a solid plan in place that has proven to work. The Crew Coach provides counselling where Karine can help you to explore mental health concerns and support you in curating new , helpful strategies to overcome them.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where things do get a bit much or if you needing further support please reach out to your support network or seek professional advice.

For further reading on this topic please refer to http://dockwalk.com/Essentials/HotTopics.aspx?id=189223

Grab your free Mental Health Support Plan from The Crew Coach here: https://npkvp0uh.pages.infusionsoft.net