Ah, the word flying. Even hearing it gives me a little queasy feeling. My fear of flying is real, folks. But, travel? Well, that gives me a little giddy feeling. I get it, it’s counterintuitive. Finding ease in it has been a process, but one I am willing to take. Growing up, my family did road trips. Rarely ever did we fly anywhere until about two years ago when we traveled to Hawaii for my brother’s hockey tournament. I was NOT going to pass up a trip to Hawaii, but I anxiously awaited the plane ride there. Everything went well, until landing. It was bumpy, twisty, and no fun. My sister told me I turned green and I felt like it was the longest dang landing to ever exist. Fast forward to last year, when Shaun and I went to Utah. I was so nervous to fly that Shaun (the angel that he is) agreed we can road trip home so we only had to get on the plane once. When I first stepped foot into the plane to Utah, it was nothing like the plane to Hawaii. The plane we took to Hawaii was spacious, with tall ceilings and lots of room. The plane to Utah was, well, small. At least to me. I felt cramped and claustrophobic and it shot my anxiety up like a rocket. Not a day went by that I didn’t think about our most recent flight to Seattle a good month before we even left. At least this time I knew what to expect, but it didn’t seem to help much. I was still shaking in my boots. Now that I’m back on the ground, four flights later (two there & two back) with amazing memories of Washington and Canada, I can say it wasn’t really that bad. Maybe I’m just warmed up to it now, but I truly think some of these tricks below have helped me tremendously! So what do I do differently on the plane know? Keep reading…
Tricks I Use to Ease my Fear of Flying
- Look your fear in the eyes, for what it is. Did you know 1 out of every 3 people have a fear or anxiety around flying? You’re not alone. And, most likely, about a third of the people on your plane feel the exact same way you’re feeling. I know it can feel like your fear is bigger than you are, but it really isn’t. Write it down or say it out loud and you’ll hear exactly how minute it is. Making your fear tangible, so it’s not just living in your head, makes it so much more manageable!
- Know the details. Knowing the details about your plane, your flight, the airport, your trip, etc. helps keep your thoughts on track. It’s easy to think up the worst case scenario or something super “out there” when you don’t really know what to expect. But if you know what to expect, you can put a more realistic image to it and the anxiety of the unknown shrinks. For me, knowing the plane to Washington wasn’t going to be as large or luxurious as the plane I took to Hawaii gave me a heads up and peace of mind. I wasn’t shocked last minute as I boarded the plane like I was when we flew to Utah. This trick also helps you to keep track of everything and not become overwhelmed at the airport, last minute. Research the airport you’re flying out of a bit, get to know how it flows and get comfortable with the layout if you need to. Nothing is worse than getting there late or having to rush, it just adds to the anxiety!
- Spa music. So this tip I learned from Morgan of MorganLillian.com and it is sooo good!! Listening to spa music completely puts you into zen mode and helps you forget where you are. There are even some songs that have certain frequencies that are proven to calm your mind and put you in a state of relaxation. Also, this last trip to Washington I listened to a good amount of Christmas music because heeeeello, that is like the ultimate joy inducing genre… am I right?!
- Peppermint oil. Essential oils are freakin’ amazing for anxiety. Valor is such a good one for courage, Peace and Calming to calm you down and keep you zen, Aromaease for motion sickness, Ginger for nausea, and Lavender to keep that spa atmosphere thriving. And although I brought all of those oils on board with me (plus more), I kept reaching for peppermint. Peppermint helps with nausea, headache, and it’s seriously like a breath of fresh air. Plus, it’s cooling on the skin (keeping cool is so important during panic attacks, motion sickness, etc). It is SUPER strong though, so don’t go dousing yourself in it on the plane… I guarantee people around you will smell it. What I did was just unscrew the cap a tiny bit and held it up to my nose… it was perfectly potent without smelling up the entire cabin. I also used a dab of it on my tongue if I felt any tummy troubles. And honestly, I just really like the taste.
- Seating. Seating is huge!! Especially if you get claustrophobic like me. Shaun and I were lucky enough to grab the very first row of seats on 3 out of 4 of our plane rides to and from Washington. They have the most leg room and it really helps me to NOT see how many people are crammed into the plane. Sitting in the back, I would be able to see the amount of people and would feel more trapped back there. If you can’t find a seat at the very front, the first few rows will do too. They don’t have as much space but you still don’t feel stuck way in the back. An exit row has a lot more leg room as well! I always try to get a window seat too. Having something to look at besides the inside of the cabin helps me keep my calm and distracts me a bit. I’d have to say, my favorite part of flying are the views… they’re magical and there is something so serene about being above the clouds. But, if you are really claustrophobic, having an aisle seat may be a good option for you too. It helps to have some space on at least one side of your seat!
- Pressure points. There is a pressure point about two inches up from your wrists that eases motion sickness and nausea when it’s pressed. If you feel dizzy or nauseous, press on that spot and it should offer some relief!
- Dramamine. If you even have the slightest worry about getting air sick, take a dramamine pill. Even if you weren’t to get sick without it, the knowledge that you took it will ease your mind. Dramamine offers 24/7 motion sickness relief and an all natural (100% ginger) pill, too. I like the original or 24/7 version because ginger is more for nausea and I suffer more from dizziness. But take what you feel you’d get the most support out of!
- Happy thoughts. Close your eyes and imagine yourself laying on a beach, or wherever your happy place may be! Our minds are truly SO powerful and just the thought of your happy place can release endorphins.
If you’re nervous to travel by plane, know you aren’t alone! So many people struggle with the same anxiety and the more you do it, the better you will know what works for you. That knowledge will help take the edge off and you’ll be a pro at handling your anxiety… trust me! I still struggle with my fear of flying, but owning my fear and being conscious of it has helped me SO much and makes me feel more in control over it.
Let me know how you deal with your flying anxiety in the comments below!!