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The past few years on and off the ground for airline staff have been more of a “roller coaster ride” than “smooth sailing.” They’ve dealt with challenges like COVID, supply chain and employee shortages, company buyouts, and more.
But if there’s anyone who can handle these obstacles, it’s an airline worker. If you’re in this career, you know how to multitask like a pro. Handling missed connections, missing luggage, screaming kids (and adults), and everything necessary for a successful flight are all in a day’s work.
Still, now that travelers are back in full force, it’s essential that you put your safety first. Shortages mean you’re working extra hours and handling things outside your job description. Your health and well-being are at risk.
Before your next flight departure checklist begins, start with these safety tips. Put your “oxygen mask” on first, and then you can help others better!
1. Stick To Healthy Habits
When you’re busy and picking up extra shifts, it’s easy to neglect your health. Instead of packing nutritious lunches, you skip meals or grab cheap junk food to fill you up. Your schedule becomes erratic, and you miss sleep. You fuel yourself with caffeinated drinks, then chug more down when the “crash” hits.
These unhealthy habits eventually turn into a vicious cycle. Your body is begging for nutrition, and you’re feeding it with whatever is on hand. You’re tired, but rather than boost your energy with clean fuel, you load up on sugary drinks and snacks.
Sound familiar? If so, your life flight is on a dangerous path, about to collide with burnout, sickness, and disease. This isn’t good for anyone, but it’s especially risky if you’re the pilot.
Regardless of your role in delivering passengers to their destinations safely, you must be on your toes at all times. Developing healthy habits, like getting enough rest and eating nutritious meals, will ensure you’re able to do your job optimally.
2. Stay in Travel-Focused Accommodations
So what’s keeping you from developing and sustaining those healthy habits? Chances are, it’s your crazy schedule and the accommodations you frequent when you’re on the road.
The airline must provide you with lodging, but it’s not always the most comfortable place to relax between shifts. If you have any say in your hotel of choice, aim for those that market themselves as “corporate-focused.”
These accommodations will likely have the things you need to help you keep your healthy habits on track. Corporate hotels include fitness centers, healthier meal options, and comfortable beds (often with pillow menus).
Get better rest in your downtime, and grab some nutritious food choices to take with you for the day. Your immune system will be healthier overall, keeping you and those around you safer. Your mental clarity stays on point, too, helping you make better in-the-moment decisions throughout your shift.
3. Invest in Your Mental Health
Over the past few years, research has focused on the mental health and well-being of cabin crews and pilots. The results have consistently shown that more than half of those studied struggle with mild to moderate depression.
Not surprisingly, this number has increased since COVID. Airline staff deal with irate and stressed passengers. When they have to pass on news like delays and cancellations, they get to listen to and juggle the immediate frustrated responses.
On top of their job-induced stresses, they work long shifts and are away from their loved ones for extended periods.
Because of the nature of your job, you must have a plan in place to handle your mental health issues before they worsen. Your insurance should cover therapy, and your airline’s policies likely include free counseling.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your supervisor or Human Resources department about your personal struggles, be sure you’re reaching out for help off the clock.
Within your erratic schedule, make time for yourself. Eating nutritiously provides you with the vitamins and minerals your brain needs to balance the mood chemicals it produces. But you can give your body an extra boost of happy hormones like serotonin by exercising regularly.
Cortisol is one of the stress hormones that tell your body it’s in danger. When you’re upset or under chronic pressure, your brain produces too much cortisol. For your health, you must find ways to release it.
Working out can do the trick, but if you don’t have the time or feel like exercising, journaling, meditation, or having a good laugh with your friends can help, too.
The safety of your passengers is in the lap of the pilot and plane. However, getting each person where they’re supposed to go safely is easier if you’re in good health, too.
Keep these three essential tips in mind, and you’ll be happier and healthier overall, even under the pressure of your airline job.