October 10th is World Mental Health Day, and it’s an opportunity to look at and speak out about this important, and often taboo, subject – and why it’s so important to take care of your mental health as cabin crew.
Maintaining a good level mental health is crucial for Cabin Crew, who already have to work hard to ensure their physical health is in good form. Long hours, challenging working conditions and often disrupted sleep patterns can really take their toll.
Being crew can also often be a surprisingly lonely job – it’s not guaranteed you’ll always be working with the same colleagues, and you’ll have to spend time away from family and friends (and miss out on special occasions at times) on a regular basis.
Don’t get us wrong, the career is a fantastic one! But it’s not always as glamorous as it can appear – especially on social media sites.
We have a few tips for you for those times where things are getting a little too much.
Don’t suffer in silence
Talk to someone – in person or on the phone, or even via message or email. Whether it’s a family member, a close friend or a colleague, even just acknowledging the issue and speaking about it out loud can can really help. Often you’ll find that other people aren’t coping as well as you might think either – it isn’t just you!
Write it down
It can be incredibly therapeutic to get negative thoughts and anxieties out of your head and on to paper. It can also help you work through your thoughts, and think about how you can deal with a situation. People do this in various ways – some people prefer to write regularly in a journal, some people write online in a blog, and others just get their thoughts out onto a piece of paper which they’ll then throw in the bin. Whichever way works best for you, try it.
Make Healthy Choices
We know that healthy living and getting enough sleep can sometimes seem like an impossibility. But you don’t need to completely change your lifestyle right away!
Take small steps, and change one thing at a time. Try a week of swapping fizzy drinks for water, or going to bed half an hour earlier – just one thing at a time. Then build on it from there. Eating healthily can be hugely beneficial to your mood, and getting even a small amount of extra sleep can make a difference to your day.
Getting out and going for a walk, even for 15 minutes, can really help to clear your head. Exercise (whether simple or more strenuous) has been proven to help elevate your mood by boosting your endorphin levels. Some psychologists suggest that a 10-minute walk could be as good as a 45-minute workout in helping combat feelings of depression and anxiety.
Do whats best for you
Try a little self care! If you’re on a layover and would rather curl up in bed with your iPad and a cupppa than go for a night on the town then politely decline and do what’s best for you.
It’s ok to say no now and again!
Similarly spend time on your days off doing what you need to do to feel happy and de-stress – don’t burn yourself out trying to live up to the expectations of others (or trying to please everyone).
If it’s all getting too much get help!
We can’t emphasise this enough. If you feel like you’re struggling and nothing seems to be helping then seek help from your GP, and make sure that your airline are aware of the situation.
Don’t let it go unchecked as this can have devastating consequences.
Remember there are organisations you can contact who will be happy to advise you on where you can get the right help, let you know your rights as an employee or just listen and provide emotional support.
You can find a list of useful contact details via the mentalhealth.org.uk site here.
Also, take a look at this great article on Cabin Crew Health Hacks by Dan Air of the popular blog Confessions of a Trolley Dolly – it’s full of fantastic advice for crew on both physical and mental wellbeing!