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Learning how to survive a long-haul flight it’s easier than you think: with a holistic approach, you can travel to your destination in total comfort, arriving fresh, relaxed and restful.
Last year my life took an unexpected direction and I found myself traveling often long distances by plane. Within 10 months, in fact, I went to China for five times.
The airplane is a kind of magic, indispensable for modern working times, with its prerogative of eating time and space in a flash, allowing us to be on the other side of the planet in a very short time. From another point of view, however, the long and forced stay, without pauses, in a closed environment where conditions are very peculiar, puts our body and our nervous system to the test. Such discomfort can make us very frustrated, and emotionally challenged.
The airline I chose offers a 12-13 hours nonstop flight, so, since my first trip, I had to organize at best my stay in the flying metal box. I love to travel and I’m not afraid to fly, but I usually prefer to take the train, because the plane forces us to stay in a pressurized environment (at 75% of normal atmospheric pressure, which means less oxygen in the blood, it can cause fatigue and headaches) without a good air exchange (half of the air in the cabin is recycled), in light deprivation, exposed to cosmic radiations, forced to be with many people in a small environment, with no space for large movements. All of these conditions create sensory disorientation (changes in humidity and air pressure inside the cabin can affect hearing, smell and sense of taste), weather-related alterations, circulatory nuisances, swelling and dehydration (on the plane the air is very dry and it takes only 3 hours to lose up to 1.5 liters of water).
To address all these discomforts, I have developed a strategic plan, starting from a holistic approach in order to support both body and mind and mitigate the negative effects usually experienced during a long flight. I can say I have tested it with success.
For anyone planning a long flight, here are some tips to keep you healthy on the airplane and to make you feel rested, refreshed, relaxed and ready to go to work or to start your vacation.
First, let’s think about how to boost our resistance in the period before your departure.
Two weeks before the trip, it is recommended to drink many green vegetable’s cold pressed juices, to keep an eye on hydration, drink plenty of fresh, revitalized and “informed” water with good vibe information added.
The week before the trip, it is a good idea to follow a plant-based nutrition, increasing the consumption of raw fruit and vegetables, in order to load up on antioxidants. They will help with the radiations exposure we undergo during a long flight and will strengthen the Immune system. Taking a good probiotic will also strengthen the intestine, helping it fight harmful bacteria. Lastly, I strongly advise reducing the sugar intake to zero.
The day before (but even better all week before) do not drink alcohol, which tend to dehydrate your body and for the same reason avoid diuretic drinks, including coffee, cola-based drinks, and even chocolate. You can drink tea instead, whose polyphenols counteract the dehydrating action of caffeine, making it moisturizing as much as water (I learned this by attending an interesting webinar held by one of the highest authorities in the field of tea chemistry).
The night before try to sleep well in order to board rested. It is not a good idea to stay awake 24 hours before departure, hoping to be able to sleep on the plane. To face the journey and the psychophysical stress, it is essential to be perfectly rested. Going to bed early the whole week before the flight is the best way to make sure you will board in the best conditions. A well-rested body is more relaxed and is, therefore, more capable to find quickly a comfortable position, even on the awkward airplane seats.
Before, during and after the flight try Australian Bush Flower Essences Travel Drops. Australian Bush Flower Essences are powerful catalysts that can help us overcome fears and anxieties. Specifically, the combined Travel Essence is a mix of Australian Essences specifically designed to overcome all those emotional discomforts that can accompany the organization of a trip or vacation, such as anxiety and fears associated with short trips or long journeys, physical difficulties related to displacement, sense of disorientation and lack of practical sense, issues such as nausea and jet lag effects. They contribute, in fact, to welcoming all the changes that a journey entails, helping to recover energy and enabling a person to arrive at their destination feeling balanced and ready to go.
Once on board, it’s important to pay attention to some essential things to do.
Stay hydrated. To help your body face the long hours in the pressured atmosphere, it is essential to be and remain well hydrated. Aircraft cabins are often very dry places and the probability of dehydration is high. Drink plenty of water slowly and regularly and avoid coffee and alcohol. Bring a bottle of water on board if you can (remember to buy it at the airport after have checked-in your hand luggage, and keep it sealed until you are in the air, in accordance with restrictions on transportable liquids).
Moisturize your skin. Bring a travel size format of your favorite moisturizer and apply it several times, on a cleaned skin. I love Dr. Hauschka’s skin care and especially Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream. I always bring with me their travel size cleansing milk, lotion and moisturizer, and some thermal water, to be sprayed often on the face.
Bring healthy snacks. Just before and during your trip, avoid preserved and high in sugar intake foods as much as possible, prefer fresh and light but nutritionally-rich foods: your body will better deal with the special conditions on board and even with the jet lag. It is essential, therefore, to bring on board a couple of healthy snacks with slow release of energy, such as organic energy bars, nuts or dried fruit. The fresh fruit remains a perfect option, thanks to its lightness and refreshing and moisturizing power.
Choose comfortable clothes to wear that will keep you warm. Dress in layers with lightweight and breathable fabrics such as cotton and wool. Layering your clothing is a tried-and-true way to maximize your comfort. It allows you to set the temperature throughout the flight. The cabin temperature is often very low, so remember to bring a sweater and a pair of socks even during summer. Comfort is just as important, so avoid tight, bonded, laced clothes (preferably avoid also your bra or opt for a very soft and comfortable one) and everything that squeezes, leaves many parts exposed or is too short (you will want to lay in a fetal position without fear of a scandal). Opt for something you’ve already tried, including shoes (comfortable and not tight: feet tend to swell at high altitudes). As for style, think of something that will not disfigure after 12 hours sat on a plane.
Here are some other good tips for a perfect flight.
Wear minimal makeup. Considering the very challenging environment, wearing heavy makeup during long distance flights prevents the skin from being able to breathe, rejuvenate and repair itself. Your skin has to deal with high altitude and lack of sleep, so don’t make its job harder by putting on a lot of makeup.
Pay attention to hygiene and health on board. It is often thought that on board there are many viruses and bacteria present in the air, due to the partially recycled air and to the forced companionship with many people in a small environment for a long time. In fact, it is not the quality of the air that we have to worry about, but rather the reduced ability of the body to deal with pathogenic agents we normally encounter, which is the real cause of the danger of getting sick after a flight. This does not mean that the environment on a plane does not contribute to the risk, but it’s not the key factor. Therefore, the better thing to do is strengthening the immune system before boarding the aircraft, as we have explained above. Also, as a general precaution, it’s not a bad idea to bring a Lavender Hand Sanitizer or the Magic Organic Hand Sanitizing Spray Lavender. Better eat fruits, nuts and energy bars with clean hands. Finally, bring both toothbrush and toothpaste, to feel fresh and clean.
Take Stretch Breaks and walk. Lifting your legs is important to avoid the risk of developing deep venous thrombosis , ie the formation of blood clots in deep veins. It is a known danger on long flights. In order to avoid even the slightest risk, health authorities recommend doing gentle exercises at your seat and getting up every two hours, walking up and down the corridors, flexing and stretching your legs to encourage blood flow, especially in the calves. Some of the tips I already mentioned are also recommended: wear wide and comfortable clothes, drink plenty of liquids and avoid alcohol.
Relax and adopt a zen attitude. On board there are plenty way to pass time, especially on long flights. In order to entertain you, there is always a wide choice of movies, TV series, games, music. You can also use your laptop or other devices in airplane mode to work or write. Try to resist the temptation to watch all the movies available or to complete a PowerPoint presentation and try instead to do something that we rarely do in everyday life: try to relax. Feel free to unplug by meditating, listening to calming music, doing some breathing exercises, listening to visualization audio, drawing, imagining. Or just sleep and do nothing but, blissfully lie down. What better way than a long flight to abandon your worries and just relax? Those long hours in the air are like a gift: nothing to decide, nowhere to go, no one to call, a long period of practicing zen and the art of total relaxation.
Rely on the power of music. The act of listening to music produces a very powerful calming effect in prolonged stress situations, it has vast effects on brain chemistry and it is associated with mental and physical health benefits. The positive effects of music are related to the fact that music activates neurons in the cerebral stem, causing a cascade of chemical effects on the nervous system that evoke relaxation. Listening to music can also provide a diversion during a long transport, reducing anxiety and calming nervous or anxious travelers. Slow music tends to be more relaxing than very rhythmic music, but a favorite song is more relaxing, regardless of style and rhythm.
Get ready for sleep. On the airplane you will always be provided with a blanket. A good travel pillow can be bought in every airport. An eye mask and noise-cancelling headphones or a pair of earplugs will complete the kit of the high-altitude professional sleeper.
Try aromatherapy and essential oils. For a complete holistic approach, in addition to noise-cancelling headphones, music, meditation, and visualization, it may be very useful to use aromatherapy to make the environment more comfortable. Smell is an incredibly powerful sense. When an essential oil is inhaled, the molecules enter the nasal cavity and stimulate the limbic brain system, which affects emotions and memories and is directly related to the adrenal and pituitary glands and the hypothalamus. These areas regulate breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, memory, hormonal balance, and stress. My naturopath recommended me to use lavender and eucalyptus to relieve stress and anxiety and induce relaxation, peppermint to help combat nausea. Pay attention: always and only inhale and never ingest them. Ask advice on doses and methods to your naturopath or trusted essential oils expert.
Please, enjoy your holistic approached trip and have a nice flight!