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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

How to beat your fear of flying & COVID-related travel anxiety

August 31, 2021 1 Comments
Hello everyone!

Travel stress and anxiety is nothing new but nowadays we’re not just talking about fear of flying or losing your passport.  As many people are travelling again, we’re facing a sort of new wave of travel anxiety triggered by COVID-19.
With pandemic restrictions easing up and vaccinated people eager to take a long-awaited vacation, a lot more people are travelling around this time.  However, many people are still reluctant to book a flight.

person at the airport

Fear of flying (aerophobia) can be caused by several factors, including claustrophobia or a fear of heights.  Many nervous flyers feel irrational anxiety that their plane will malfunction and crash.  Other travellers worry about terrorist hijackings or panic at the idea that they’re not in control of the plane.

To fly or not to fly is a personal decision and one that no one else can make for you.  But for those of you who are determined to go on holiday (vacation), below are a few tips for overcoming your travel anxiety.  

Figuring out the exact reasons (or triggers) behind your travel anxiety is the first step in feeling more confident about taking a trip.

Before your trip

  • Familiarise yourself with aeroplane noises.
  • Check the turbulence forecast.
  • Choose an aisle seat.

  • Think positive.

  • Bring a photo of your destination.
  • Drink water only (no coffee or alcohol).

  • Arrive at the airport early.

face mask over passport and boarding ticket

On the plane

  • Pay attention to the safety presentation.
  • Listen to music that relaxes you.
  • Distract yourself during the flight.
  • Think about where you're going and what you're going to do there.

Typical travel anxiety tends to anticipate what may happen in the worst-case scenario.  The problem is some of the anxiety about COVID is not irrational.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), the more you travel, the more you risk becoming exposed to the virus.

To keep anxiety about COVID-19 in check, it’s important to distinguish between real risks and overblown scenarios.  Here’s how to prepare for a safer trip:

traveling by plane wearing a face masks

  • Do your research - Factors such as the COVID-19 infection rate where you live and in the location, you are travelling to, should be taken to consideration.
  • Check local rules ahead of time.
  • Get your paperwork in order. 
  • Offer proof (if needed) - Many countries require a vaccination certificate and/or a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • Don't forget your masks and hand sanitiser.

If your anxiety is particularly crippling and you’ve tried other relaxation techniques without success, ask your doctor about taking an anti-anxiety medication or a sleeping pill before you fly.  Nothing should stand between you and the vacation you deserve!

I hope you found this helpful!  Stay safe, wherever you are.

Monday, August 30, 2021

The benefits of unplugging (from technology)

August 30, 2021 1 Comments

Hello everyone!

We are approaching the end of summer;  this is a very popular time for Maltese families to go on holiday (vacation).  We all know how crucial it is to take a vacation, especially in today's fast-paced world.  But my question is: Is it really a vacation if we are slaves to technology and social media?   

Having a healthy relationship with technology is an important part of today’s world, but how do you know if you need to unplug?

People on their phones

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the term digital detox.  Digital detox refers to a period of time when a person refrains from using tech devices such as smartphones, computers, tablets, social media sites and sometimes even televisions.  "Detoxing” from digital devices is often seen as a way to focus on real-life social interactions without distractions.  This is especially important if you are taking a break from work and your daily routine while on vacation with your loved ones. 

Unplugging and taking some time to reconnect with yourself and be present in the activities taking place around you is very important.  Regular time away from your smartphone and other electronics can benefit not only your health but your relationships as well.

Do you have a smartphone addiction?  These are some clear signs that you need a break from tech device:

  • You constantly check your smartphone throughout the day (even when it’s not necessary).
  • You become anxious if you can’t find a signal, are nearing your data limit or your battery is running low.
  • You are preoccupied with the like, comment, or share counts on your social posts.
  • You’re afraid that you'll miss something if you don't keep checking your device.
  • You often find yourself staying up late or getting up early to check your phone.
  • You struggle to have face-to-face conversations.
  • You do not know how to behave when your phone is not on your person.
  • You make careless mistakes because you’re always distracted.
  • You find that your ability to think clearly is compromised because you do not have your phone on you.
  • You’re sedentary for long stretches of time.
  • You don’t spend time outdoors because you spend your free time looking at screens.
  • You aren’t sleeping well.

Digital Detox
Here are 10 (ten) digital detox tips to help you spend less time glued to your devices!

  • Do not begin and end your day by checking the phone.
  • Only use the phone with purpose, not to kill time.
  • Mute notifications. 
  • Delete unnecessary apps.
  • Consume digital information mindfully, not passively.
  • Keep your phone out of reach or on flight mode.
  • Set internet-free hours and spaces.
  • Spend more time in nature.
  • Engage in physical activity more often.
  • Take a digital sabbatical (24h - a week).

Unplugging or digital detoxing -

  • Helps maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Reduced stress.
  • Reduces FOMO (fear of missing out).
  • Allows a more positive life perspective.
  • Improves sleep habits.

Do you ever feel the need to unplug from technology for a while?  Are you addicted to your phone?  Leave a comment and let me know!  
Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.  
     – Christian Lous Lange 

Take care!