JC Travels: Tips for Anxious Flyers on Long Haul Flights
If you go way back in the Jasmin Charlotte archives, one of my first and most popular posts ever, was a post on handling your fear of flying. Now a lot has changed since then, not only my blogging style and photos but also how I deal with my fear of flying.
Let’s give a little bit of background, when I was young, flying wasn’t an issue. It was only in my teens where it became a problem. And I mean a real problem, not just a little anxious feeling, but like hysterical crying, before, during and occasionally after the flight itself. Eventually the only option to keep my calm on flights was medication, an anti anxiety pill which would make me very sleepy.
Well, since then, I’m happy to report that I am now one of those flyers that, firstly, doesn’t need any medication before the flight, but also looks pretty calm on the flight itself! If you look at me, you wouldn’t know I was feeling an inch of fear. So here are my tips, and although these are especially useful for long haul flights, the same tactics apply for short haul too.
Before the Flight:
Sort out your breathing
This doesn’t just apply to fear of flying, but all types of anxiety. If you can learn to control your breathing, and therefore calm your physical body when you mind is going beserk, then you will feel better. Get into headspace app, calm and just practice a bit of meditation in whatever way you find easiest. Once you have all this sorted on land, then you will find it easier to use those techniques when you are in the air. A friend of mine from the UK is a frequent flyer and uses CBD oil serums like these ones from Blessed CBD UK before flying to help alleviate her pre-flight anxiety so she can focus. Alternative medicines aren’t for everyone but for some people they do bring relief. There are loads of places that you can get CBD oil from. So it might be a good idea to do your research first and find the best company for you. For example, you might be interested in checking out something like Yours Nutrition to help give you a better idea of what else is out there.
Educate yourself (and get selective blindness)
A key bit before the flight is to educate yourself on the flight itself and how safe it is. Although this may not help much on the flight itself – it can help to learn a bit more about what is happening and what all those weird noises are. One of the main noises you hear on the plane is actually just air con! Learning about what turbulence is also really helped in stopping that anxiety when turbulence does hit.
The other main thing to think here is stopping your exposure to things which will spark that anxiety. This means, that whenever something bad happens to a plane as it SO rare, it means that every media outlet will cover it heavily. You need to avoid this!! Along with any kind of film which goes on this theme or any TV show which includes some kind of ‘air crash investigation’ – avoid at all costs!! Trust me, your mind can conjure up enough bad scenarios without having any kind of emphasis or new ideas popped in there. Selective blindness is needed.
A big thing, is not bigging up the flight before you go on it. I used to lie in bed for nights before the flight, just dwelling on it and getting myself more and more worked up. This then meant, by the time I got to the plane, I had already been stressing about it for days! So you need to make sure that this doesn’t happen.
The best way for me is distraction, either think about the holiday you are going on every time it pops up, or book yourself something nice for the day before the flight, so you can just think of that. I like to book a nice pre flight massage the day before, as I know I can just get excited about that before I head off!
During the Flight:
Control as much as you can
First step for when you get on the plane itself is actually to figure out what makes you feel the most comfortable and preparing for this. A big thing for me, is my seat. The noises and bumps will vary depending on where you are on the plane – with the front and over the wings being the most stable. I will always try and get seats at the front of the plane if possible.
I’m also an aisle seat lover – I like having easy access out of my seat if needed, can get up and about and generally feel a bit free-er. Therefore, if I manage to get an aisle seat at the front of the plane, then I know I will be most comfortable and won’t get any additional anxieties – like not being able to get out if I desperately need the loo!
Keep yourself physically well
If you start to feel sick or ill on the plane, then this will make you feel worse in your flight anxiety. Therefore, it’s best to keep yourself feeling physically well. A big thing for me, is hydration. You are on this flight for a long time, if you think of 14 hours on the ground, you drink a whole lot in that time period. But when nothing is changing, it can be hard to remember to keep hydrated. Make sure you bring a big water bottle with you on the plane and try and fill it up regularly.
If you have got an aisle seat, then make sure you get up regularly. I always get up at least every hour, either pop to the loo or just stand by my seat and do some stretches – this stops the fluid building in the legs and keeps me feeling fresh. You can see that the aisle seat is essential for me to have a good flight experience.
Keep yourself double busy
This is the big one, when I’m on a flight, I need to keep double busy. This means doing two things at once. If I try to just sit and watch a movie, then the brain will go off in its panic spiral and I won’t end up feeling great. This mainly involves either watching a film whilst doing some kind of word puzzle, I usually like to buy a cross word / word search book before I get on. Or maybe listening to some podcasts whilst playing a few games on my phone. Reading is also a good one as you are forced to concentrate – I’ll usually put some quiet, calm music on at the same time to really help me chill. Keeping yourself busy is the best cure to your anxiety.
Work with the flight attendants and the people around you
If you are very worried, then let the flight attendants know when you board – especially if you are flying by yourself. This usually means they will check on you throughout the flight which always made me feel better, especially if there was turbulence. If I was by myself then I would also let the people around me know if I thought I was going to be jumpy. Flying with friends and family can be helpful, but I always prefer for them to not pay attention to my fear – if they are relaxed and having a nice flight, then I will naturally calm down, seeing that everything was normal!
So there we are, I hope these tips are useful. Flying often also really helps as your fear will naturall subside. My fear has naturally declined over time and it will for yu too! Don’t let your feat of flying stop you from getting your travel adventures.
What do you do to help keep calm whilst flying?