As you may well know, last month I went on my first ever holiday with my boyfriend (check out the holiday post here!). I went on a plane when I was 7 years old to Florida, but to be honest with you I don’t remember any of it except a brief memory of me watching some kids film. Jimmy and I have stuck with UK holidays/breaks for the last couple of years but 2017 was the year of going abroad again, and even though the idea of flying was majorly freaking me out, it was something I was determined to do.
Being an anxious mess (although horrid and unenjoyable) makes you prepare so much so that you have everything covered and organised, from what you’re going to do at the airport, to what you’re going to eat and wear on the day. In the lead up to my holiday I was buying certain things that I knew would calm me and I came up with action plans for the day, and in the end I didn’t love the journey, but I did it… I flew on a plane and I went on a gorge holiday. GO ME.
I thought I’d create a list of my top tips for prepping for your flight if you struggle with anxiety, as well as managing the anxiety on the big day.
HAVE AN ACTION PLAN
As I mentioned before, I was uber prepared. Make sure you’re going on your flight with someone who will help you, and can perhaps deal with the stressful stuff (like the boarding passes and things like that). I made sure I was really prepared with what time I’d need to wake up on the day, what time to get to the airport and all that sort of stuff. If I have an idea of what my day will look like, I feel like I’ll be able to process it more and come around to the idea in the run up to the day. I genuinely planned this stuff like 2 weeks in advance #crazylady.
KNOW WHAT CALMS YOU
I have loads of different ways of managing my anxiety, but obviously not everything works. Anxiety will always be there, but there are always little things you can do to calm yourself. I had a game downloaded on my phone called Polyforge which I played all morning before the flight – it took my mind away from what was going on and gave me something to concentrate my energy towards. Candy crush is a good’un too but I’ve been stuck on the same level for about 3 months so that certainly ain’t gonna relax the situation, is it?! I also made sure I had a bottle of water with me at all times, and I didn’t eat too much before the flight so I didn’t freak out about being sick (that’s my main anxiety!). Instead of eating I had a packet of soft mints with me, which are good for sugar levels but don’t make you feel nauseous. Oh, and chewing gum!
ITS OK TO BE ANXIOUS
One thing that really sunk into me during the whole flight ordeal was that anxiety is there, but it’s not there to harm me, it’s there to protect me. Just before I got on the flight I kept getting the odd hot flush, and my brain would instantly put my body into this meltdown state, but I told myself that actually I wasn’t in any danger. What’s the worst that can happen and all that?
THINK OF THE END RESULT
I was about to go through the worst anxiety mess of my life (well, that’s what I thought) but at the end of it not only was I going on my first holiday with my boyfriend, I was going to conquer my anxieties. When I landed I had such a huge sense of relief and achievement, and it actually taught me so much about my mind/body and my anxiety.
RELAXING ON THE FLIGHT
Getting on the plane and being on it was the scariest thought for me, but when it got to it I was actually not all that anxious. I made sure I wore layers so that if I got a bit hot and flustered I could strip off a bit (eeehhh up) and obvs I wore leggings and a t-shirt for comfort. On the flight I focussed my eyes on one point on the chair in front of me which stopped me from feeling too nauseous and dizzy – let’s just say I’m VERY knowledgable about flight safety now, lol. Other tips I found helpful were making sure my head was against the back of the headrest, and I was always looking straight ahead.
I have to say it was such an amazing feeling being up on that plane (other than the fact my boyfriends hand was probably about to fall off from holding it so hard). Once we’d got to the highest point I genuinely cried just from being so overwhelmed by doing it. I was so proud of myself, and although a lot of people think of flying as just a normal thing to do, for so many it can be TERRIFYING. It’s ok for it to make you anxious, but once you take little steps to conquer the anxiety around it, it’s definitely worth it! Also, apparently you can go on flying courses which help ease you into it, which I kinda wish I’d looked into beforehand.
Let me know if you have any other tips for flying for others to read. All the love and smash those flights my loves!