How I deal with flying
Are you a nervous flyer? So until I was 24 I never had a problem with flying at all, I didn’t think twice and used to look forward to the whole experience, from the aeroplane food (yep, the food – on a good-carrier’s long haul flight I love it – so many bits and pieces to snack on and trade with M!), the in-flight entertainment and I would stuff my backpack full of magazines and would love wearing the rather terrible plane headphones.
However a few years ago on a short trip to Prague I suddenly had this real sense of fear of flying come over me. It was totally irrational, we were not even experiencing any turbulence and yet I could feel the start of a panic attack coming on, all I wanted to do at that point was get off the plane and started to contemplate forever now travelling with a parachute stuck to my back! I could barely breathe, couldn’t listen to music, couldn’t even watch the pre-downloaded episodes of KUWTK on my phone…a definite sign something was wrong! The thoughts I were having were not even necessarily that I was scared of crashing, but stupid crazy horror movie ideas which just filled me with a massive sense of terror and claustrophobia!
When I got off the flight I had never been happier to have my feet on solid ground, I spoke to M and my family about it and we discussed the various reason for my sudden change; maybe getting older with more responsibilities and generally just worrying a bit more their the consensus….although M did insist I was just being dramatic and had watched too many episodes of the aforementioned KUWTK!! Either way, I promised myself I wouldn’t ever let it stop me travelling – seeing the world and having an adventure is my favourite thing to do on this planet. So that begs the question, would I go take a trip into space, or Mars? Even with no possibility of returning, I really think I would consider it – the ULTIMATE (albeit, LAST!) adventure.
I did some research, saw my doctor and have managed to find a couple of things that have been a big help on the last few flights I have been on. I still get jumpy if the plane jolts suddenly but I feel these have been a massive help and hope if anyone is in a similar situation that they might help you too.
1. Noise cancelling headphones
Before my flight to KL last Easter I couldn’t afford the Bose QuietComfort headphones that a lot of people had raved about. I had a little look around the shops at Heathrow and came across a relatively cheap pair from SONY MDR-ZX110NA (£39). They needed an AA battery to go into the side and then there is a switch which turns the noise cancelling on. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I cannot express enough how much of a GAME CHANGER they are, the capitals are needed there because it really is true.
I think a lot of what causes my hysteria when I fly is that everything feels out of my comfort zone and not the norm. If you imagine sitting on a bus or in your car, it constantly jogs you around a bit or from side to side occasionally and because you know that it is because of a pot hole in the road, or an idiot driver that pulls out in front of you, it doesn’t bother you. However on a plane I have a bit of a ‘Bridesmaid’ moment where the ding for someone wanting a tea and the air stewardess makes a T symbol and I think that is a May Day call! These headphone took away every noise, from babies crying, engine noise and general disturbance. The headphones come with the adaptor to fit into long haul flights with in-flight entertainment and make watching a film so much more enjoyable as you can focus on it without hearing any of the other sounds. I found this made me instantly calm down a bit as I was less jumpy at every noise (like thinking that all the engines have cut out at the same time!) I think in time I might look to invest in some of the Bose ones but these bad boys are absolutely perfect and I would recommend to anyone who ever gets a bit nervous or just wants to really switch off, even if it is just to sleep they make it a hell of a lot easier. I wouldn’t go anywhere without these now!
2. Calm tablets
In the run up to my 19 hour flight to KL last year I went and spoke to my doctor; we had planned the dream trip for months and didn’t want it to be ruined by my fears. He prescribed me Diazepam to ease the nerves. It was a very low dosage and I took just before the plane went off. It took away any thoughts or fears and I actually can say I really enjoyed the flight. I haven’t taken it on any previous flights but instead always having KALMS tablets in my bag, even if people think it might be a placebo, I find it does ease the irrational thoughts, moments come and go but I can get through it.
3. Wear comfy clothing
Gone now of the days of wearing high heels and skinny jeans for long flights, I’m uncomfortable from the start and that doens’t help with relaxing. Now I try to wear some nice gym trousers or leggings and hoodie similar to what I wear when I am chilling at home. Wear some easy to remove shoes and nice socks. I usually always wear a scarf to wrap around me and a travel pillow. I feel this makes me more cosy and comfy and helps to sleep.
4. Download Music / Apps / Films
I always try to be as prepared as possible for flying, I will download new music onto my playlist, new podcasts (love Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete), TV shows and films and apps. I have Sudoku, wordsearch and cross word games that can be played without wifi or 3G. I find having lots of things to do (with fully charged phone of course) really help to keep me busy and keeps me from counting down every minute of the flight. I have added some of them below.
5. Emergency Kit
No not in case you have to jump out the side of the plane but I take a little bag with me every time I fly; inside are ibroprofen, tampons, spare phone headphones, ear plugs, calm tablets, eye drops, anti bacterial handwash, moisturiser some sweets / gum. All of these home comforts again take away any panic that I don’t have something I might need, and it is really accessible and close without having to go through all of your luggage to find.
I will always get a magazine or quiz book at the airport and water which is an absolute must otherwise I get a headache on the flight plus a big bag of sweets because as I am sure M can confirm – they keep me quiet for as long as they last!
My skin gets so dry when flying from the air con so I like to have essentials with me. I used to take lots of things that I would then never use, I rarely wear a lot of make up so that can stay in the suitcase but I like to have some little skincare treats with me to feel revitalised and awake. The last hour and half before we land time always seems to slow down, like it is just knows you are excited to arrive at your destination (unless you are heading home, in which case it’s just depressing!!),so I try to waste the time by doing a bit of a re-fresh, I like to brush my teeth, wash my face in the bathroom and sometimes have a quick change.
1. Face wipes
2. Lip balm
3. Eye drops
5. Toothbrush & Toothpaste
6. BB Cream
7. Tangle Teezer hairbrush