We know that pilot’s face many challenges with their busy schedules. Dealing with jet lag, irregular hours and shifting routines are just some of the factors that can increase your levels of stress and tiredness. It’s really important that you focus on your physical and mental wellbeing so that you are well equipped to meet these challenges. Here are some tips to help you be kinder to yourself every day.
Look after your body
Being a pilot can be very demanding on your body, with the high levels of concentration required and coping with the changing time zones. It’s important to take the time to listen to your body and give it what it needs.
It can be difficult to get into a regular exercise routine that fits in with your schedule. Some people find that taking up yoga or learning some exercises with resistance bands really help. These are activities that you can practice for 15 minutes a day and can be done wherever you are, whether at home, in a gym or even in a hotel room.
Maintaining a healthy diet as a pilot isn’t easy. Forward planning and making the right choices about which foods you eat can make a huge difference to how you feel. If you eat well, you’ll find that your mood and energy levels improve. This is really important for long distance flying and maintaining concentration.
We also have a guide to help you deal with jet lag.
Look after your mind
It can be difficult to maintain your mental wellbeing if you’re often tired and/or stressed. Relaxation techniques or meditation might help you deal with this and ensure that you’re ready to face whatever challenges the working day holds.
There are lots of meditation apps available that can guide you through the process if you’re new to meditation and it only takes a few minutes each day. This can easily be done just before bed or when you wake up in the mornings. This can also add a bit of regular routine to your day.
If you don’t fancy giving meditation a go but still want to make more of an effort to look after your mental wellbeing, why not try writing down your thoughts to organise them better and better understand what you’re feeling and why.
Take a moment to look at your achievements
With a busy schedule, it can sometimes be difficult to get some perspective on what you’ve achieved. Whether these are professional or personal achievements, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on how far you’ve come. You’ll then be able to face the future and your goals with more positivity.
Prioritise your relationships
It can be difficult to work away from home for long periods of time and this can take a toll on your relationships. In fact, the divorce rate amongst some pilot groups is as high as 75%.
Find a little time each day to focus on these relationships. When you’re away, perhaps make a regular time to call home. When you are home, make sure you make the most of that time with your friends and family. The small things can make a big difference.
Studies have shown that giving gifts is better than receiving them in terms of our own happiness. When you give something to someone, areas in your brain that are associated with social connection, trust and pleasure are activated. Scientists believe that endorphins are also released when you display altruistic behaviour.
So if you feel that you’re in need a bit of a boost, why not try giving someone an unexpected gift, just ‘because’. This can also help strengthen your relationships, as mentioned in the point above. Or maybe donate to your favourite charity.
No matter how busy you are, you should still be able to find a little time in your day to do something you enjoy. It could be something as simple as watching an episode of your favourite TV show, or calling a friend, or spending some time with your kids. You might just want to kick back with a book and a glass of wine for a bit of me time.
A great way to de-stress and give yourself a boost of energy, is to find something that makes you laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine. It has been proven to boost your immune system and even help you deal with stress. It’s a great way to inject a bit more positivity into your mindset.
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