Last week for Thanksgiving, I had the privilege of surprising my husband’s grandmother for her 80th birthday. Lenny’s entire family on his mom’s side was there, except for a few people. It was a great time hanging out with his cousins. However, since his grandmother lives in Florida, I had to take a three-hour plane ride.
The idea of taking a plane literally debilitates me. My grandfather swore he would never get on a plane, and he never did. Since I love to travel, I have decided that flying will forever be a part of my life. Now that I’ve survived taking a plane twice (as well as the one-hundred times before that!), I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned in case you also have the same anxiety.
Prepare yourself in advance. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. You are in control of your mind. The week before Thanksgiving, I was a wreck thinking about flying. All the what-ifs flooding into my mind, stealing my sleep, my appetite, and my joy. This time, I put on worship music whenever I felt anxious and remembered all the other flights where God has been with me. God is faithful. He is literally holding up the plane, and He’s got you in the palm of His hand.
Don’t think too much about it. There are a few reasons why flying debilitates me. However, knowing the reasons does not make me feel any better. This last time I got on the plane, I didn’t even have time to worry. Some people in our party wanted to get Burger King, and the line was ridiculously long. We didn’t make it to the gate for our plane until we were boarding. Normally, I would be sitting at the gate, pacing the floor and dreading my impending doom. This time, I didn’t have time to worry, and I chose to forget about it. By the time we took off, I was fine. I didn’t even feel dizzy like I normally do. If you try to rationalize while you’re on the flight, you’ll make yourself crazy. Just let it go and relax.
Thank God for flight attendants! They are fully equipped to help you in any situation. Sometimes, I tell them that I’m scared, and they keep an eye on me during the flight. I’ve had some flight attendants stand next to me and coach me before take-off. Although I’ve never actually been sick on a plane, most (I can’t stay all because there is mixed information out there) are trained for medical emergencies and know what to do in case I’m not feeling well. On that note, please be respectful to flight attendants! They do way more than we even know.
Pray for an angel. I’m a firm believer that God provides what we need when we need it. Last year, I went to the Dominican Republic with my family. During takeoff, I prayed and asked God to help me. When the plane leveled out, I turned next to me to see a woman reading Psalms on her phone. We talked the entire flight; I didn’t even think about how high we were until the flight was over! I believed God sent her to encourage me and to show me His peace. If you’re scared, pray for God to provide exactly what you need.
Make sure you eat and drink. Since I’m afraid of getting sick on the plane, the idea of eating scares me. However, Lenny discovered on this past flight that eating actually helps me. I would choose something light, like pretzels or crackers and water. Don’t eat it all at once, but make sure you eat at least a little something during your flight.
Essential oils. I’m not a huge fan of medication, so instead of anxiety medication, I bring essential oils. This trip, I brought Lavender and Stress Away from Young Living. Put a little on your wrists and sniff your wrists when you get nervous. If you’re really inconsolable, but some lavender under your nose so you can breathe it in more accessibly.
Distraction, distraction, distraction. I love that planes have movies and even video games on their flights now. This time, I downloaded an audiobook on my phone and played a few games. It definitely made time go a lot more quickly on the plane!
What techniques help you when you’re flying? Share them in the comments below!