A blog about Traveling, Aviation, Social Media and life as a Digital Nomad.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

5 Anxiety Butt-kicking Tips For Grounded Birds (and Flight Attendants too!)

If you read my previous post, then you know my anxiety-filled struggle after leaving a certain red hat airline. In the past few weeks, many people I know have lost their jobs, and the others who haven’t are worried about the possibility of losing theirs, too. 

This brings other worries: what am I going to do next? How am I going to support my loved ones or my lifestyle? Do I have to go back to my old life? And a bunch of other doubts that will keep you up at night or staring at your favorite Netflix show without really watching it. 

But, guess what? IT IS COMPLETELY NORMAL. This is a normal reaction, especially during Covid times: when you either lost your job or are afraid you will lose it. It means that you are not alone! There are many other people going through similar situations across the world, and especially, close to you.

So, being a mindfulness junkie and  having gone through “OMG I just lost my job” realizations that freaked me out for about a zillion times since it happened, I’ve put together some tips that are helpful to me when dealing with stress.
It is normal (I can’t stress this word enough) to go through anxiety episodes, or feeling like you are on the verge of one. It’s all about identifying these moments when you are about to lose it, and doing something about it or doing things in advance to alleviate stress. 

Here’s 5 tips to get rid of stress or avoid it:

1.   Breathe, but be aware of it. Like, really aware. 

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? It is and it’s not. Why? Because you need to do it mindfully. We are talking about diaphragmatic or belly breathing. Not only is breathing the basis of meditation or relaxation techniques (so if you want to become a meditation guru, you have to master these), but it also has tons of benefits, such as lowering your heart rate and blood pressure on top of reducing stress.  

There are many exercises such as laying flat on the floor and putting a hand on your chest and another one on your belly and concentrating on the air going in and out, or even “alternate nostril breathing” When I have to change my post-flying life plan to a new one (because everything constantly changes with this pandemic), I make sure I give myself a little breathing time, 5 minutes can make a huge difference!

2.   Snap a rubber band. 

A wrist band or hair tie will also do the trick. This is a form of aversion therapy. 

You basically place the band on your wrist and snap it any time you feel anxiety taking over you. As you do that, you need to say a positive affirmation that you can come up with. It can be anything that will help: “This is anxiety trying to control me, but I am the one in control here” or simply tell yourself that your anxious thoughts are not real. 

I use this technique whenever I get irritated over things I cannot control, but I do remind myself that I can control my reactions: “you are a loved and important person, you control your life”  Personally, that has been an important thing to remind myself of, whenever this situation has made me feel like a number. Sound ridiculous? Yes. Does it work? Yes! 

3. Meditate while visualizing, visualize while meditating.

I know what you’re thinking: “I can’t concentrate enough to meditate” 

I love meditating, and trust me, I sometimes find it difficult, too. But practice makes perfect!

A good start are guided meditations, visualization. These are meditations that will help you if you get easily distracted. And remember, if you get distracted from the visualization, always go back to picturing the air going through your nose and into your lungs, and out of your lungs through your mouth. I find these boho meditations quite soothing, check them out! 

Oh, and light some incense or a candle, lavender is my favorite soothing scent. 

4. Run Forrest, RUN!

Okay, I’m not a running fanatic (my feet are not designed for it, so I get lower back pain after running a mile or two). 

I do, however, love love LOVE cycling! It was one of my favorite activities to do as a kid. So, whenever I feel too stressed, sad or anxious: I cycle. I’m not saying you should bike away your sorrows, just pick any activity that will allow you to release endorphins. Endorphins or “runner’s high” are a chemical released by your brain whenever you exercise. 

Even going for a walk will help, after I had a little crying sesh because I would be worried about my post-flying life, I would go for a walk or a spin class, and life automatically felt good again. So get off your butt and do a little (or a lot!) of exercise.

5. Get rid of anything that feels TOXIC…at least for a while.

Do you notice that, whenever talking to a specific person during stressful times, you feel more anxious than you already were? Or that instagram account with someone with the perfect life makes you feel a little blue? It may be because it’s triggering something in your mind that makes you think about situations that make you anxious, or because you are setting unrealistic standards for yourself when, in reality, nobody’s perfect.

 So…give yourself a rest!

When I lost my job, I didn’t look at my phone for a day or two. I even didn’t reply to company e-mails right away, it honestly felt toxic to me, and there was no need to rush. Human Resources is not going anywhere, they will wait for your reply. So give yourself time and be patient, and get rid of whatever gives you that tingling feeling in your arms, there is no need for that during rough times, or EVER. 

Final thought.
I hope you find these useful. I practice them everyday, it’s how I keep my sanity. Do you already practice any of these? Which one is most efficient to you? 


Friday, June 12, 2020

Lipstick & Hats Off!: Embracing Freedom of Speech and Social Media Liberty

If you’re here, then you probably read my Facebook post about me leaving (or was it me being asked to leave?) the airline I’ve worked for almost 10 years, and it was more of a love letter to my peers than anything else. I’ll be honest: it was not the initial intention. 

Truth is, I saw so many people lose their jobs on this massive firing show we are currently experiencing, I saw everyone panicking, a large number of questions and very little answers. Noticing all this, my goal was to create awareness regarding the situation, and how mindful we should be about asking questions to people who were going through a very difficult time.
But as the morning went on, I saw what seemed like true chaos and, to be fair, I recognized myself in that panic state: I had been in it a month before.

Consequently, the post mutated into caring words towards whoever was going through whatever feelings they were going through. Why? Because it stunk for me, and because I would have liked to have someone who had gone through the same situation acknowledge what I felt and help me get through it.

Don’t get me wrong, I have an amazing support system. But reality is that I would have loved to have someone who went through the same states and moods I went through tell me that “this, too, shall pass” and I was going to be okay (and that the 1 million daily mood swings would eventually end)

I was on the first round of people being let go, and it wasn’t cool. To be honest with you, I felt quite embarrassed. I was told that I got sick too often at the beginning of my career (2010) and that I got sick a little too much towards the end, twice in 18 months… really guys?
I was angry, I felt offended and felt there was no justice in this whole situation.
Basically, I was being blamed for being human, and it made no sense at all in my mind. However, I accepted it and even if I knew it was wrong to do so, I internally took the blame and carried that with me for weeks.

But then…lightbulb! 

I do therapy (before you judge, keep in mind therapists also do therapy, otherwise they lose it!) and in one of the sessions I was told to just stop. I believe the words “brain” and “wash” were thrown somewhere in the mix, and it made total sense to me. Now, I’m not saying that I was sat down to watch corporate videos while tied up and had ice-cold water thrown in my face whenever I didn’t agree with the footage, but there are little things that can be done to kind of shape or groom the way you think, and we don’t even notice them.

So I decided I was going to deal with this the same way I’ve dealt with break-ups: 

  1. I was going to allow myself to be miserable for a bit (cry, eat whatever I wanted and have a glass of wine or two)
  2. I was going to do whatever would make me feel better (even if it was perceived as rude, like not talk to people and ignore nosy messages)
  3. I would be angry and hurt (and unleash the anger monster on whoever ticked me off - I’m looking at you HR)
  4. And after I felt like I was done ranting and letting it all out, I would make my peace with it, wish my beloved the very best and focus my energy in the future.

After I made it to the last step (by the way, achieving this step took me weeks, and it wasn’t easy) all my love was poured out in the shape of support for whoever was/is struggling in my community… and it felt good. 
Do I feel like someone wronged me? Yes, I do. 
Do I still get mad at times? I certainly do. 
Do I think there are better things coming? You bet your flying behind I do! 

Allow yourself to feel like crap, reach out, open up to those around you. You may get help offered from those you least expect. Hopelessness, sadness, desperation and worry, they don’t last forever. Lean on those who want to help and lend you an ear, even if you don’t know them. 

I think during these times, it is necessary we create this “galley feeling”, that little kitchen on the plane where you united with your community and shared your thoughts, good and bad, pretty and ugly. That sensation that you can trust a person you had just met with a secret or a problem you had. So many years of giving and receiving jumpseat therapy taught me that there is an important factor in talking about what bothers you, knowing that others are going through something similar and get a little insight that may make your lightbulb go off, too.

How are you coping through these difficult times? What do you miss the most? What would you tell others or yourself? Let’s do a little galley talk down at the comment section or if you want a little privacy you can click here.

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