Well, our cruise is over and we are flying home from Copenhagen.
So today I thought I would re-post this article about conquering your fear of flying.
It originally appeared as a guest post a few months back
She is also a cruise lover and if you haven't seen her blog,
you should definitely spend some time with a cup of tea exploring her archives.
She is one of my favorites.
It's not something that I talk about often, but I can be a bit of a Nervous Nelly.
Oh, who am I kidding? I have full blown anxiety disorder.
(Way to over-share, huh? As my husband says... "You're so American.")
But, I am determined to not let this wacky, chemical, hormonal thing that
happens in my brain to prevent me from having these moments
and experiencing life to the fullest.
And I don't want you to live anything but your best life either.
Because medication isn't an option for me,
I've come up with all sorts of tricks to
hide manage my panic.
Today I'm going to share a few tips for managing a fear of flying.
I hate, hate, hate, hate to fly.
No really. I hate it. But, I do it all the time now.
(Thankfully, it 's getting easier.)
I basically treat my flying anxiety like a naughty child.
I fill up a Hello Kitty backpack full of every conceivable trick
and distraction that I can think of to keep this little brat in check.
And then I just start whipping stuff out, right and left to see what works.
Here are a few things in this bag of tricks that have worked for me.
Don't feed the monster.
Get plenty of sleep the night before and have a nice, light meal before flying.
Anxiety loves a tired, hungry, hungover flyer like I love Iced Tea.
Control what you can.
Plan out everything and consider the whole process before you set out to the airport.
Leave yourself plenty of time to get checked in and through security.
Prepare yourself for lines and delays.
I'd rather have an extra hour to relax at the gate than
to be racing for the gangway at the last minute.
But, life and delays happen. Try to stay positive and flexible.
Knowledge is power.
I realize that panic isn't rational and you can't just "decide" it away (if only).
But knowing what to expect when you're flying, can be very helpful.
Google common noises that you'll hear when you are flying.
Do some research on exactly how it works and read about "the dreaded T word."
(I have to whisper the word "turbulence" or my brat goes completely nuts.)
Use your imagination for good rather than evil.
I recently read that planes are meant to fly.
They are happiest and at their best when up in the air.
That's really helped to ease some of my fear.
Suddenly I'm that kid from The Never Ending Story riding on the
back of that cute flying dragon/dog creature,
instead of in this massive piece of machinery that I don't understand.
(My pop culture references are quite dated, aren't they?)
Distract that brain.
Like a naughty child, you can tell when your mind is getting wound up.
Find some good distractions. A book that you're already engrossed in is perfect.
I never start a new book, because I just find myself reading the same sentence over and over.
Reading magazine articles about travel and strong women,
helps me to feel more brave and courageous.
And it helps to focus on all of the magical destinations out there rather than the scary flight.
Music is always powerful. It's hard to be upset when you're listening to
the soundtrack for Mamma Mia or some good 80's hair bands.
Flying 101 - Don't forget to breathe.
I always use deep breathing exercises which definitely helps.
I'll often find myself holding my breath to the point of dizziness without even realizing it.
So breathe deep calming breaths.
I've also tried some reflexology by massaging the padded area at the base of my thumb
or my finger tips. I read about it somewhere and figured it's worth a try.
Try not to watch the clock.
Try not to watch the clock.
I obsess over time when I'm flying.
I have to know exactly what time the plane will take off,
exactly how long we will be in the air and what time we are landing.
I do this game of checking the time and calculating exactly how much longer.
I try to go as long as possible without checking the time,
so that when I do look, more time will have passed than I expected.
(I realize I probably shouldn't admit to this behavior, but it's just reality.)
Make a human connection.
I always take a look at the people around me.
I look into the eyes of the flight attendants and think about their families.
I look at the children and little ones around me and
think about the bright futures they have in front of them.
It seems to help me to think about life in the big context
rather than just me in this little space and time,
hurtling through the air in a metal tube.
(Because that's not scary at all, is it?)
Those are most of my big tricks.
I've usually exhausted them all by the time we are fifteen minutes into the flight.
So, then I just wake up my husband, ask him for his wallet,
tackle a flight attendant and demand a Gin & Tonic.
(Yes, the pillar of support that is my husband sleeps through all of my internal turmoil.)
Lastly, I would say "Don't be so hard on yourself."
Panic and anxiety are real. It takes epic effort to control. It's not fun. It pretty much sucks.
But, there are many others who get it and understand the
Herculean effort it takes to get on that plane each time.
And it is absolutely worth it!
What's in your bag of tricks to get you or someone you love through a flight?