You find yourself at the airport waiting for a connecting flight. Or your relative dropped you off at the airport early because he or she got to get to work. You went through security which took forever. You are looking for your gate and you found it.
Suddenly sneaky negative thoughts may appear out of nowhere. What will happen if you don’t catch the next flight on time? What would happen if your carry-on is too big? All these ‘what ifs’ questions. Anxieties may control you at any given moment. To avoid or manage them, here are some tips to help you relax, but still stay aware of your surrounding:
Walk & stretch
Start walking along the gates. It’s great if you have one of those watches that count your steps. Or you can download an app on your smart phone. You may find counting your steps encouraging to some degree. From time to time stop and stretch. By the way, make sure to take with you all your bags and carry-on.
While you are walking, look around you. Watch the faces, different details about the people you are passing by. You will find the faces are changing with each walk that you are taking. It may sound boring, but you can be creative and challenge your brain a little. Make up stories about the people you watch during your walk. If you happen to see couples, guess how long they are together. If you see kids, guess how old they are. That way you are shifting your attention outside and less paying attention or feeding your anxieties.
Hydrate yourself and eat
It’s easy to forget to drink and eat while you are under the stress of catching a plane, or even the dreadful thoughts of possible delays, or things going wrong during your stay at the airport. While you are walking, look around the different stores. See what they have to offer. You might simply need a bottle of water and a small snack. It might be time for a meal. Some airports have food malls and some have just a few options. Choose what is most conducive for you. If you are looking for comfort food, go for a hearty sandwich and lemonade. If you are looking for something fresh and healthy go for a salad and water. Don’t forget to get a snack and something to drink for the flight itself if you want to avoid the airplane food.
Go into the different stores. Look for a book or a magazine you like. Gift yourself with a souvenir, or buy something for a sibling or a friend. Look for deals. Even at the airports there are deals. You can buy 2-3 magnets and the next one for free or 2 children’s books for the price of one.
Connect with people
Call up your siblings and friends or text them. Just make sure it is time appropriate. You don’t want to wake them up and hear their grumpy voice on the other end. You could make new friends at the airport while waiting for your flight. It’s easy as 1 2 3. Say you are sitting and waiting for the plane. Someone is sitting beside you. Introduce yourself and ask his or her name. You already have something in common. Both of you are waiting for the plane to arrive. Also, the safest subject is the weather. If you have children and you happen to sit by a family you could chat with the parents and tell them how much you miss your kids. Connect on social media. Upload a selfie at the airport. Or even better/funnier go to Snapchat and take a funny selfie and post it.
Read or watch a movie
Engage in reading something interesting. Or from your device, watch a movie. You could listen to podcast too.
Whether it’s a business or pleasure trip, you want to relax a bit. Remember to enjoy yourself. Take some of the tools that you like from the above list and leave what doesn’t work for you. In a place as the airport, there are many temptations almost at any corner. If you are in recovery, the major airports such as Atlanta or Phoenix will have 12 Step meetings. Finally, have a safe flight.
If you need help with addiction and recovery, visit Recovery Guidance to find these recovery professionals near you.