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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 December 30, 2018

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day

This article is the 2nd in the 6-part series, Lifehack Challenge: Become An Early Riser In 5 Days.

If you’d like to become an early riser, there are some things you should know before you run off to set your oft-ignored alarm clock.

So how to become an early riser?

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Here are five tips I’ve discovered to be most helpful in making the transition from erratic sleeper to early morning wizard:

1. Choose to get up before you go to sleep

You’re not very good at making decisions when you’ve just woken up. You were in the middle of a dream in which [insert celebrity crush of choice here] is serving you breakfast in bed only to be rudely awakened by the harsh tones of your alarm clock. You’re frustrated, angry, confused, and surprised. This is not the time to be making decisions about whether or not you should stay in bed! And yet, most of us leave the first decision of our day to be made in a blur of partial wakefulness.

No more! If you want to be a consistently early riser, try making your decision to rise at a specific time before you go to sleep the night before. This frees you from making the decision in the morning when you’ve just woken up. Instead of making a decision, you have only to follow through on your decision from the night before. Easier said than done? Of course. But only for the first few times. Eventually your need for raw willpower to get out of bed will diminish and you’ll be the proud parent of a new habit!

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Steve Pavlina suggests you practice getting out of bed during the day[1] to get a few of the “practice sessions” out of the way without the early morning fog in your head.

2. Have a plan for your extra time

Let’s say you’ve actually made it out of bed 2 hours before you normally would. Now what? What are you going to do with all this time you’ve discovered in your day? If you don’t have something planned to do with your extra time, you risk falling for the temptation of a “morning nap” that wipes out all the work you put into getting up.

What to do? Before you go to bed, make a quick note of what you’d like to get done during your extra hours the following day. Do you have a book to write, paper to read, or garage to clean? Make a plan for your early hours and you’ll do more than protect yourself from backsliding into bed. You’ll get things done and those results will fuel your desire to build rising early into a habit!

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3. Make rising early a social activity

While there’s obvious value in joining a Lifehack Challenge in order to get you started as an early riser, your internet buddies just don’t have enough pull to make your new habit stick in the long term. The same cannot be said for the people you spend time with as part of your early morning routine.

Sure, you could choose to read blogs for two hours every morning. But wouldn’t it be great to join an early breakfast club, running group, or play chess in the park at 5am? The more people you get involved in making your new habit a daily part of your life, the easier it’ll be to succeed.

4. Don’t use an alarm that makes you angry

If we’re all wired differently, why do we all insist on torturing ourselves with the same sort of alarm each morning? I spent years trying to wake up before my alarm went off so I wouldn’t have to hear it. I got pretty good, too. Then I started using a cellphone as my alarm clock and quickly realized that different ring tones irritated me less but worked just as well to wake me up. I now use the ring tone alarm as a back up for my bedside lamp plugged in to a timer.

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When the bright light doesn’t work, the cellphone picks up the slack and I wake up on time. The lesson learned? Experiment a bit and see what works best for you. Light, sound, smells, temperature, or even some contraption that dumps water on you might be more pleasant than your old alarm clock. Give something new a try!

5. Get your blood flowing right after waking

If you don’t have a neighbor you can pick fights with at 5am you’ll have to settle with a more mundane exercise. It doesn’t take much to get your blood flowing and chase the sleep from your head. Just pick something you don’t mind doing and go through the motions until your heart rate is up. Jumping rope, push-ups, crunches, or a few minutes of yoga are typically enough to do the trick. (Just don’t do anything your doctor hasn’t approved.)

If you live in a beautiful part of the world like me, you might want to use a bit of your early morning to go for a walk and enjoy the beauty of the world around you. If you have a coffee shop open within walking distance, dragging yourself out of bed for a cup of coffee to savor on your walk home as the world wakes around you is a wonderful experience. Try it!

More Resources for an Energetic Morning

Featured photo credit: Frank Vex via unsplash.com

Reference

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