Ever since Lisa was a child, she wanted to write a book.
Initially, she thought she might start with a fantasy or adventure novel. But instead, she found herself following a career where she herself (not a fictional character) could explore the high seas on ships.
Having been working at sea over the past 15 years, Lisa (originally from Lancaster but now based in Manchester), has been gathering little insights about life from every corner of the world. And in 2021, her childhood dream of writing a book came true when her first book Rise & Thrive: Quotes To Start Your Day For A Positive Mindset was published. Written to help people start the first chapter of their day (no matter what exact time that may be) Rise & Thrive is both practical and inspiring.
We just knew that we needed to get Lisa on our blog – and thankfully, she said yes! Here is her interview where she opens up about her career, book, and personal self-care routines while working at sea.
An Interview With Lisa
What does your typical day look like when you are working at sea?
“There’s no such thing as a typical day at sea and that’s part of the job’s charm! We are either cruising, at anchor, alongside in port, or in the shipyard for maintenance. I always make time to hit the gym and read my book (outside if the sun is shining).”
“If we’re in port, I like to see the local sights. When the vessel is underway, I work a day shift and a night shift, so I have to adapt my sleeping pattern regularly. This is one of the reasons I am such an advocate for finding a morning routine which works for YOU! With my job, I get to see remote places, meet lots of cool people and face new challenges.”
When it comes to your own mental health, what do you find yourself struggling with the most and what do you do about it?
“I like to keep busy and often take on too many projects at a time – thinking I’m super woman! I can get very anxious and have mild panic attacks, so when that happens, I draw from a number of self-care techniques. For me, this includes yoga or deep breathing exercises. Subsequently, I am proactive in managing that life/work balance, to remain in a state of flow.”
“I frequently suffer from imposter syndrome too! My husband reassures me, helps me to stay grounded and get perspective. It’s important I add that happiness is not guaranteed in life; it’s something you have to work on. Invest time working on yourself, such as journaling or therapy and aid the prevention of depression and anxiety. Self-care works wonders but we have to dedicate the time. It’s not selfish at all, it’s a matter of putting your oxygen mask on first so you can help others.”
Between travelling, long days, and changing time zones, how important is routine for your mental health? What does your morning/evening routine look like?
“I’m glad you highlighted time zones. They really mess with your physical and biological schedule! I began writing Rise & Thrive because I couldn’t find a book to help me start the day right – no matter what crazy shift I was keeping or time zone I was waking up in. To me, the morning is the first chapter of every day and my favourite time to read, learn and find focus.”
“I’ve found the key to a successful morning routine is to find the right ‘building blocks’ (habits) which align with your individual goals and have quotes or mantras which motivate and inspire you to accomplish those goals. My building blocks are stretching, hydrating, journaling, reading personal development books, and exercising. My husband and I recently got a cat, so playing with him whilst I have my first cup of coffee is part of my home-life morning routine, which is a delightful way to start the day.”
“Having that first hour to myself is sacred, when I set my intentions and commit to my overall personal development. It’s this time every day that I have clarity and perspective, practice gratitude in my journal, manifest a positive mindset for the day and learn from books – all of which are imperative for my mental health.”
“As I mentioned before, I have a very dynamic sleep pattern. With a split shift at work, I have to spread these building blocks out, otherwise my sleep would be compromised. Sleep is vital for your mental health! Having the discipline and structure of a morning routine, where you set your intentions each day, reflect at the end of the week, track progress in a journal to witness advancing towards your bigger goals can work wonders for your overall wellbeing and self-esteem.”
“Some readers have reported to me that they read the Rise & Thrive book before going to sleep to ready their mindset for the next day. It’s often true that the last thought you have before bed is the first thought the next day. For me, it’s quite a simple night time routine. I spray lavender water on my pillow, play nature sounds as I read a novel, and practise ‘The Military Method’ – an effective sleep technique by progressively relaxing your muscles from head to toe.”
“If I have a busy mind causing me to lie awake, I make notes in my phone. This seems to condense my thoughts and create the illusion that they are more manageable and can be dealt with tomorrow.”
What’s one piece of advice that you wish you could give your teenage self?
“There is nothing wrong with ambition or thinking differently. Follow your dreams, no matter how unconventional they may be and give it your all.” I work in a male dominated industry, but I didn’t know that before embarking on it, so I would add, “don’t let anyone stop you and ignore those who think you shouldn’t have a seat at the table.”
Of all the quotes in your book Rise & Thrive, which one is your favourite and why?
“This is tricky! Ultimately, my favourite quote depends on what mood I’m in! If I have a daunting task ahead of me and I begin to feel overwhelmed, I remind myself of Desmond Tutu saying, “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” I can get the job done gradually by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable chunks.”
“I also like this one for ‘life’s purpose’, if I ever need some perspective or to remind myself what I’m working towards: “The most important thing in life is to try and inspire people so they can be great in whatever they choose to do.” – Kobe Bryant. The first Rise & Thrive book has sold over 4,000 copies and I am proud that I’ve put myself out there into the world to help others, even if it’s in a small way.
Are you working on any new projects at the moment that you would like to share?
“I would like to write more books in the Rise & Thrive series for students, seafarers, wedding prep, and many more. I’ve also thought about formatting a quotes book for bedtime reading, as opposed to starting your day.”
“I have recently published, Rise & Thrive: Quotes To Start Your Day For Fitness Motivation, to help readers get active and reach their fitness goals in a healthy, sustainable, mindful way and improve their overall well-being!”
Check Out Lisa’s Rise & Thrive books
Rise & Thrive: Quotes to Start Your Day offers a daily dose of uplifting quotes to help readers shift their mindset into a positive gear. It is available to purchase on Amazon, Barns & Noble, and Waterstones.
Rise & Thrive: Quotes to Start Your Day for Fitness Motivation is the second book in Lisa’s Rise & Thrive series, written to inspire readers to achieve their fitness goals. It is available to purchase on Amazon and Barns & Noble.
About The Lily-Jo Project’s International Weekend of Self-Care
This blog article is a part of The Lily-Jo Project’s International Weekend of Self-Care campaign which takes place in August. To learn more about this campaign and access additional self-care resources, visit www.thelilyjoproject.com/internationalweekendofselfcare.
Further Resources on Self-Care
If you found this article helpful, check out the following resources on self-care:
- Article from The Lily-Jo Project, How to Self-Care as a Carer: Advice from Counsellor Natasha Page
- Article from The Lily-Jo Project, How to Self-Care When Battling an Eating Disorder: Samantha’s Story
- Article from The Lily-Jo Project, Let’s T.A.L.K. Self-Care With Lily-Jo
- Article from The Lily-Jo Project, Let’s Read! 100+ Mental Health and Self-Help Books for 2023
About Lisa Blackshaw
Lisa Blackshaw is the author and creator of the Rise & Thrive series of motivational lifestyle books.
As an experienced mariner, Lisa has sailed four of the seven seas gathering insights from all over the world. She began writing because she couldn’t find a book to help her start the day – no matter what crazy shift she was keeping or time zone she was waking up in. To her, the morning is the first chapter of every day and her favourite time to read, learn and find focus.
Lisa wishes to inspire the world through her writing and make it possible for everyone to use the ‘Rise & Thrive’ techniques for their own positive mindset.