Spend time solo like a sailing pro

Spend time solo like a sailing pro

There’s a lot that’s new right now, to all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted each of our individual definition of ‘normal’ pretty significantly.

And while all of us are pivoting and getting as agile as we can be to adjust, it’s natural and normal that some stress can bubble up in the process.

Which is why we sent a line out to a certain Mustang Survival ambassador to share some #protips on managing stress in uncertain times.

crew sailing in harsh conditions

No stranger to tight spaces and few places to go other than on deck or below, Emily Nagel—professional ocean racer, marine engineer, mental health advocate—took the time to share her tips to navigating the pandemic like a seasoned sailing pro.

 ‘My main tactic to dealing with the stress and uncertainty of the lockdown has been to approach it like an offshore race or delivery.  Isolation is something I was taught to deal with fairly well during the Volvo Ocean Race, so I'm putting some of the lessons I learned to use now!’

Emily Nagel in her mustang survival hat


Here’s what’s working for Emily:

  • Stay organized and keep a routine
  • Get on top of little jobs that are easy to put off
  • Tackle your ‘learning list’; start in on something you always wanted to learn

Start with making a schedule. Dedicate time for your essentials; work, any family responsibilities. Then, see where you can fit in things to keep your body and mind stimulated while inside your home.

Want to learn a new language? Been meaning to do some gear maintenance? Looking to brush up on some skills? Take some time to hone in on your physical strength?

Now’s the perfect time to schedule those activities into your calendar. And, to do it in a way that draw out the experience. 45 minutes here, 30 minutes there. Do what you can, where you can, with what you have.

Whatever your quarantine or social distancing looks like, some structure plus stimulating your mind can bring some focus to your days, and edge out anxiety or panic that might be trying to settle in.

emily nagel on a cliff doing yoga as the sun sets

Other lessons from Emily ‘nowhere-to-go-but-here, sailor’ Nagel?

If you’ve got people around you, get involved as a micro-community.

I live with friends and we are challenging each other to cook-offs: working to make a 2 course vegetarian dinner for the house with as much from scratch as possible! I just learnt to make pasta from scratch as all the supermarkets are sold out. As well as some daily physical challenges such as 100 push ups and 100 sit ups each day.

making vegetable pasta from scratch

Put whatever technology you have to use and stay connected.

I try to call or FaceTime a friend or family member once a day - something I think is particularly important for maintaining social connection. During the Volvo Ocean Race one of the highlights of each day was the chance to send one email. It was a chance to talk to someone outside the immediate on-board-circle; to vent, talk about something different than what’s happening on board, and be there to offer support.

No tech on hand? Write a good old fashioned paper letter. Send it by mail, by carrier pigeon. Leave a note in your neighbour’s mailbox. Do something to reach out and connect with the people around you.

With so much change, even the most agile, strong people we know are finding this time challenging. So, know that if you’re finding the days tough - you’re not alone.

In an effort to stay connected to our marine-loving community while we’re all living life on land, we’ve started spending more time planning for future adventures.

Hop onto Instagram and share how you’re planning to #LiveBeyondLandLater - the trips and travels you’re thinking up now that you’ll be stoked to head out on when we’re all back on the adventure game.


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