So this is something that has frustrated me and held me back on several occasions throughout my life, especially as I love to travel and see new places. Twice I’ve even cancelled flights the night before, certain I couldn’t face the flight. This was over ten years ago and I’ve flown at least 4 times a year since then which has helped me overcome some of these fears. As I’m flying out to Croatia tomorrow I got to thinking of what has helped me previously, I’ve tried several things but here’s a list of the things which have helped me most:
1. Don’t overthink it. Previously I’d spend weeks in the run up to a flight worrying and imagining the worst case scenario and working myself up to the point of having panic attacks. Now, I manage to just avoid thinking about it until the last minute which prevents some of the build up of anxiety. Keep busy in the days and weeks to distract yourself from the upcoming flight.
2. Medication. Taking diazepam the night before and during the flight is something I always do; this definitely takes the edge off. As someone who hates taking medication for anything, it took me a long time to accept that I truly need it in this circumstance.
3. Focus on the destination. You wanted to get away, you dreamt of that wonderful destination and escaping your current situation and this is just the means to getting to where you want to be. It will be so worth it when you arrive!
4. Listen to music. Or read a good book, start watching that in-flight movie – anything to distract you from the airplane noise and cold air.
5. Breathe deep. If you are starting to panic, focus on your breathing and close your eyes. Allow your breath to slow down and your heart rate to drop. This dramatically improves how you feel.
6. Bring a blanket or something warm and soft that will both keep you warm and offer a sense of security.
7. Enjoy it? Maybe. I’m not quite there yet, but I do think the more I fly and realise nothing horrible has ever happened, the more confident I get that I can cope.