It’s been established that I hate flying. I shared my reasons on this post. But, despite all those reasons I still do it. The anxiety does not stop me from getting onto a plane and flying across the Pacific to visit my family or from going every two months to Adelaide for work. However, I do take measures to prevent an unpleasant experience up there. Some of them are a bit too crazy, but before you judge me you need to understand that flying is my biggest fear.
- I try to always fly in the morning. Over the years, I have noticed that if I fly after work or late at night, I tend to have bad experiences. It could be the combination of two things. First, my head has been over-reacting and over-stressing about the flight the entire day and by the end of it I’m just at the edge of a panic attack or second, it could be related to the fact that (I don’t remember where I read it) air currents are stronger at the end of the day compared to early hours, therefore the flights tend to be a bit bumpier. – if you are an experienced pilot or flight attendant, is this true?
- When I’m buying the ticket, I always make sure I get an aisle seat in the middle of the plane. According to this amazing book I read called “SOAR Method”, the middle of the plane is the most stable part and where you feel the least turbulence. And for the aisle seat, well… by being on a plane I’m already trapped, so aisle seats make me feel a little bit less claustrophobic plus, in case of an emergency, I have “easy access to the exits” (hahaha, I doubt that would make any difference, but my mind is weird).
- Keeping my mind busy and off the fact that I’m up in the air, it’s of paramount importance for a smooth experience. A very important element of my checklist before flying is to have few (sometimes many) options for entertaining. Do you want to see my crazy list? Here we go:
- A physical book (I always bring one but sometimes I buy an extra one at the airport). Today is a good example, I’m currently reading a book called Modern Romance (hilarious), but when browsing the Relay store at the airport I bought this new fiction book called The Mummy Bloggers. I mean, hello… just by the title looks like it is a good fit for me. One chapter in, don’t regret it.
- In my last two flights, and on the one I’m right now, yeap I began writing this while flying to Adelaide and finishing while flying back! I have started writing blog posts about flying to keep my mind busy and relaxed. It seems counterintuitive that writing about flying helps me with the anxiety, but it does!
- If I had to pick just one thing to bring on a flight, I would pick my iPad. It serves different purposes depending on my anxiety levels. If I’m feeling very anxious, I use it for praying (explained later in this blog), but if I’m not that bad and I feel like watching something, I use the in-flight entertaining Virgin app to catch up on series or a movie – although they removed Friends from their catalogue (Virgin Australia, what’s wrong with you???) and also, if the two books I brought failed their purpose, I will read one of the 199 books I have saved in there. Bless Apple for that!
- Lastly, I believe in God and Angels. I can’t stress enough how important my faith has been to control my anxiety. If you want to know how it kept me alive during a flight to Colombia, you can read about it here. Anyway, something that I do every. Single. Time. when flying is to listen to the rosary using an app. It makes me feel safe and confident that everything is going to be alright. If the anxiety and the fear are starting to creep in, I would think: Whatever God wants, would be. It’s here when I remind myself that there is nothing I can do, my death is not under my control, I shouldn’t worry about things I don’t have a say in.
Apart from all these, I really like when I get a chatty person next to me, talking also keeps my mind busy plus I get to make a new acquaintance, normally a new LinkedIn contact! hahaha
For some of us, flying is scary and not having control around us freaks the hell out of us but it’s a matter of finding what keeps you entertained and away from terrifying scenarios what will allow you to have a ‘pleasant’ experience.
Note: I used to be very scared while take off because of the ‘rollercoaster’ sensation so, my mom’s advice was ‘lift your feet while taking off and you don’t feel a thing’ and it works! I was the crazy girl exercising on the plane holding my feet off the floor for the first 2 minutes of every flight.
Do you have any rituals before or during flying? Share it with me down in the comments, so I don’t feel like an over-dramatic woman.