Finding Your Best Self on the Water: Why Downtime is Essential

By Debbie Hanson

Aug 14, 2023

Tips on finding your best self on the water, achieving mindfulness, well-being through water activities, how time on the water contributes to self-care

Finding your best self on the water should be easy, right? Think of an evening spent watching the sunset from your boat or hiking to a nearby lake and making a few casts from the shoreline. These are the things we love to do and so many new memories are waiting to be made on the water… but how often do most of us take time out of our schedules to relax and reflect?

In the spirit of total transparency, I’ve been guilty of not taking the time to do this lately. I’m sure many of you can relate. There always seems to be a never-ending list of errands, projects, and people that require your time. However, when we don’t prioritize self-care, our “busyness” ends up costing us a great deal more than we think. Check out a few ways I’ve learned to make a habit out of finding inner peace on the water.

1. Schedule in Time for Water-Based Activities

Sometimes we think we can’t adjust the next booking, bump the date on a speaking engagement, or even just turn our cell phones off for a few hours. The reality is that we can’t afford not to. When we don’t make time for relaxing activities (like boating and fishing) that help us stay mindful and present, it eventually catches up with us. In fact, there’s plenty of research that shows how lack of self-care can lead to issues like difficulty concentrating, feeling “burnout,” low energy, interrupted sleep, and less motivation to engage in the social activities we typically enjoy.

2. Set Firm Boundaries to be More Productive

As I think back, I hadn’t fully realized how months of concern over friends, finances, and the future in the aftermath of a natural disaster (Hurricane Ian) might have been affecting me. While I was spending time on the water with clients, I wasn’t taking the time to relax out there by making a few casts myself. This is where learning to set boundaries on a professional level is so important. Online resources such as Forbes, the Harvard Business Review, and the Cleveland Clinic offer practical tips on how to set healthy boundaries at work. You’ll improve your interactions with your clients, colleagues, or co-workers because you’ll be more focused and attentive during working hours.

3. Time on the Water Does Wonders

The water has always been a place for me to decompress and let go of all the thoughts that race through my head each day. Now I make a point of achieving mindfulness on the water by scheduling time on the water each week just for myself. As a result, I’m more creative as an outdoor writer, more focused as a fishing guide, more energized as a radio show host, more present with my family at home, and my quality of sleep is so much better.


Studies show that being outdoors boosts creativity, helps us manage our moods, and cope with long-term stress. When you focus on discovering your best self on the water, you might be surprised by how many other areas of your life start to improve. It’s amazing what a little self-care on the water can do!

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.