Fun fact: I have an extreme fear of flying, even though I have been flying on airplanes by myself since the age of 8. My grandfather and uncle were professional pilots who assured me planes are super safe, I’ve traveled to several countries, different continents but for some absolutely non-reasonable reason as an adult I cringe at the thought of getting on a plane. I’m claustrophobic and feel hot in super confined spaces like elevators. In the smallest of turbulence, I get a full on anxiety attack ( hello, kyle richards ) . Now that I am a mother, the thought of my baby being motherless if the worst happens...it’s honestly like “why even fly”? It’s just too much for me to deal with.
These days, I find myself often going on small weekend mini-vacations so I have become an avid weekend traveler again. The truth is, I never let my fear stop me from getting on an airplane but I do struggle with it severely. Typically, I grab a glass of champagne to calm the nerves, even if it is 9 am. ;)
I’ve been telling myself, I need a few practice rounds before I make the move and travel on a plane with a toddler. So, I wanted to share some of my favorite techniques I’ve found that work, incase anyone else out there experiences this. Or if you suffer from other anxieties, this can help you, too.
Challenge your fear by acknowledging it and accepting it. Then determine whether it is NOISE or a SIGNAL (this helps our brain to categorize & strategize) NOISE is caused by the situations that have no immediate solution. SIGNALS stem from the circumstances in which there are available action steps for a solution. Anxiety stems from our brain being confused about which of these two applies to your specific situation. The more quickly you clarify, the easier it will be to move forward. Breathe, and gently lead yourself to an honest assessment of your concern. .
When you’re on a plane, you really have nothing but time to think. Play with your mind by looking at any situation from the perspective of “not only can I tolerate this, I want more of this”. Neuroscience tell us that when we resist, the resistance informs the amygdala to switch on “fight or flight” mode, which spikes our cortisol and intensifies our anxiety. Practice this by noticing when you’re resisting something you don’t want like “ugh. I can’t fall asleep” . Instead say, “give me more of these racing thoughts, it’s okay if I’m up all night”. Typically, this thought pattern eases your mind by bringing acceptance. You’ll probably end up laughing at it how silly your fear is anyway.
The 4:7:8 Breathing technique developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, one of my favorite health & wellness author. This deep pranayama technique can lessen anxious thoughts immediately. Breathe in through nose for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, breathe out of the mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat this 3 times.
BLISSFUL TRAVEL TIPS
When you arrive to your intended destination, you want to be calm, confident and refreshed, no? These days, every second of my vacation counts because it is my mommy time without my baby boy. I don’t have the luxury of wasting precious time, I want each moment to be fun and fulfilling. The last thing a blissful vacation needs is an anxious mind and overwhelmed soul. That means I now travel with intention & very specific travel routine that helps me stay centered and excited for the upcoming adventures. You know, I prepare myself with the things that keep me centered and calm.
TIGERS EYE CRYSTAL. With my severe fear of flying, I never travel without my crystals. I bring rose quartz for an open heart, citrine for good fortune and joy, Tigers Eye for protection. I wear 4 tigers eye crystal bracelets from my jewelry collection on the flight. I wear them on my left wrist, specifically because the hand that energy comes into the body is the left. I need all the protection vibes I can get. TIGERS EYE is the crystal for resilience in overwhelming situations and protection during travel. I never travel without them.
BULLET JOURNAL. Ever since I began using a bullet journal, I have found myself way more organized in the mind. The way the bullet journal allows you to create different lists, sections for brain dumping and future planning works perfectly with me. When I travel, I like to write things down to remember, make note of people I meet, and note moments to remember. When I’m on the plane, I always take my bullet journal and gold pen out of my carry on because I always get a ton of ideas on the plane.
EVERNOTE APP. This app has literally revolutionized my life. I was resistant to it for years but it recently was updated with a new user system. Now it is so efficient, functional and easy to use. It helps to organize all your notes, lists and things to remember. I have a travel notebook broken down by city with lists of restaurants, shops, galleries, etc. also, while you’re traveling, you can take & save photos of maps, business cards or menus for your files. It’s a life saver. Seriously.
WRITE AN INTENTIONAL ITINERARY. or at least write down your top 3 priorities of what you want to experience while on your trip. This helps with 2 things. 1) when you know before hand exactly what you want to see or do, it takes the pressure off of finding something last minute. 2) In a big town with a LOT of things to see & do, It can be overwhelming to decide. When you only choose your intentional priorities, you can relax and enjoy the impromptu events, interesting conversations with strangers & magical street performances.
ASK QUESTIONS. Don’t hesitate to speak up for yourself. Asking about flight upgrades may just surprise you, asking what you shouldn’t miss at a restaurant may get you an incredible meal or even asking your Uber driver for hotspots may help you get to know the city better.
BRING A BLANKET. Seriously, I will never leave home without my travel blanket again. Barefoot Dreams makes the softest and best sized blankets for travel, if you don’t have one yet I highly suggest you grab this one. They’re good for the plane, if you get stuck at airport on a long fight delay, freezing cold hotel rooms or anywhere with subpar bedding. Trust me.
If you have any favorite travel tips, especially for traveling with baby which I will be doing soon, please let me know in the comments, looking to enhance my experience even more.