Welcome back to Round Two of my personal survival tips for the apprehensive flier/traveler! Hopefully I’ll heed my own “words of wisdom” because this Saturday morning I’ll be on a plane, Chicago bound! I seriously can’t wait to see all of my friends and family 🙂
On the plane
At this point you are now seated and belted in with your carry on stored securely under your seat. This means it’s go time! In the past, I use to be way more nervous about flying and would begin to start feeling anxious about the flight in the days leading up to my departure. After about a year of doing that before each trip I decided that I couldn’t keep making myself so nervous for so much time in advance. So, I told myself that I was allowed to only start stressing about the flight right before take off.
Therefore, my “trick” to overcome anxiety as we take off is to “act naturally” and imagine that the other people sitting around me are way more nervous than I am. By forcing myself not to freak out and do what I use to do in the past on take off (breath quickly, obsessively look out the window, express my nervousness to people around me, hug my knees to my chest, and even cry a little…) I tell myself to be strong for the “poor person” next to me who is also internally struggling.
I know this sounds kinda nuts – and the person I’m sitting next to is probably and ex-Air Force pilot who is more comfortable in a plane than he is walking on the ground – but if I tell myself that “keeping it together” is going to help someone else feel less nervous I’m more likely to actually do it, and in the end feel better myself. This is seriously the one thing that has helped me the most – being empathetic to the possible anxiety of the other people on my flight (even if it’s imaginary) – in hopes that me pretending that everything is okay will prevent them from becoming nervous themselves!
If all else fails…
For me, that trick works most of the time, but in times of extreme discomfort sometimes an extra step is necessary. So, in cases when I can’t personally calm myself down I call in a professional….
…. a flight attendent! 🙂
As we sit on the plane before take off, I always scout out the flight attendants and decide which one appears to be the “nicest” (poor thing) – and make a mental note to go and talk to him/her if I start to feel extra nervous! I literally do just that – find a moment to get out of my seat when the flight attendants aren’t busy and explain to “the nice one” why I feel anxious (shameless, I know). I’ve only ever had to do this a few times, but talking to a “professional” about your fears and having them tell you not to be upset – that they fly everyday – that the pilot is wonderful and we’ll be landing shortly – works wonders!
I suggest to you if you’re ever totally desperate and stressed out on a plane to try it! Just voicing your fears helps you see how irrational they are and the calming words of a professional have more weight than those of your travel companion. 😉
Finally, it might help to study up a little on the mechanics of airplanes. For example, I use to always freak out about the “strange” noise the plane made right before landing – until Diego explained to me that it was only the sound of the landing gear activating, not the sound of the plane malfunctioning 😉 Now that noise to me is actually a source of comfort because it signifies that our touch down will be soon!
On the ground
Excellent work! You survived the flight, didn’t upset the people sitting around you because you remained calm, and Linda the flight attendant is now your new best friend….
….but unfortunately you’re a mess.
After a long flight I’m always a little worse for the wear in the “cleanliness” and “put togetherness” department. That’s why I always pack my makeup and mini toiletries in my carry on bag. That way, while I’m waiting for my checked suitcase to arrive, I can go into an airport bathroom and “freshen up” i.e. – apply a little make up, put in my contacts, brush my hair and teeth, reapply deodorant….
That way you can convince the people that are there to pick you up that you handled an eight hour flight with a delay, lay over, and turbulence like a (fresh smelling) champion 😉
What to wear
As promised here’s a run down of what I wear every time I fly and why:
- glasses instead of contacts – contacts dry out and irritate your eyes on a flight – especially if you sleep
- black sweat pants/leggings – for comfort and to avoid having to take off a belt and empty pockets at security (and black is a “classy” color so it naturally off-sets the casualness of the sweat pants) 😉
- a long fitted t-shirt – so I can lean over and rest my head on the tray table without the person next to me seeing my exposed lower back (haha yes for that reason only)
- a sweatshirt with a hood – to be able to put up the hood when I sleep
- the heaviest shoes I own (gym shoes in spring/summer and Ugg type boots in the winter) – that way they don’t take up space in my checked luggage
There you have it! Now you know how I survive the journey home every Christmas 😉 Hopefully these posts helped you in some way – even if the help was in the form of a laugh over my extreme travel coping devices. Finally, keep in mind – if you ever find yourself nervous in a “travel situation” stop and remember: If The Ray can do it, I most certainly can too! 😉
Happy Holidays to all! I’ll be seeing you soon! XOXO