How I (sort of) cope with a (sort of) fear of flying

Despite having flown about 8,763 times, I still have a bit of a fear of flying. It’s not so bad that I’m terrified for the whole flight, and it weirdly only happens on shorter journeys, but it does mean that whenever a bit of turbulence hits I can turn into a tense, anxious, and fidgety mess. Here are some of the ways I try to ‘relax and enjoy my flight’, like the cabin crew ambitiously tell me to do every single time:

Read a new book

I went about two years after university without reading a book (I think words stopped making sense for a while after my dissertation) until a couple of years ago, when I decided to take one on my flight home from Dublin in an attempt to distract my flight anxiety. Unfortunately, my plan backfired a little when I started reading it during some turbulence and this was the first line:

Listen to my favourite Spotify playlist

Spotify Premium is one of my absolute essentials for travelling (and life in general). I always try to update my offline playlists before a long journey to include the stuff I’m currently listening to, or specific songs to calm me down, like this one:

Watch something funny

Comedy is my favourite genre and I watch it when I’m stressed out by life in general, so it made sense to try the same thing with flight anxiety. (Ironically the best bit of comedy on any flight I’ve been on before has been the sight of me dealing with flight anxiety, so maybe I should just get a mirror out next time and enjoy the show.)

Use a fidget spinner

I used a fidget spinner to try and calm myself down during a particularly windy and turbulent descent to Leeds Bradford airport last year. It was one of those cube shaped ones, with a different thing on each side to fidget with. Not really sure if it worked though – I looked less like a person who was calming down, and more like a person who was playing a joystick based video game after too many energy drinks and not enough sleep.

Have a beer

I probably shouldn’t be putting this down as one of my coping mechanisms but it’s probably the most effective one. (Only one though, any more than that and I’d probably end up reenacting that scene from Bridesmaids and end up on the news).