In our special column, ‘Wellness Corner’, Gisa Paredes, Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer for WellAtSea and Licensed Psychologist, says sector should embrace a detailed strategy on mental health, with regulations for workplaces to implement the bare minimum and the eradication of stigma associated with mental health.
isa acknowledges that visits to her therapist and psychiatrist for mental health checks have paid off, and she advises everyone over a certain age, to make an investment in mental health management and good therapy. She also refers to the activities that make her feel happy and get into the flow and says she likes to spend time with others and work on her relationships with them.
SAFETY4SEA: What does ‘wellness’ mean to you? What do you do in your every day life to embrace wellness?
Gisa Paredes: When I talk about my own wellness journey, I consider aspects of myself that are important to me such as my relationships, the quality of my thoughts, the food I consume, the energy that I share and welcome into my life, acquiring knowledge – being able to grow intellectually, emotionally, and practically – and keeping my body strong and well. I think that one way that I make sure I have a little bit of everything in my life is by reviewing my day to day experiences through gratitude as well as a constant re-evaluation of where I am on my journey and what more I would like to create.
S4S: What are the two things to do that can make you feel happy after a challenging day?
G.P.: I grew up in a musical family, so music plays a big role in shifting my mood at the end of a long day. I could either put on a tune to dance it all out to, or a more somber tone that will help put me at ease and meditate on the day. On some days, a good physical release like a run, jog, or swim, are all great outlets to be able to manage a low mood. And on other days, being surrounded by friends works its magic just the same.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile wellbeing investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
G.P.: Investing in my own regular mental health checks with both my therapist and psychiatrist have certainly proven to be worthwhile at my age and with a career in maritime. I think that everyone at a certain age needs to invest in really good therapy and better mental health management.
S4S: What do you do to keep balance between your personal and business life?
G.P.: I think I am the type of person who is always making plans, reaching out to people, checking in on our schedules, and literally finding time in my work week to slip in at least one or two moments where I can spend time with my favorite people. It’s important that we spend time with the people we like and that we make those relationships work too.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your personal life?
G.P.: If there is anything that I have learned in recent years, it is “don’t hold on too tightly”. I’ve had to learn how to deal with change and keeping a more neutral stance towards outcomes. While having goals and ambitions are good, we need to save room for life’s surprises to come in. Sometimes when we plan, the universe shows us other ways in which we can achieve our dreams and goals. There is no one way to be. People change, so do our circumstances. Nothing is permanent.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape with regards to wellbeing?
G.P.: Too many things! But if we’re being practical, I would like to see a thorough policy on mental health, requirements for workplaces to implement the bare minimum, and for the stigma that we carry in our attitudes towards others needs to be eliminated.
S4S: What wellness-promoting initiatives would you like to see in the workplace?
G.P.: The WellAtSea solution, of course! We are a full-service implementation solution for the very purpose of promoting and engaging entire organizations towards sustainable health behavior change.
S4S: What is the one thing that you are feeling grateful at the moment?
G.P.: The opportunity to share my life’s purpose globally.
S4S: What are your hobbies/ favorite activities?
G.P.: I enjoy trying new places to eat, particularly tasting menus! Other things I enjoy are getting into the flow of an activity like building lego, coloring and painting, journaling and using self-help therapy cards, yoga, meditation, swimming laps, and dancing (for fun).
S4S: What is your personal motto?
G.P.: All for the highest and best, always in all ways. 😉
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.