I do not fly well
Call it a Fear, Anxiety, being Irrational - it simply is what it is.
As long as I can remember I have never truly enjoyed flying. Whether it’s long haul international or a short domestic flight, my mood drops, personality disappears and it becomes one exhausting episode. There’s something about being on a plane, heavily restricted to a seat and lavatory being thousands of kilometers up in the sky. Not to mention turbulence, shaking or being stuck in clouds for the duration of your flight that just gets my anxiety ripe red.
One would think that because I travel for both work and holidays that I would get used to it. Small 30 seater planes to Esperance or an Airbus to Europe; to me, a plane is a plane and there is always a sense of unease. In the last few years, I wanted to unpack this fear to understand it better. With opportunities to increase travel both domestically and internationally for work, I did not want to let my fear get in the way.
How do I deal?
- Counting Down: When I'm traveling long haul I will rationalize time. Instead of being overwhelmed at the thought of a 16-hour flight, I will break it down into half and quarters. This helps to tick it off in my mind quicker than just take-off and landing.
- Breathe: Breathe is linked with mood, so I find that making sure I am breathing calmly helps to not agitate my mood. Breathing/meditation apps are a good idea when you need more guidance.
- Distractions: Whether you fly budget or premium, having distractions are helpful to get your mind off the height, turbulence and time. Podcasts, Books, Movies and even conversation are great to momentarily forget where you are.
- Research: Learning about flying can help to contextualize your time on a plane. There are various documentaries, videos and the like that offer some insight on air travel. What I found helpful is the notion that whilst you're in the air there are thousands of other planes also.
Every flight helps to condition me further to being comfortable on a flight. Building a routine and being calm has helped to keep my anxiety at bay. Do I expect to love flying? Probably not in the short term. But it is something that I know I am not alone in, and it's worth sharing. Another work in progress.
Do you like flying? If not how do you get by on a flight?!