Tips for Anxious Travelers
If you follow me on Instagram, you know how open I've been in the past about my anxiety related to travel/flying. I have dealt with anxiety my entire life, but the anxiety I face while traveling is something slightly newer to me. I used to be totally fine flying on airplanes, but within the past 6 years or so, my anxiety towards the subject has grown. While I know how common travel-related anxiety is, I also know how lonely it can feel. When you're at the airport, it's hard not to compare yourself to the other passengers and wonder how everyone else can fly so easily. I always try to remind myself that I'm not alone in feeling this way. I wanted to share my tips that I've developed over the years that help me when I'm anxious before (or during) my flight. If you're a nervous flyer/traveler I hope these tips can bring you some relief as well. Safe traveling xo
1. Plan Ahead
If you know yourself, you probably know you may experience some anxiety or nerves before a flight. I like to plan ahead before a flight as much as possible, to avoid some of this day of nervousness. This includes making sure all of my bags are fully packed and ready to go the night before my flight (even if my flight is at 3pm the next day). It's just one less thing to do the day of the flight when you're worried about a million other things. Make sure all of your devices are charged, appropriate chargers are packed, etc. Just a small tip, but it can make a world of difference on the actual day of the flight.
2. Create a List
This goes alongside planning ahead, but I like to create a list of all the items I need to pack. I tend to panic every time I get to the airport, worried that I've forgotten something. By writing a checklist, you can mark off each item you've packed. I set aside a small bag of goods like essential oils, headphones, earplugs for longer flights, a crystal or two, my wallet, supplements, etc. that I can just throw in my purse the day of the flight.
3. Netflix & Chill (for real)
No no, not that kind of Netflix and chill, ugh. I mean ACTUAL Netflix and chill. I take full advantage of my Netflix account during a flight and download a bunch of movies or TV shows onto my iPad before takeoff. Netflix now allows you to download some shows and movies onto your iPad or iPhone, so you can enjoy them without wifi. This is a great way of distracting yourself or passing the time on the flight if no in-flight entertainment is provided. **Pro tip: download shows that you can fully binge. I am a BIG fan of The Great British Baking Show while on flight.
4. Essential Oils
I do not care how weird I look, I ALWAYS pack an essential oil for the flight that I can sniff periodically to calm my mind. I like to go for a peppermint or lavender-based blend that I can either smell from the bottle, or apply a few drops under my nose. Plus, it's a great way to mask the smell of the person behind you who forgot to brush their teeth that morning or who rudely decided to bring a burrito onboard.
I also religiously pack the Herban Essentials Towelettes for every flight. I've been doing this for years because the smell of the towelettes really relaxes me. They are also great to have to disinfect your space if you have germaphobic tendencies like me.
Ok so this probably doesn't sound like a tip for anxiety, but dehydration can bring on feelings of anxiety or a worsened mood for me. I try to hydrate as much as possible the day before the flight, day of as well as the day after. Hydrating helps my body feel normal, as well as my mind. I also ALWAYS have cold water for my flight. For some reason, when I feel a panic attack coming on, I sip on my water and try to focus on the cold sensation of it going down my throat. I like to hold the water bottle to the insides of my wrists as a calming technique. It sounds weird, but works well for me.
6. Have A Playlist
I have a playlist entitled "Yoga" on my Spotify account which basically has tons of relaxing songs I can fall back on when I'm feeling nervous. I will say one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE songs to relax to is THIS one. I have it downloaded and saved on my phone so I can always access it. I try to transport my mind to a spa when flying, so be sure to remember to pack headphones as well!
I always seem to forget this tip....and it's a pretty crucial one. I have practiced diaphragmatic breathing since I was 9 or 10, so the practice comes fairly easily to me. But remembering to breathe while we're anxious is so important. I like to inhale for 3 seconds, hold for 1-2 seconds and exhale for 4. Breathing brings me back to earth. It is centering and grounding, which is so important during an episode of panic. Here are a few resources (1, 2, 3 I've been a big Deepak Chopra fan since I was younger and learning to meditate) you may find helpful.
8. Dress Comfortably
Whenever I'm traveling, I like to wear comfy (and cute) clothes. While this usually depends on the length of the flight, I often wear these Lululemon leggings, joggers or these jeans with a big cozy sweater. For shorter flights I'm fine wearing jeans, but any flight over 3 hours calls for leggings. Also, wear something you know you won't be adjusting throughout the flight. If leggings irritate you, go for a looser yoga pant or joggers! But I think comfort is KEY!
**Photo by Sarah Miller