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5 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Long-Haul Flights

5 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Long-Haul Flights
View from flight window

Flying long distances can be a great source of tiredness – if you’re only going somewhere for a week, you don’t want two or three days of that week to be spent recovering from that experience. Here are some handy pointers to make sure you hit the ground running after that marathon flight:

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1. Less worry, less fatigue

A lot of flight fatigue comes from unconsciously (and often consciously) worrying about things that might occur during flight – where your passport is, can you get your connecting flight and so forth. Much of this worry can be alleviatedby keeping all flight essentials in one place so you know where they are at all times. One tip which helps is to keep a special over-the-shoulder bag which only gets worn on flights – your mind automatically comes to associate this storage place with flying, and you easily form the habit of returning your passport or tickets there every time they are handed back to you.

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2. Arrive in plenty of time.

Those looking to make the most of every moment might try to time arriving with minutes to spare, but with experience, you soon come to know that the aggravation and worry that comes from standing in a check-in queue wondering if you will get there before it closes just isn’t worth it. You can easily think of something productive to do once you are safely relaxing in the departure lounge.

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3. Master your sleep patterns

If you have that much-sought-after ability to sleep on planes, you can time your sleep patterns to reduce jetlag and adjust to your new time zone. For example, if you are flying westward on a morning flight, you can considerably reduce or even eliminate your sleep the night before, and then sleep on the plane. Or if you are going eastward on an evening flight, you can again reduce your sleep the night before and this time try to stay awake until the time strikes that would usually be your bedtime in the destination that you are traveling to. Of course, it all varies with the flight arrivals and departure times – with experience, you learn to form a ‘strategy’ for optimal sleeping during flights.

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4. Don’t overindulge in food or alcohol

Excess consumption of either food or alcohol can definitely add to the ‘transatlantic blues’ – headaches, tiredness and irritability can all be amplified by the mixture of sudden timezone change and food and drink intake. Keep plenty of water handy, and of course the hard-boiled sweets if your ears are sensitive to pressure changes upon takeoff or landing.

5. Hunt down that privileged traveler status.

There is a common perception of ‘gold member’ status that one has to practically spend half one’s life on a plane to get the air miles necessary to achieve it, when in fact 2 or 3 transatlantic flights a year could put you on that road. The real benefit comes when you have time to spend in between connecting flights: a shower, good food and a place to lie down can make all the difference in the world.

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Last Updated on January 2, 2020

How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Over time, we all gather a set of constricting habits around us—ones that trap us in a zone of supposed comfort, well below what our potential would allow us to attain. Pretty soon, such habits slip below the level of our consciousness, but they still determine what we think that we can and cannot do—and what we cannot even bring ourselves to try. As long as you let these habits rule you, you’ll be stuck in a rut.

Like the tiny, soft bodied creatures that build coral reefs, habits start off small and flexible, and end up by building massive barriers of rock all around your mind. Inside the reefs, the water feels quiet and friendly. Outside, you think it’s going to be rough and stormy. There may be sharks. But if you’re to develop in any direction from where you are today, you must go outside that reef of habits that marks the boundaries of your comfort zone. There’s no other way. There’s even nothing specially wrong with those habits as such. They probably worked for you in the past.

But now, it’s time to step over them and go into the wider world of your unused potential. Your fears don’t know what’s going to be out there, so they invent monsters and scary beasts to keep you inside.

Nobody’s born with an instruction manual for life. Despite all the helpful advice from parents, teachers and elders, each of us must make our own way in the world, doing the best we can and quite often getting things wrong.

Messing up a few times isn’t that big a deal. But if you get scared and try to avoid all mistakes by sticking with just a few “tried and true” behaviors, you’ll miss out on most opportunities as well.

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Lots of people who suffer from boredom at work are doing it to themselves. They’re bored and frustrated because that’s what their choices have caused them to be. They’re stuck in ruts they’ve dug for themselves while trying to avoid making mistakes and taking risks. People who never make mistakes never make anything else either.

It’s time to pin down the habits that have become unconscious and are running your life for you, and get rid of them. Here’s how to do it:

1. Understand the Truth about Your Habits

They always represent past successes. You have formed habitual, automatic behaviors because you once dealt with something successfully, tried the same response next time, and found it worked again. That’s how habits grow and why they feel so useful.

To get away from what’s causing your unhappiness and workplace blues, you must give up on many of your most fondly held (and formerly successful) habits. and try new ways of thinking and acting. There truly isn’t any alternative. Those habits are going to block you from finding new and creative ideas. No new ideas, no learning. No learning, no access to successful change.

2. Do Something—Almost Anything—Differently and See What Happens

Even the most successful habits eventually lose their usefulness as events change the world and fresh responses are called for. Yet we cling on to them long after their benefit has gone.

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Past strategies are bound to fail sometime. Letting them become automatic habits that take the controls is a sure road to self-inflicted harm.

3. Take Some Time out and Have a Detailed Look at Yourself—With No Holds Barred

Discovering your unconscious habits can be tough. For a start, they’re unconscious, right? Then they fight back.

Ask anyone who has ever given up smoking if habits are tough to break. You’ve got used to them—and they’re at least as addictive as nicotine or crack cocaine.

4. Be Who You Are

It’s easy to assume that you always have to fit in to get on in the world; that you must conform to be liked and respected by others or face exclusion. Because most people want to please, they try to become what they believe others expect, even if it means forcing themselves to be the kind of person they aren’t, deep down.

You need to start by putting yourself first. You’re unique. We’re all unique, so saying this doesn’t suggest that you’re better than others or deserve more than they do.

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You need to put yourself first because no one else has as much interest in your life as you do; and because if you don’t, no one else will. Putting others second means giving them their due respect, not ignoring them totally.

Keeping up a self-image can be a burden. Hanging on to an inflated, unrealistic one is a curse. Give yourself a break.

5. Slow Down and Let Go

Most of us want to think of ourselves as good, kind, intelligent and caring people. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it isn’t.

Reality is complex. We can’t function at all without constant input and support from other people.

Everything we have, everything we’ve learned, came to us through someone else’s hands. At our best, we pass on this borrowed existence to others, enhanced by our contribution. At our worst, we waste and squander it.

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So recognize that you’re a rich mixture of thoughts and feelings that come and go, some useful, some not. There’s no need to keep up a façade; no need to pretend; no need to fear of what you know to be true.

When you face your own truth, you’ll find it’s an enormous relief. If you’re maybe not as wonderful as you’d like to be, you aren’t nearly as bad as you fear either.

The truth really does set you free; free to work on being better and to forgive yourself for being human; free to express your gratitude to others and recognize what you owe them; free to acknowledge your feelings without letting them dominate your life. Above all, you’ll be free to understand the truth of living: that much of what happens to you is no more than chance. It can’t be avoided and is not your fault. There’s no point in beating yourself up about it.

Final Thoughts

What is holding you in situations and actions that no longer work for you often isn’t inertia or procrastination. It’s the power of habitual ways of seeing the world and thinking about events. Until you can let go of those old, worn-out habits, they’ll continue to hold you prisoner.

To stay in your comfort zone through mere habit, or—worse still—to stay there because of irrational fears of what may lie outside, will condemn you to a life of frustration and regret.

If you can accept the truth about the world and yourself, change whatever is holding you back, and get on with a fresh view on life, you’ll find that single action lets you open the door of your self-imposed prison and walk free. There’s a marvelous world out there. You’ll see, if you try it!

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Featured photo credit: teigan rodger via unsplash.com

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