Self-Care To Go: Lessons from a Flight Attendant
Self-care is the theme of the week. Why? Because I desperately needed some recently. The life of a flight attendant can be taxing. When you’re living out of a suitcase, breathing in recycled oxygen at 30,000 feet for 8 hours a day, walking in heels through tile-covered concrete terminal floors, spending lonely, anonymous nights in hotels, busting through multiple time zones a week, worrying about bringing a virus home to your family, and—to top it off—watching your airline friends get furloughed and wondering if you’ll still have a job three months from now, I’d call self-care ESSENTIAL.
I decided to share my top self-care staples for my on-the-go life as a full time flight attendant.
Our self-care routines might look a little different now, in the times of Corona. The public spaces we used to occupy, like gyms, health clubs, in-person meetups, group social events, may be might be closed, or we may feel uncomfortable rushing to shift to in-person. Many people are missing their OTFs, their favorite yoga studio, their road races that got cancelled. On the flip side, many have more time than ever due to working from home (for the lucky ones) or loss of employment (for the unlucky.) No situation is the same, but each and every one of us deserves to be taken care of. And we are JUST the people to give that care!
The staples I’m about to list are all travel-friendly (hello, Flight Attendant here!) but are great for anyone, even at home.
*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. You won’t pay more if you decide to make a purchase, but I’ll make a small commission to help out with the costs of running this site. Win-win-win! What you will NOT find on my site is sponsored content. Every thought, opinion, and recommendation within these pages is my own.
Top Self-Care Tips for Life on the Go
1. Move yo Body
Needed: Sneakers. (Maybe.)
Physical activity is a critical part of self-care. If you think positive affirmations and an aromatherapy candle are going to get you to feeling your best you are only fooling yourself. Our bodies and brains are connected, along with our mood and state of mind. Exercise is correlated with decreased risk of cognitive breakdown, meaning Alzheimer’s and dementia, and it is proven to work in preventing and mitigating depression. I’m not saying you should start marathon training. Choose whatever type of movement works for you. Go for a light jog. A relaxing walk. Have a dance party in your room.
Needed: Internet connection. Ten minutes.
Yoga is a great way to get centered, into a more positive headspace, and simultaneously get that body moving. I am no expert yogi, and being real honest with you, I have a hard time focusing in long sessions. However, I’ve integrated short yoga sessions into my (almost) daily routine and it has caused seriously good effects for my mind, productivity and—according to my mom—my arms.
This is an easy habit to incorporate to your travels, on-the-go life, or to mix up the WFH day. These are my current favorite YouTube Yogis.
Yoga with Kassandra
I’m loving the 30 day Morning Yoga Movement from Yoga by Kassandra. Every day, ten minutes a day. Manageable, even on the busiest day, and getting into the routine makes the rest of my day feel better. Kassandra is even-keeled without getting too hippy-dippy woo woo, and also without inserting toooo much personality (my criticism of another popular YouTube yogi.) She also gives a different affirmation each day, which is just nice.
I did the Yoga for Beginners 30-day Challenge during the height of quarantine and really liked it. The videos range from 15-30 minutes, start with breathing techniques, and work all the way up to a supported headstand at the end. Some days were more challenging, some more zen and stretchy, which was a nice mix. Leslie Fightmaster, who runs the channel with her husband but is the solo star in videos, is bubbly but soft spoken. She reads a different quote each day during shavasana (my favorite part of yoga) and ends with a nice reminder to have loving thoughts, communication, and intentions. I enjoyed these little bits of ritual in my practice.
Sara Beth Yoga
Sara Beth’s voice will soothe you to sleep. Her channel has all different styles of yoga from targeted deep hip openers to a beach bod series or yoga for stress & anxiety (just what 2020 ordered.) This might be the best resource for targeted videos. If you’re having pain or tightness in a specific area, or even need a specific emotion tapped, Sara Beth is your girl. Videos range from 5-60 minutes and you can simply search for what you need. This is also the only one of the three that features ambient/meditation music in the background.
If you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best,
for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself
2. Skin Care is Self-Care
Dry, recycled oxygen, long days, and increased UV exposure due to altitude make taking care of your skin CRI-TI-CAL for flight attendants. This has only become more pressing with mask mandates, as we battle our new nemesis: Mask-ne.
During quarantine, many of our skincare regimens saw a big upgrade. It’s always been important, but with extra time on our hands thanks to Corona, many of us commoners were able to finally incorporate more steps into our routine. We’re still not Gwyneth, but we’re glowing.
What I’m loving:
Vitamin C for the daytime, and a rotation of Retinol or Hyaluronic acid at night. Part of me hates this because it feels in some way that I’m giving in to magazines that have lied to me and said I need to not grow older, to spend money on potions to make myself look more childlike, in order to be beautiful. But more of me loves spending the extra time and care on my face. And none of the products I’m using are breaking the budget.
Try THIS 3-pack from ArtNaturals
Both are cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free. Nice!
High Quality SPF
Current favorite (and I seriously LOVE it) is dear, Klairs Everyday Sun Protector. I searched high and low for an SPF I could love, and finally I have found it. This UVA/UVB protection is SPF 50, water based, and vegan friendly. All of dear, Klairs’ products are cruelty-free—a must for me when shopping for skincare or cosmetics—and contain no alcohols, parabens, or artificial coloring. When they say “soft airy essence” it is right on point. The product rubs in easily, leaving no chalky white residue, no greasy after-feel whatsoever (it feels more like a light daily moisturizer), and no scent to be detected. Y’all, I feel like I found the holy grail with this one. The best part is this high-tech Korean skin care wonder product is VERY reasonably priced.
Get it HERE.
My totally refreshing, home-made, Glow-Up Toner Mist.
Needed: Green tea, apple cider vinegar, tea tree & lavender essential oils, spritzer bottle.
It’s honestly really good. I’m going to give you the recipe, but I’m not a baker, so don’t ask me for exact measurements.
I fill my spritzer most of the way with freshly brewed and cooled green tea. Add a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar. (The pH is great for your skin, but the smell is not something you want to carry around all day.) 10-12 drops of Tea Tree and 10-12 drops of Lavender essential oils. This of course depends on the size of your spritzer, how much ACV you need to mask, and personal preference. So basically, just put as many drops as you want. I keep this mix in the refrigerator and spritz myself after washing my face in the morning and in the evening. (Or whenever I shower, or whenever I want a refreshing spritz.) Do not skip the refrigeration. This is the most decadent part of this self-care staple. You’ll get the visible skin benefits, but also a cool, energizing mood boost. And who doesn’t love that?
Try it out, and let me know what you think!
Click here to read about green tea’s benefits for your skin.
3. Read a Book
Not a magazine. Not an article on your phone. Not the news. A book. Slipping out of your worries and into a work of fiction has serious medicinal properties. If you’re not into fiction right now, or want some introspection & inspiration, then opt for one of these “self help” books, or an uplifting biography/autobiography/memoir.
Untamed, Glennon Doyle
Oh, Glennon. Everyone knows about this book. I was a latecomer to the Untamed craze, having never heard of Glennon Doyle, and knowing only of the glitter-melted book jacket and nothing of its contents. Until this July. I devoured this book. Took a break from another book I was reading and finished this in a matter of days. It is likely, that you have already read this one. If not, please just do yourself a favor and get onboard. This is a GOOD bandwagon to join. Be prepared for some major feelings of empowerment.
5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins
I have sent the audio version to at least 5 friends and I will send it to 100 more because I think there is SO much helpful, solid advice. Good, quality, stuff that anyone, no matter what issue they are tackling, can use. With the book you also gain access to 30 days of mentoring, which is just a series of 30 short YouTube videos, each with a different tip for self-care, productivity and basically getting to your best self and best life.
Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
Okay, in truth I haven’t read this yet. But several people whose taste I trust have recommended it. My best friend *very excitedly* gifted me this book on a visit a couple weeks ago. Since then I have seen the cover popping up my insta feed as other friends and acquaintances dig into what is said to be SUCH a good story.
4. Tea for Me!
Coffee is how I wake up and slay, and tea is how I simmer and chill. Having tea in the evenings is one of my favorite nighttime rituals and makes me feel especially cozy when I’m far from home, settling into a hotel. A steamy cup of herbal has self-care written all over it. Sip what you like, but these are my (on-the) go-to teas.
For the health benefits. Cancer fighting, skin glowing, antioxidant packing green tea is good for you. I don’t know exactly how many health benefits green tea fosters, but according to this article, there are at least 10. I don’t love the taste of green tea by itself, but add some fresh, spicy ginger into the mix and I am ALL. IN. I drink decaf tea because my coffee habit is too strong to start adding in caffeinated teas to the mix. My tea habit is strictly for healthy, mellow, self-care.
Yep, just like it sounds. Gut care is self-care and Smooth Move is a tea that helps to “regulate” digestive function. It comes in three flavors: Original, chamomile, and peppermint. It contains Senna, an herbal laxative. Yep, I just published the word “laxative” in my blog. Twice.
Have you ever felt bloated, blocked up, soooo full, just uncomfortable while traveling? The changes in climate, altitude, sleep patterns, time zone, and most importantly—diet can lead to feeling less than reg and just downright crappy. (I’m sorry, but it was required.) Drinking a cup of Smooth Move should help to move things along so that you can feel good and focus on having fun on your trip.
This is not something I use at work and I advise you sternly: Do NOT drink this the night before flying. Also, don’t abuse it. Over and improper use can cause serious problems to your body. But if you just need a little assistance once in the while when you’re on the road, then Smooth Move has got you covered.
Get it HERE.
This pairing is among the greats. Right up there with wine and cheese or PB&J, chamomile and lavender were just…meant to tea. Having a cup of cozy chamomile lavender tea is the perfect way to unwind and start getting my body and brain ready for sleep. I started incorporating tea into my nighttime ritual years ago when I was having trouble falling asleep at night. I didn’t know if the herbal ingredients in the tea would put me to sleep, but figured at the very least I’d develop a kind of Pavlovian response, with the tea as a signal, and heavy lids as the result. I’m sure the efficacy is some combination of both. It worked. I started sleeping better and I’ve tried tons of different relaxing herbal teas over the years. This flavor combo just happens to be what I love right now.
I don’t drink tea every night anymore, and I sleep very, very well. But when I do, it feels less like ritual and more like a treat. A warm, cozy, luxurious sip of self-care. And I am here for that.
Try THIS one from Traditional Medicinals.
Or THIS Lavender Chamomile PLUS probiotics from Bigelow Teas.
You really have to love yourself to get anything done
in this world.
5. Podcasts for Positivity
When you need a break, some quiet time, some you time, sometimes what that means is shutting out social media and the news. (If that had not occurred to you before, then please take this advice next time you are feeling stressed or low. DO NOT SCROLL. Put the phone down.)
I love podcasts of all different sorts, and a lot cover heavier topics I’m into like news, history, social justice and equity. When I need a pick-me-up though? When I’m yearning for some self-care? Heavy won’t do. Give me the light and get me inspired! Here are some of my go-to podcasts for these times. Give one a listen when you’re on the go, feeling stressed and needing to decompress.
The Moth Radio Hour, PRX & Atlantic Public Media
The Moth Radio hour is an awesome way to zen out and zone out. I listen to The Moth while I’m getting ready for bed in hotels. Unpacking my lunchbox, brushing my teeth, skin-caring like Gwyneth. The Moth is a series of stories, told by people. That’s about it. Some are funny. Some are heart wrenching, some invite you to step into and experience a different culture, religion or profession. Some are love stories, some family matters. All are relatable, and I have never finished an episode thinking “That was a waste of time.” The nice thing is that the hour-long podcast features several stories, each is bite-sized. (Or, maybe a few bites.) I don’t know how the brain chemistry of this phenomenon works, but listening to other people tell their true stories produces some kind of relax chemical, I am SURE of it from experience.
Becoming Wise, On Being
Short on time but seeking inspiration? I’ve got you. Becoming Wise, hosted by Krista Tippett, provides short (10 mins or less) interviews with heavy hitters on inspiring topics. Brene Brown, John Lewis, Eli Wiesel, and Seth Godin, for example are a few of the famous names that have been featured on this podcast. Elevate yoself.
The Ted Radio Hour, NPR
I’m sure you have watched some Ted Talks in your day, but have you listened to the podcast? The Ted Radio Hour by NPR is a curated set of Ted Talk snippets and speaker interviews, that center on a particular theme. Episodes include ‘The Source of Creativity,’ Shifting Time’ ‘Peering into Space’ ‘Circular’. If mellow & thought-provoking is what self-care looks like for you, this is it. Scroll through and find a topic that piques your interest.
Her Turn to Talk Podcast, Corey Barnes & Lisa Caperton
Does hearing personal journey stories from incredible women inspire you? Then check out Her Turn to Talk Podcast. Each episode features a different badass woman with different expertise. Topics have ranged from the pelvic floor to claiming outdoor spaces for people of color to cystic fibrosis and finding your tribe. Each interview is personal, allowing you to hear tales of other women overcoming obstacles and making their way in the world. And if that doesn’t lift you up, then I don’t know what will.
Full disclosure: the pod is hosted by a dear friend of mine, and I have been featured in an episode. With so many incredible women, I’m being honest when I say “My” episode is not even in the top 10 of this pod. So, check it out, if you feel so inclined, but also click to a few other stories. Knowing the hosts is not the reason for my throwing this pod out there. It is because this little community-in-the-earbuds got me through some of the rough, stressful, depressing moments of quarantine.
Happily Ever Slasher, Amanda Festa & Tara
‘Cause sometimes self-care doesn’t have to be so serious. With the tag line ‘All is fair in love and gore,’ this dose of pick-me-up comes not in the form of inspirational stories, but rather in good old-fashioned fun. Each episode, hosts Amanda & Tara talk about two films from very different genres that have something in common. Horror and Rom-Coms have a surprising amount in common!
This is another podcast created by a super-talented person I happen to know. But hear me out! It’s funny and well-done. You might start to look at old movies in new ways. Check out the Easy A and It Follows episode or Miss Congeniality & Silence of the Lambs.
And there you have it. These are some of my TOP self-care tips for my daily, on-the-go life as a full-time flight attendant. Each of these things help me to feel like myself when I need to take a few and re-center. And this arsenal is especially useful in combatting the negative physical or mental effects that can sometimes come with life on the road. I’d encourage you to give any of these a try, but to ultimately find what works for your self.
What are your best self-care hacks? Things that make you go “ahhhhhhh…” Rituals or products you just could not do without? I’m always up for suggestions! If you try any of the things in this post, be sure to comment back and let me know how it went.
Happy Thursday everybody, and have a zen self-lovin’ weekend!
👏👏👏👏 bravo!!!! Such a great post! I loved all the suggestions. Especially the yoga recommendations and skin care info. Self care is so important for my sanity. I am so glad you shared this all!
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