Despite its glorious view, flying isn’t exactly the most zen condition for the human body. The aircraft circulates recycled air (terrible for your skin, immunity, and general mood), and is equipped with the sounds and sensations that can invoke stress, fear, and overall annoyance. Meanwhile, it requires you sit for a long period of time with little mobility (unless you’re blessed to be in first class). So before you take-off into the friendly skies, here are essential practices to keep your zen when flying -- from from security check all the way to baggage claim.
5 Ways to Stay Zen When Flying
1. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is perhaps the most important things to consider while traveling. In a reduced oxygen environment with low humidity (sometimes as low as 10-15%, which is three-times drier than the Sahara desert!), the body loses a lot of water. On a ten-hour flight, men lose some two liters of water and women, around 1.6 liters. That’s a lot!
Bring a few pre-halved lemons on the plane with you and squeeze them into your water while you travel. Lemon juice will alkalize your system, keep you hydrated, and fend off illness with a healthy dose of vitamin C.
2. Relax with Lavender
This lifestyle hack has been my best-kept secret for years. I carry around essential lavender oil and whenever I need to de-stress, I rub a drop under my nose and breathe in and out very deeply. It’s an affordable, easy, and long-lasting fix that not only has me smelling great but also encourages me to fall asleep on the plain, if not just calm. Just make sure to keep your lavender oil container under 100 milliliters.
Not moving for a sustained period of time can make you feel stiff and even increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Being immobile for four hours while sitting is dangerous in any context, but the good news is that all you have to do is flex your calves to avoid the most serious outcome: DVT. Be sure to take a walk around the plan every so often to get the blood flow going in your legs. Or, while seated, practice contracting and releasing your calf muscles or tapping your feet to the ground for a few minutes.
4. Drink Less Alcohol and Coffee
I am a sucker for a glass of wine on a long-haul flight. It cuts the edge off my fear-of-flying anxiety. Unfortunately, alcohol is a natural diuretic and will only leach more water from your system, leaving you extra groggy and vulnerable to illness during and after your flight. If you do decide to drink, match each glass of alcohol with a large glass of water. This applies to tea and coffee as well.
5. Guided Meditation
Just as you get settled in your seat, play a guided meditation that you’ve downloaded on your phone. A mindfulness app will help you to breathe fully, keep calm, and encourage a more zen flight! Just be sure that the app you choose does not require the internet to function!