Until you’ve actually experienced first hand what it is like to be cabin crew you have no idea of how the job effects you both mentality and physically.
I think almost every crew who has been doing this job more than a year has had their fair share of anxiety.
The stress of dealing with 400 people on a full plane, working silly hours and having to adhere to the clock at exact times leaves it mark on your nervous system.
The problem however, is that issues we have are easy to mask, we work with strangers who have no idea about how we function, what we look like when we are having a bad day. So to arrive at work, do our job and go home whilst battling in our head can become a common yet sad occurrence.
I’m writing this because it’s a subject close to my heart, having broke down in a toilet during boarding and having cried before many of flight here’s a few tips that helps me keep my anxiety in check:
(Ps- even if your not cabin crew these are still going to help!)
Yes I’m talking about that all important exercise. I know what some crew reading this are going to reply: “but I’m too tired.” which quiet honestly annoys me. Are you actually exhausted or are you using this job as an ideal excuse to watch Netflix and stay in a rut? I’m telling you now if I can do it so can you. Even just a 20 minute hiit work out in your living room will help boost your mood.
Anxiety is linked to having low levels of serotonin (chemical) in our brains. Working out helps release feel good chemicals in your brain. It produces endorphins such as dopamine, norepinephrine and SEROTONIN – all which help regulate our moods and sleep, which brings me onto number 2…
Notice how your anxiety gets worse the days you’re sleep deprived and land at 8am?
Anyone whos worked shifts or has babies under two can tell you the awful effect it has on your mentality.
Try to regulate your sleep patterns on your days off. This doesn’t mean just going to bed early and putting down that phone but also waking up early to maybe get that run in! It gives your body at least a sense of routine and decent sleep when you can. This combined with step one I’ve noticed my body is able to get at least 2/3 hours sleep before those 3am departures. Something that would NEVER happen before.
There is no better therapy than talking! I know we are all strangers. But believe me you’d be surprised how many of those people you just met battle with exactly the same. Open up! Find someone you can console in and don’t be ashamed to wear your heart on your sleeve. Tell people what you are going through. The reason this blog even exists is I starting sharing my experiences, feelings and found out so many of my colleagues have been or are going through the same if not worse. You never know where the right words or help will come from if you keep all of it bottled up inside.
Did you know your gutt plays a big part in mental health?
The gut produces more neurotransmitters than the brain does. Member our little friend serotonin? Well we need a healthy balance diet to make it as 95 percent of it is produced in the small intestine! I’m not here to promote or sell the vegan life to you. All I will say is cut the crap, throw away all the process food and refined sugar; think about switching to a more whole food plant based diet.
If I list all the benefits you’d be here all day. So, seeing as were addressing anxiety I’ll tell you this. The antioxidants found in most fresh fruit and veg helps to repair damage to cells and can help balance those neurotransmitters I’ve being going on about. Not only this but it literally gives you more FUEL, more energy. So stop the casseroles and introduce more fresh fruit and veg. SIMPLE.
Okay, here’s where the yogi looses some of you. But meditation doesn’t have to be sitting on a pillow burning incense with your eyes close.
Meditation simply means being mindful and present in the action you are doing.
It can take the form of walking and counting your steps, cooking if that’s what you like to do, drawing, one of my favourites – coloring.
Guided meditations are also high on my list. Apps like headspace is a great introduction. The helpful guide andy takes you through step by step each day getting you more and more use to the process.
Then apps such as Insight Timer can open you up to a whole world of mediatations, talks, music to aid you. If my 64 year old father, (who I know will be reading this, LOVE YOU DAD) can find something on there so can you!
Just find what’s best for you and what gives that brain a break!
Links in to the meditation aspect but I wanted the breath to have a segment of it own!
Your breath is the link from the external to the internal and is a signal to your body what’s going on in that mind of yours. Think about it, when your stress or anxious your breathing rate increases, then so does your pulse, then the panic sets in and the brain goes haywire.
Controlling and owning your breath can stop this cannon ball.
They say anxiety is when your brain is stuck in the future.
Bring it back by breathing excersises.
My favourite is simply this:
- Inhale for a count of 4
- Hold at the top for a count of 7
- Exhale for a count of 8
You can also bring yourself back to the present by giving life to the senses along with your breathing:
- with every inhale think of something you can see
- every exhale something you can feel or maybe even smell.
Still need help?
Pranayama APP is so easy and simple to use, it counts the breathe with you at the rate you want!
And last but not least:
7 – Gratitude
Expressing gratitude switches your focus and perspective.
Start your own gratitude practice by getting into bed at night and listing 10 things you were grateful or happy for that day.
Before long you’ll start to notice things throughout the day that you’d usually miss, someone holding a door for you, a conversation at the store, a baby’s laugh.
This little list will programme your brain to start looking for the good in each moment. Taking you away from the turmoil.
I know a big part of our lives we feel we spend alone but genuine connection is everywhere if you are looking for it!
I hope one of these helps at least one of you reading this.
Peace and Love