Because the goal is worth it
I found my inspiration for this article from my upcoming trip to Arizona for Spring Break. While I’m super excited to escape the cold and snow, the process of getting to my destination is a bit of a personal nightmare. While most of the time I don’t suffer from a phobia of flying, it’s not a joyful experience for me. While I can sit still and not panic, my heart is racing and my mind is overwhelmed with worry. So, long story short, I can best describe this experience as a nervous flyer. Still, my love of travel challenges me to face my nerves and take advantage of air travel at least once a year. Over the years I’ve learned some tips and tricks to help me quell my fear of the skies. I hope that my “coping skills” will benefit others with similar struggles. Now, without further ado, I present my five tips for a nervous flyer.
1. Make yourself comfortable
This is just a general rule of mine when it comes to flying. There’s no one to impress, so just embrace the grunge look. When it comes to pants, you might be tempted to go the route of sweatpants, but sometimes they can be too warm for a plane. I suggest some nice and cozy leggings, not too hot and not too cold. As for the top, a sweatshirt and t-shirt will never fail. But those are just my suggestions, just wear what you feel comfortable with. Just please for me, don’t wear heels. In addition, there are other measures you can take to feel comfortable and relaxed. A blanket, snacks, and water are never a bad idea.
2. Bring a variety of activities to pass the time
Having multiple options to keep you busy during the flight is essential for two reasons. First, activities can act as a distraction from the anxiety that is slowly threatening to drive you insane. Second, they make the time fly by (see what I did there). Good options include TV shows/movies and books to replace absent-minded scrolling with Tik Tok. Remember to download your media to your phone before you travel as you cannot trust the free WiFi. Of course, feel free to do other activities as long as they don’t require a lot of exercise. Personally, I like coloring books because they’ve been shown to reduce anxiety; plus, who doesn’t love to embrace their childlike side.
3. Girls, just stop checking the time
I mean, that’s pretty self-explanatory. The worst thing about being stuck on a plane is that there’s nothing you can do to speed things up. You have nowhere to go and no way out, which can be a horrible experience (trust me, I know). You’ll get through it, but there’s no reason to make it worse than it has to be. For this reason I say avoid the cruel father’s hand. Avoid looking at the clock on your phone, laptop, wristwatch, etc. as this will speed up the flight. The worst thing you can do is sit slowly and watch the seconds pass. It’s the worst form of self-torture for a nervous aviator, and you deserve better.
4. Embrace the power of deep breathing
Well, for some, this tip will be a little too alternative, hippie gibberish. I know this because I’ve felt this way about breathing exercises for a long time. It seems pretty silly and unnecessary but recently my therapist taught me a deep breathing exercise and what can I say I’m addicted to it. I do it every night before I fall asleep and it has changed everything. Whenever I feel an overwhelming tide of emotion, I pull out this bad boy. It’s easy, all you have to do is breathe in deeply through your nose for five seconds, hold your breath until slightly uncomfortable, then breathe out through your mouth for five seconds and repeat. I usually repeat this pattern five times, but honestly, dealer’s choice. The key is to focus on counting and the rise and fall of your stomach. Remember, practice makes perfect, so give it a try a few times before boarding a plane.
5. When in doubt, rest
I mean how could the flight go better than not being aware of it? So if you’re one of those people who can take a nap, embrace it. Sleeping makes time go super fast, you won’t be overwhelmed by anxiety, and a bonus is that you wake up feeling good and refreshed. If falling asleep isn’t an easy task for you, you might just need to ignore this tip; However, you can also try melatonin for an extra boost of fatigue. I have found this to help me fall asleep or just feel more relaxed during my air travel.
Ideally, I could tell you that with the help of these five little things, your fear of flying will just melt away, but we know that’s not realistic. Being a nervous flier is something you must learn to deal with. One thing that can help ease your worries is knowing that you are not alone. It is very common and natural to feel uncomfortable when flying. Well, it might not be great, but you can get through it. I’ll also tell you one thing, in this case it’s not the journey that counts, but the destination.