I wanted to start this post by telling you all how moved I was reading all of your responses to my question on Instagram in reference to the fear of flying. I had mothers reaching out saying they haven’t taken their kids to see the ocean because of their anxiety and so many begging for this post saying they had a flight coming up (some being months from now) that was already causing them stress. Trust me when I say I know that feeling all too well. I’ve cried on a plane sitting next to strangers. I’ve laid awake for hours the night before a flight praying it got cancelled. I’ve even planned road trips (like obnoxiously long) only because I didn’t want to get on a flight, no matter how short. I’ve also missed out on amazing business opportunities because of it. It feels overwhelming and paralyzing, I know. To say I’m on the other side of that fear is a HUGE weight off of my shoulders. Can you imagine how great it’s going to feel when you tackle this yourself?! I promise you can! I’ve taken bits and pieces of everyone’s advice I’ve been given over the years and coupled that with experiences I’ve had, good and bad, and learned a few key strategies that work for me.
No caffeine the day I have a flight. None. I understand how difficult this one is, I can barely get up without the promise of a hot cup of coffee waiting for me in the kitchen, but trust me, this one is huge! I try to book morning flights so I can get up and go but even if they are later in the day it’s still No Caffeine for me. It makes me jittery when I’m already nervous and really does nothing good for me when my anxiety starts to kick in. Even now that I’m not nervous I still stick to this rule. I actually feel SO much more relaxed when I’m a bit sleepy getting onto a flight. I’ve even fallen asleep a few times recently and that’s a really good feeling.
Book seats towards the front. I know this one can be totally out of your control sometimes but it really makes a big difference if turbulence makes you uneasy. I’m actually surprised at how many people I’ve talked to that didn’t realize it feels a bit different up front as opposed to in the back of the plane. I’m not saying you have to sit in first class but whenever possible I get as close to the front of the plane as I can if it fits in my budget. Sometimes the extra charge for Comfort+ is worth it if it will make you more comfortable. This is easier to do the sooner you book your flight when more seats are available to choose from. *It has no effect on the safety of the aircraft, just makes the bumps a little less bumpy 🙂
Speaking of turbulence, here is something you can do that might make you feel a bit better – the next time you’re a passenger in a car, close your eyes and feel the bumps along the way. When we hit bumps on the highway we don’t think twice about it, nor do we think we are in danger or that the car is going to run off the road… it’s the same in the air. You’re going to hit pockets of air and it’s going to feel uncomfortable at times but you are never in any danger because of turbulence. Also take a deep breath and relax when you start to feel the bumps. This sounds easy doesn’t it – but if you’re anything like me you grab the armrest and stiffen up from head to toe… I promise that only makes it worse. If you can relax your muscles (this will take some concentration) the bumps don’t feel like much at all! When you allow your body to go with the movement of the plane instead of trying to fight it you will be amazed at how different it will feel. *Please note it is always important to keep your seatbelt fastened when you’re in your seat. There is always a chance for unexpected turbulence so it’s an important cautionary measure to take.
Take a self help course online. Did you know these even existed? I found a good one a few years ago (fearofflyinghelp.com) and even though it’s pretty dated now, it’s filled with all kinds of helpful information and facts about flying. Once you actually learn about flying and turbulence (you know, instead of making up false scenarios in your head that make you nervous… guilty) it doesn’t seem all that scary. I’ve learned that a lot of my fears stem from being uneducated on whatever it is I am fearful of. I always look to the Captain and the flight attendants, they clearly know what they’re doing and if they aren’t nervous, I have no reason to be either. There are so many resources out there to take advantage of and I highly suggest taking advantage of this before your next flight.
A few more tips and tricks:
Download a movie you can’t wait to watch! I usually go with a comedy or something light hearted. A few recent faves are The Upside, 5 Feet Apart, Instant Family, and I Feel Pretty 🙂
Pack your favorite snacks you usually don’t indulge in (I love food so this one is fun for me haha).
Get some good headphones if the noises bother you. Some can get pricey but the noise cancelling ones make a huge difference on flights!
Get comfy! I like to bring a cozy pair of socks or a small blanket. If you’re cozy AND uncaffeinated you will be so much more comfortable and might be able to snooze, which would be a huge win!
Tell the flight attendant. This is what they do for a living and they are always so understanding if you let them know. They’ll usually take extra good care of you and check on you from time to time if they can. You might even get some free goodies out of it 🙂
If you use essential oils now is a great time to use a little Lavender or Stress Away (made by Young Living). I will put it on my wrists and inhale the relaxing scent throughout the flight. Again, the more relaxed you can get, the better!
Have a glass of wine. I’m not a big drinker and am definitely not talking about drinking in excess on a flight, however I have treated myself to ONE glass of wine and enjoyed it as a treat. *Keep in mind this is only when I know I am being picked up from the airport and not driving myself once I land. And of course I am plenty over the age of 21… ha.
From the bottom of my heart I hope you found this post helpful. Once you acknowledge your fear, and take steps to address it, I have no doubt that you will be better prepared and might even enjoy an upcoming flight!
If you have any helpful tips of your own please share them below for others to read!