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4 Flight Attendants Share Their Secrets For Staying Healthy While Flying
Welcome aboard WH air …Where no one catches a cold, gets hobbled by jet lag or is served inedible food. Note these flight attendants’ easy travel tips and prepare to fly the healthy skies.
The humidity on most planes is typically less than 20 per cent (for comparison, the humidity in your house is generally more than 30 per cent). Dry air makes Heather headachy and groggy so, pre-flight, she downs at least 350ml of water. You should also protect your skin from dryness with some heavy-duty moisturiser – try Aviation Hydration ($29.95, helensskintherapy.com.au), which is specifically formulated for thirsty cabin crew and passengers.
Create a sleep kit
For sweet dreams at 30,000 feet, Heather suggests carrying on a neck pillow, noise-cancelling headphones and an eye mask with built-in eye cavities to block out light without smudging your mascara (try ones from dreamessentials.com.au).
Roll out stress
To nix neck and backaches, Heather totes a tiny hand massager from Japan. Try the similar Pressure Positive Knobble II ($22, massagewarehouse.com.au). She also suggests this in-your-seat power stretch: lightly squeeze the top of your left trapezius muscle (which runs between your shoulder and the base of your skull) while gently turning your head to the right. Then repeat on the other side.
Take a hike
Heather’s fix for flight-swollen feet? Every hour, walk the length of the cabin to prevent blood pooling in your feet (which causes puffiness) and ward off clots, something you’re at greater risk of if you take the pill, are pregnant or are on a flight longer than eight hours.
And not just your clothes. The night before a 5am start, Holly preps her snack (a banana wrapped in a paper towel and foil to protect it from bruising, plus a packet of almond butter) and leaves her keys and passport on the table to avoid a last-minute morning scramble.
Shrug It Off
To stay cool when passengers take out their frustrations on her (it’s not her fault your seat doesn’t recline, people!), Holly mentally conjures a mantra: “Extend love to others no matter what.” Repeat it when small annoyances (crying babies, an armrest-hogging neighbour) threaten to ruin your flight.
If it’s daytime when you reach your hotel, ask the receptionist there to point you to the nearest park. “Wiggling my toes in grass and enjoying sunlight – and vitamin D – makes me feel good after a long day of travel,” suggests Holly. No kidding: a recent Stanford study found walking in nature rather than an urban environment helped to reduce activity in a key brain region associated with depression.
Bring a bit of home
If you have trouble nodding off in a strange hotel room, take a reminder from home. Holly loves soaking in a hotel bath with Young Living Lavender Essential Oil ($49.99, youngliving.com/en_au), so she brings along a small bottle. Even packing your own pillowcase can provide some instant comfort.
Skip the free OJ
Sugary sips from the cart can lead to a mid-flight crash that might make you cranky, so Kat brings a less-sweet homemade green juice. For domestic flights you can bring your own, but when the liquid restrictions apply, grab one from a cafe once you’re through security.
Hit the ground and run
Because she has memberships to gym chains across the country, “I can work out in most cities,” says Kat. Don’t want multiple memberships? Try ClassPass, which allows you to pay one subscription fee to access different classes around the world. You can also pick fitness-savvy hotels: The Westin, for example, will lend you New Balance shoes and clothing for your stay for $5.
Watch the clock
When Kat has an overnight flight, she doesn’t adjust time zones to the new location. Copying her move will prevent jet lag if you’re crossing time zones for just a couple of nights. For longer trips, stay up until 10pm local time, then in the morning, go out in the sun for 15 minutes to help reset your body clock.
Cool your jets
Kat knows better than to stress about cancellations. “I remind passengers that what matters is that we arrive safely,” she says. To avoid feeling frazzled by the rebooking process, call customer service or reach out via Facebook or Twitter; these methods often elicit the fastest response.
Turn off the TV
Rather than zombie-watching Friends reruns, do stuff you usually put off (cleaning out your email inbox, writing thank-you cards). Kiara makes her shopping list for the week and plans her social schedule, things she procrastinates doing at home.
Time your snacking right
“The pressure changes on flights make me nauseous and bloated if I eat close to take- off or landing,” says Kiara. The science-backed reason: gas expands in your gut when you ascend, causing a puffed-out belly and potential pain. To sidestep sickness, eat mid-flight or nibble on crystallised ginger pieces.
Cut the carbs
Processed grains leave Kiara feeling sluggish, so her go-to picks are her airline’s fruit-and-cheese platter and banh mi sandwich; with the latter, she ditches the white roll and eats the vegetables and chicken inside like a salad. Do this with any vegie-packed sandwich for energising protein and produce sans refined carbs.
Zen out for Zs
Kiara highly recommends full-body meditation to nab elusive in-flight sleep. Starting with your toes, visualise each part of your body (eg, feet, ankles) relaxing. “I’m usually zonked out by the time I reach my hips,” she says.
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