It’s almost summer, the schoolyear is ending and the summer break is around the corner (or if you’re lucky: has already begun) or these are your non-work weeks, which means for some people: it’s travel time. Traveling can be challenging, scary and trigger some anxiety if it’s something you’re nervous about. In this post I’ll be focussing on the anxious flyer and give my best tips to make that airplane time just a little bit easier!
To be honest, I’m not the best flyer either but I’ve gotten better at it in the last two years. I wasn’t even very nervous to fly the 12 hours back to the Netherlands after my Bali journey. I, however, am very nervous to go through security but that’s something I’ll address in another blogpost about anxious travellers! In the last two years, I’ve gotten some tips that have helped me to get over my anxiety of flying and I hope it’ll help you as it did for me!
It IS safe
It may not feel like this, but flying is the most safest mode of transport in the world. The chance of being involved in a plane crash are one in eleven million, compare this to the chance of being involved in a car crash (one in five thousand) and you’ll see the difference.
Entertainment to keep yourself busy
If you’re going on a long haul flight, or even a short haul flight, try to plan some activities that will help you get your mind of things. The convenient thing with a long haul flight are the entertainment options, they are plenty of movies to watch! If you want, you can watch a movie from the minute you take off, to the minute of the landing. Besides movies, they are some games and series available on the entertainment screens.
If I’m feeling anxious, I like to listen to music that will calm my nerves. So, try to find a playlist on Spotify or create your own playlist that’ll help you stay calm and distracted. For example, I love the playlist ‘The Most Beautiful Songs in the World’ if I need to get relaxed, and if I need to brighten my mood ‘Song to Sing in the Shower’ is the best playlist for me.
If you like to watch YouTube videos at home, I recommend to download some of your favourite vlogs. It’s not possible in every country, but if you can: do it. It’s so easy to watch the newest Zoella vlogs and just (almost) completely forget you’re on a plane. It’s smart to download a few episodes of your favourite Netflix show as well! Some YouTubers and Netflix shows I’m watching are:
→ MoreZoella: I’m sure most of you know her channel, but she posts long and cozy vlogs and she has the cutest dog.
→ The 100: The new season is finally here and I couldn’t be more excited. There are four full seasons out on Netflix!
→ Kristin Johns: She posts vlogs as well as “normal” videos.
→ Riverdale: It’s a pretty new show, but that makes it easy to start watching. There are two full seasons out on Netflix.
One of the best things to calm yourself in stressful situations are breathing exercises. Without realising, our breathing gets fast and short during those moments and can even make the situation worse. It’s best of you practice this before the flight, so you’ll know how to slow down your breathing in a panicked situation. The breathing exercise that helps me is to breath in for four seconds, hold my breath four seconds, breath out for four seconds and hold my breath four seconds. Very easy, it’s just 4 – 4 – 4 – 4. Now, it’s very normal if this isn’t helping you so try and find your best breathing exercise. Something else that might help is meditation. This is something you’ll need to start doing in advance to get the “hang of it” and to know what works for you and what doesn’t work for you.
Use an app
There a lot of apps in the Apple Store or Play Store that can help you through the flight. Some apps have the option to view your flight schedule, and can show where the turbulence is most frequent, how long the travel-time is and what the airports look like. One app that I’ve found is called the “VALK” App. The link is not the official website, but it explains the app pretty well. The link to the official website is listed at the end of the page. It’s basically your personal “in-flight therapist (as mentioned on their website) and it gives you information about the weather forecast, turbulence, flight schedule and essential facts. The app has an “panic” button as well, and it’ll give you steps and exercises to stop your panic and help your mind to calm down.
Turbulence is a reoccurring thing when you’re flying and it makes people very nervous. I understand why, but at the same time: it’s a very normal thing to happen while you’re flying. One thing that used to help me, is look at the flight attendances if I felt a bit anxious during the turbulence. They just continue with their job and tasks, and don’t even seem to notice the turbulence. My advice: if they’re calm, you can be calm as well. Try to think of it as a car driving over a bump? That’s not scary at all, neither should turbulence be. There are obviously moments when the turbulence gets a bit rough, but these moments aren’t very common during flights so unless it is that bad, just try to relax: listen to some music or watch that movie that’s been on your to-watch list.
Sleep during the flight
Sleep was the savior during my long-haul flight to and from Singapore. My essentials are: the most comfortable travel pillow, a scarf to cover yourself with if you’re cold or to cover your face with if you’re not comfortable with sleeping in public, some ear plugs to isolate the noise and an eye mask to dim the brightness around you. If you need to, try to take some melatonin: your body produces this, but you can help it a little bit with the melatonin pills. It simply makes you a bit sleepier during the flight. Time flies when you sleep!
These were my personal tips to help me get through an anxious(long-haul) flight! Hopefully they’ll work for you, and if not: please share your tips in the comments! I’ll see you Sunday.