Whilst I love sharing travel ideas today I wanted to turn my attention to a different but related topic “Fear of Flying”.
I have been blessed with a curiosity for all things travel but struggle to match this with my biggest fear in life – flying – and its seems I am not alone:
About 30% of us find air travel anything from faintly disconcerting to unutterably terrifying
A back catalogue of situations have left me feeling very anxious, from my very first flight at 18 (we never flew as kids) to severe turbulence on long haul flights and an unfortunate aborted landing when heading to the Seychelles for our honeymoon.
I have fought this fear for many years, it’s not rationale or logical, but then fears are not. It’s a real fear, a fear that sees me getting very anxious in the run up to holidays, checking weather and wind speeds forensically and sometimes struggling to hold back the tears when I get on an aeroplane or encounter turbulence.
Whats interesting about this fear is its got worse since I have been a mum. When I talk to other parents I realise this is not as uncommon as it sounds. My usual individual fears of will the plane take off, will it fall out of the sky, whats that noise, will I get trapped in the toilet are all x3 (my hubbie is a great flyer so he looks after himself!).
So, its been a struggle and no amount of statistics quoted to me will help…. even the fact that more people are killed per year in trouser related accidents!
So here are my top tips to tame that fear and allow you to continue to enjoy those family adventures. I have omitted reference to a small gin and tonic on the flight as it didn’t seem appropriate but I can’t deny I have sometimes indulged in just a small one, for medicinal purposes!
- Accept your fear – I have spent many a year beating myself up for being weak and a little bit crazy but its fear and its real. You may be level-headed and operate quite sensibly day-to-day but its OK to be scared. Battling the fear takes energy that can be more usefully channelled into your holiday
- Lavender to relax – I bought myself some little roll on Aromatherapy bottles that are perfect for calming nerves pre take off. Just roll a little onto your wrists and take a deep breath. The lavender smell is really soothing, you may get some funny looks on the aeroplane but hey that’s a small price to pay for some relaxation!Try this lavender relaxer
- Try hypnotherapy – a friend of mine suggested trying this and I have had a few sessions over the years. It’s another good coping mechanism as nothing will completely take that fear away. It teaches you some great breathing exercises. Only last weekend when I was starting to feel edgy I remembered I wasnt breathing so just took a few deep breaths and it made a real difference. So don’t forget to breath! The other trick she taught me was during turbulence to focus the mind press your thumb and middle finger together on each hand and focus on that. Try it, not sure why but it sort of works!
- If the fear gets crippling try a fear of flying course – i accompanied my mum a few years ago on the Virgin Airways course. She had not flown for 30 years and after a day of talks from pilots about the aeroplane, a relaxation session and a Q&A you get a 50 min practice flight. Its pricey but even now I find myself recounting the information they shared around why the engine noises change and what would happen if I got stuck in the toilet – yes, i did ask that question:) and the answer is a crow bar! Virgin flying without fear course
- Whatever you do put a brave face on for the kids – this for me has been the hardest thing but the one thing I am resolute about. I am a great believer than kids can “inherit” your fears, they are like sponges. I have tried hard to keep smiling in front of them no matter what. My daughter has always loved flying and when little used to shout “faster” as we raced down the runway. My son has always been different, more of a natural worrier I can tell as we head down the run way he is less comfortable as he grips to the side of the seats (so perhaps there is a bit of nature as well as nurture in this fear of flying malarkey) but I smile, hold his hand and point to things out the window whilst hoping that he sees the wonder of it all.
- Carry a comforter – so this is a strange one I know! I carry something with me (in my case a necklace) that keeps me safe. I guess no different to the sense a child gets with its familiar comforter:) It’s not logical but I always feel when i have it with me I will be kept safe. A grown ups psychological comfort blanket.
I hope these little tips help and if you don’t share this fear then I am beyond jealous that you can embrace all aspects of your holiday. You see the thing is when your biggest passion is travel and you have the wonder of air travel the world is at your feet and so the only option is to “Feel the fear and do it anyway”
And I can only thank the pilot that a few years ago said to the passengers on landing over the tannoy
“The safest part of your journey has now ended, take care now as you travel in your cars and trains home”
And if you look at the stats then yes he is spot on! However as a nervous flyer it never seems to feel like that!
Fab article, this is just how I feel every time I fly!