Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography
I have been very lucky in my life to have seen a lot of places and been given the opportunity to travel with my family and friends. In the last few years this has definitely increased as I have just had an urge to explore new places and spend more quality time with the ones I love. With this, I have become pretty well equipped mentally and physically when it comes to travelling, even if it still isn’t one of my favourite things. I like to think of myself as a pretty organised and ‘got my shit together’ person, however travelling is one of the few times that I crumble. Just for full transparency here, I am referring to flying, not so much any other forms of travel.
I think there are many different reasons as to why I feel very anxious flying, with the main one being that I physically don’t understand how it works. Don’t get me wrong, I have had it explained to me a lot, but however much you give me the facts it still always will seem odd and unnatural to me that something is flying in the sky… especially something so bloody big and heavy! I think also, I am a very big control freak, so flying for me is a form of transport that I have to totally give up all control over. On a train I can get off at the next stop, on a bus there are frequent stops, and, in a car, I am totally the one in control. These two things seem to be the reason that a lot of people feel uncomfortable and I think they are both entirely understandable.
So, what are the options here? Well firstly, you could do what my mum used to threaten to do, which was to never fly again and just go away to places she can drive. Fair enough, but unfortunately there are too many beautiful places in the world that I need to visit. Secondly, you can try to forget about it and just get on with it, still feeling anxious whenever you travel. Or, you can take matters into your own hands and strive to be able to travel with all your feeling and emotions fully in control.
As with any forms of anxiety, it is never going to be an easy battle to control it and it is very much an up and down rollercoaster ride to feeling a lot more able in yourself. Also, this whole blog post is obviously based on my own experience and my own ability to begin to control this anxiety, so obviously this is just what I do rather than medical advice.
As with the majority of things in life, breathing is key. I always start to feel anxious about travelling the night before, particularly when I am trying to get to sleep. So, it is at this point that I start to focus on my breathing. I take small and slow breaths, thinking about nothing other than what I am doing. I always find that if I start at this point, I am able to control my anxiety a lot better as it gets closer to travelling and then obviously during.
Being organised is one of the major ways that I am able to feel a lot better when travelling. If I know that everything is sorted it is only leaving the physically act of flying to be worried about. This means packing is done in an orderly manner, my hand luggage is organised and laid out easily, I have all my main documents and money in one wallet, and I know all the information I need on the other side. Having everything done in this way is obviously almost essential for flying, but I have to do it in a very OCD way.
Choose your seat
As I mentioned above, one of the biggest reasons that I feel uncomfortable flying is the lack of control. So, one of the best things I can do to feel much more in control is choosing my seat when booking the flight. By doing this, I feel mentally reassured as I know where I am going to be sitting. I also always choose an aisle seat as it makes me feel a lot better knowing that I am able to get up whenever I need to. I hate feeling claustrophobic so this is always a must for me. Having said that, when discussing this with someone before, they told me that they feel a lot better sat by the window, as being able to see makes them feel a lot more in control. So, as with anything this is different depending on the person.
For me, the best way to feel okay on the flight, particularly when taking off is by being distracted. I always make sure that I am well equipped for the flight beforehand, which includes downloading multiple Netflix box sets/ tv programmes, as well as podcasts and some music. I also always have a book with me and buy a magazine at the airport so that there really is a distraction based on what I fancy doing at the time. If I’m being honest, the last few times I have flown I have been with my grandma, who is the best chatter box distraction you could ever ask for!
My last step is water. Before travelling I always make sure that I have had a good amount of water, as well as some with me for the flight, as I always find that I can really control my feelings and myself if I am well hydrated. It ensures that you have a clear head, as well as the ability to focus better on your breathing.
Shop this post:
Top – H&M
Shorts – Zara
Cover Up – Zara
Shoes – New Look
Bag – Zara
I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.