5 Tips for Anxious Flyers

This post contains affiliate links.

In the past I've shared with you that I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder as well as panic attacks, and many of you have shared with me that you experience the same thing! For me, and for many of you, flying can be a trigger. One of the great things about being a teacher is having breaks that are perfect for traveling, but if your anxiety is keeping you from flying, you may not be taking the best advantage of your time to travel.

I used to fly without any problem up until Thanksgiving 2016. On the way home from Richmond, Virginia, I had a terrible panic attack while on the plane. I was hysterically crying and trying to get my husband to let me go talk to the pilot to try to get them to land the plane. Part of the vicious cycle of panic attacks is that the fear of having a panic attack can actually make you have one. Thus, I was afraid to fly again, knowing I might have that experience again. I knew never flying again wasn't an option for me, as both my own family and my in-laws live many states away. I fly up to 10 times a year, and even took a 24-hour flight to Indonesia in 2017, and have had to develop few strategies for dealing with my flight anxiety:

1. Wear noise canceling headphones. My therapist recommended these to me because I live across the street from a park and the sound of the creaky swing puts me over the edge sometimes. I quickly discovered they are the BEST on planes. You actually don't realize how great they are until you take them off for a second on the plane and are like, wow, this is hellish. In addition to dampening the roaring airplane noise, I think they also make you a bit more unapproachable, which is a pro in my book when on a plane.

2. Sign up for TSA precheck. I seriously cannot imagine flying without precheck. Even if you only fly a few times a year, it's soooo worth it. Since I have overall heightened anxiety before flying, the idea of having to wait in line and potentially miss my flight is the worst. With precheck, you can get to the airport an hour before, hop right in line, and usually be through security in 20 minutes or less. The interview was super simple and I haven't personally heard of anyone being denied.

3. Take your meds. First of all, I'm not a doctor and this is just my personal experience. That being said, all the others things on this list help, but to be honest, Xanax is the key for me. If you have a serious fear of flying, talk to your doctor. I used to have some level of pride about not taking meds, which in hindsight is absurd. Why suffer needlessly? I know my fear is irrational and unhelpful, and I would much rather be a little out of it for a few hours than have a panic attack on a plane.

4. Have a routine. Streamline your experience as much as possible to reduce unneeded uncertainties. I take the same carry-on suitcase and book bag every time. I have a toiletries case that stays permanently packed. When I get through security, the first thing I do is find my gate, and then go get a small iced coffee to keep the Xanax from making me fall asleep before it's time to board. Doing the same things, even if it's in a different airport, can make you feel more comfortable and relaxed.

5. Bring something you enjoy to do on the plane. I've started bringing my bullet journal, stickers, and highlighters on the plane and drawing out my monthly and weekly spreads every time I fly. It's something I really enjoy and I can do it on the plane without distractions. A light book, a podcast, or knitting are other great options!

What other things have worked for you? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...