Do you get anxious just thinking about getting on a plane? Recently, I was talking with one of my best friends and she shared her insecurities with me. She told me that it had gotten to the point that she got really stressed and anxious as the time approached to board the plane. About three weeks before this conversation, I had a similar one with another good friend of mine. She questioned how I could fly so much. She confessed that flying terrifies her. She just gets too stressed thinking about it to even consider it anymore. This got me to thinking that maybe I should share some tips as there might be others who could benefit from this information.
I will confess that I don’t like to fly. But that is not out of fear but rather due to the inconvenience of it these days: airport security, small seats with limited legroom, bad airplane food, and flight delays. But I don’t let myself dwell on these things. I simply remind myself that it is a small price to pay for the adventure that lies ahead. This is a means to an end. I keep my thoughts positive and keep my mind on the prize. Here are some other suggestions:
1. Pick the right seat. Try to get an aisle seat over the wing. Some experts will advise you to seat near the front of the plane but not me. The most stable place to be is mid-plane over the wing span. Book an aisle seat as nervous fliers have no need to look out the window and no one wants to be seated in the middle unless it is between family.
2. Wear comfortable clothes. Wear shoes you can walk around the airport in and get some cardio before the flight. It will help with your apprehension. Also, it will help wear you out so that you might rest on the plane. Furthermore, it’s good for you to get some exercise before being ambulatory for several hours. Wear loose fitting pants. I don’t like wearing sweaters on a plane as it can get stuffy and you’ll be hot. Instead, wear a thin, long-sleeved shirt and bring a jacket.
3. Invest in a lavender travel pillow. Lavender is a calming scent and having something from home helps calm you. Besides, I try to avoid using airplane blankets and pillows for hygiene reasons. Even though they are in a wrapper when you get them, they are not new and have probably not been washed since the last traveler!
4. Eat light before you go and while in transit. Your stomach can get upset if you’re stressed. Packing it with a lot of food won’t help. Also, stick to comfort foods–nothing spicy or hard to digest, such as beef or lettuce or cabbage or beans.
5. Don’t consume caffeine or booze. Caffeine will just make you jittery and alcohol could make you dizzy or woozy. Remind yourself that once you get there you can have all the mojitos and coffee you want.
6. Take deep cleaning breaths. This may sound lame but it works–and it’s good for you. Did you know that most of us don’t breath deeply enough on a daily basis? Deep breaths are cleansing and therapeutic, not to mention that it gives you something to concentrate on during take off rather than stressing over take off.
7. Bring gum or hard candy for take off and landing. I like to chew gum or suck on hard candy during these times as it helps with ear popping and is another thing to concentrate on rather than stressing out.
8. You can ask your doctor to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication if you really think you need it. But I suggest trying alternative meds instead. The reason being that some prescription meds can make you groggy or woozy even twenty-four hours later. And there are side effects to all drugs. Instead, try St. John’s Wort, peppermint tea, or ginger tablets.
9. Keep yourself entertained. Bring an iPad or Kindle with your favorite shows, books, and movies loaded on it. If you have trouble concentrating, just switch it up. Read a chapter and then watch a sitcom. You can also do mindless tasks, such as checking emails or reading magazines or news headlines online. Be sure to charge your device before departure and bring your charger so that you can charge it for the return trip.
10. Last, but not least, bring a photo and/or itinerary of your trip (or load on your mobile device) and look at it often to remind yourself that this is worth it! This too shall pass! You will soon be where you have been dreaming of and planning on going for the last few months or all your life if this is a bucket trip!