05/06/2017

LETS TALK FLIGHT ANXIETY

First off, let me start by saying that this is a post way over due. To the point where a few of my friends have repeatedly said to me "you need to do a post on your fear of flying" several times now.
It's true, I do and although I am not a professional, I am going to share with you a few (embarrassing) routines I do, a few facts and things to help someone who is a nervous flier.
Lets start.
Why?
I'm going to be honest, I don't know. My first flight was to New York (I know!! crazy!) and it was quite smooth and once I was up, I was fine. I've since discovered that it's just take off that I have a problem with. This only came to me after I had taken a few flights and I realised that turbulance cannot crash a plane. Nervous flighers, please read that again.
You always hear horror stories in the news and your friends always throw facts at you like "You're more likely to die on the way to the airport!!" (Please don't say this to us, it really does not bring any sort of comfort to us and makes us feel like a nuisance)

What routines do I have to get through it?
Some of these are really embarrassing and I can't believe I am sharing them but honestly these things help me get through a flight and that's what matters. (Please note I also suffer from motion sickness and a phobia of being sick so some of these might be a little odd to you.) None of these are in order.

1. I eat something small and savoury before a flight. This might be a croissant or a really unhealthy choice of a cookie if I can manage it without feeling sick. Sometimes I just can't but I buy something for the flight always. Sometimes I also find that I can't eat on a flight. Not due to sickness but due to left over nerves. I can usually only manage the bread and butter or crackers they hand out on an in flight meal (if you have one)
2. Water. I carry water every where any way but I physically carry this in my hands and put it straight in the pocket of the seat in front of me.
3. I hold the hand of the person I am with. Now, I'm getting better with this but if I can see it's rainy and I know it's going to be a bumpy take off, I ask the person I'm with to hold their hand.
4. Flight. Mode. I know some people are going to throw facts at me on how it doesn't matter and how some flights now have WIFI. If you are a nervous flier, you will do this any way but if you are flying with a friend who is nervous, please do this for them. Strangers, please do this if the person next to you is showing signs of nervousness. I don't know why but it makes us feel tons better.
5. I don't take pictures before the flight. In the airport, with the plane or even selfies on the plane. I see other people do this, I just can't do it. It makes me nervous. I don't know why but I associate it with bad luck. (However, beautiful window views and leaning over the person next to you for them is totally acceptable)
6. I chew my tshirts. This one is weird and I don't know why I do it but during take off, I do. A lot. Also, because I suffer from the motion thing, I have to tip my head back on take off and stare ahead at the seat belt sign. I must look nuts.
I know I do, I have received a few strange looks and have had to explain myself several times

A few tips for nervous fliers.
1. A plane cannot crash from turbulance alone. If it's bumpy and you are scared, find a member of staff to look at and see their reaction. 99.9% of the time they are not reacting at all. They are continuing on with their job.
2. Watch the demo at the start. You've seen it many times no doubt, memorised it even but there are always slight subtle changes between each airline and their procedure. Watch how it's done, even if you can't stand to look at the bored air hostesses face.
3. Water and Food. A lot of beauty guru's don't include this in their "plane essentials" videos and most include skin care lotions but these are important. Try and avoid sweet things though if you can.
4. Dutch courage. Yeah, go on, you're on holiday. Just one though! (I personally don't do this! haha)
5. Music. I don't do music but it might help you. Create a play list of songs that you have not heard for ages and play them to get through the flight.
6. A book! one you have just started reading and you're in to already. I hate it when you buy a book and just can't get in to it, especially when you are nervous.
7. Hold your friends hand on the part you're most nervous for. Take off or landing, just do it.
8. An adult colouring book. Entertainment, calming, distracting and frustrating, Perfect. This one is mostly if you are on a business trip and don't feel like letting your fit colleague Stuart hold your sweaty hand.
9. Talk to the person next to you. I have yet to travel solo but this is my plan on take off. Don't bother worrying about judgement, after the airport you are never going to see them again.
10. Don't sit in a window seat. As beautiful as it is, this is one of my routines and makes me feel more like I am on a train. I like to sit in the middle seat personally, it makes me feel safer.

(Side note: It is always bumpy flying in to Gatwick Airport. I don't know why but it's happened for me every single time. It helps me knowing this, hopefully it helps you too!)

Tips for flying with a nervous friend/family member
1. Please be patient with us.
2. Don't throw facts at us. This does not help. I had a stranger tell me all sorts of horrible terrifying facts and shouting "wahoo" during the worst turbulance of my life, which I then remembered on my next 5 flights.
3. Don't laugh or question our routines. If it helps us to get through it, don't be mean!

This has been quite an unintentional long post but it's close to home for me. What is important is that I have this fear but I still get on the plane and go and have the time of my life. You can too. Trust me. It doesn't keep me awake any more. I don't even think about the flight I am about to take until I am actually sitting and waiting for which gate my flight is at. This is also the reason why I have yet to take a solo trip but I am really hoping this will change soon.

Are you are nervous flier? if so, what are your routines? let me know!
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