Many people experience anxiety and distress before or during a flight. My anxiety regarding air travel always puts a hindrance on what would otherwise be a relaxing and enjoyable trip away. Over the years, I’ve come up with some coping mechanisms that help decrease and distract me from my flight-related worries.
Disclaimer– These are all natural and homeopathic remedies. If you are suffering from severe anxiety, please get in contact with your GP.
Using Herbal Remedies/Products
In all honesty, I’m not sure if it was the placebo effect of it, but having something to take/use before the plan was a method that appealed to me. I knew I didn’t want prescription medication, and so I decided to see what stress and anxiety-relieving natural remedies I could find. In the end, I used two different products: Aveda Stress-Fix Pure-Fume Roller ball and Bach Rescue Remedy droplets.
Aveda’s Stress Fix rollerball is a combination of lavender, lavandin and clary sage. The combination of natural ingredients aims to reduce stress and provide a sense of calm. Lavender is a naturally calming ingredient, and for me, it reminds me of a peaceful nights sleep in my own home. I apply it to the wrists and neck, as these pulse points are going to maximise the scent released.
Bach Rescue Remedy works in a different way: you ingest the product by placing four drops on the tongue in times of increased anxiety or stress. The homeopathic remedy contains five unique flower essences that work to ‘comfort & reassure, to calm and support your emotional balance in this uncertain time’.
I’m not one 100% sure of their total effect as I was using them intermittently, and in combination with other methods and activities, but the act of taking the three droplets and applying the serum was calming and distracting in itself. Just by doing something with the incentive of helping my mind and body helped to relieve my fixation on worries regarding the flight.
Distract Yourself With Entertainment
On my most recent flight, I downloaded twenty episodes of New Girl to watch; a television show I know and love and thus wasn’t only a distraction, but comfort too. I love podcasts and so having the opportunity to immerse myself in a few of my faves without the grind of daily life was a real treat. I’d recommend an activity with headphones as this helps block out outside noises which can act as a trigger to your anxiety. Alternatives could be listening to your favourite playlist, some instrumentals to sleep to, or an audiobook to immerse yourself in.
Eat To Feel Good
When I feel anxious, my instinct is to avoid food. My mind becomes so overwhelmed with anxiety that food doesn’t even enter my mind. Others have a heightened appetite when stressed or anxious. However your body reacts, you should eat before flying. Eating will help fuel your brain, ensuring normative function, which will make you feel calmer and more at ease.
Flying should be an exciting time. It’s an opportunity to treat yourself and indulge in things you otherwise might not. Go to Pret and grab your favourite sandwich, have a sweet coffee, and take your favourite sweets for the journey. Make sure you surround and provide yourself with things that make you happy.
As well as feeling mentally at ease, you need to feel physically comfortable too. So much of our anxiety is present in the way we hold ourselves and how our bodies function in times of distress. Make sure you feel comfortable in your body, and this will manifest and reflect how you feel mentally. Ensure you’re in clothes that you feel comfortable in and take a pillow or blanket for the ride. Small comforts like these will provide an air of normalcy and safety to the brain.
Develop Your Breathing Techniques
You can practise breathing techniques that help keep your body and mind calm. Breathing techniques are proven to be one of the best ways to control anxiety. You can practise breathing through a variety of ways; meditation, yoga, and daily breath-focused activities. Apps such as Headspace and Happy Not Perfect provide on the go resources for mindful activities related to breathing and breathwork.
I love yoga, and I try to fit in daily practice. In the lead up to experiences I know will be particularly anxiety-inducing, I focus on this and tailor my practice towards calming routines with a focus on breathing.
Try To Get Some Sleep
Sleeping during your flight is one of the best ways to eliminate anxiety whilst in flight. It might be difficult to sleep for the entirety of the journey, but getting a few hours shut-eye if possible is going to be one of the easiest ways to avoid anxiety and make your time flying feel shorter.
Pick Your Seat
Generally, highly-anxious people have particular preferences and ways they like things to be done during times of increased anxiety. After one stressful flight, where I was bursting for the bathroom but in the window seat with two sleeping bodies next to me, I now prefer to sit in the aisle seat. The extra space this allows also helps reduce worries relating to claustrophobia and cleithrophobia. Some people enjoy the window seat, whilst others prefer the safety of the middle seat. If you have a preference, you can ensure you get the seat you want by paying a little extra when booking, or by politely explaining your situation and asking others if they mind moving once on the aircraft.
Take any steps necessary to make sure you feel as comfortable and at ease as you possibly can.
Finally, it always helps to be reminded that flying remains the safest mode of transport. Safer than jumping in your car or hopping on the train, flying might seem more daunting and dangerous, but in reality, it’s the opposite.
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