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Mental Health Matters: Coping with Stress in the Sky

As frontline travel professionals charged with going above and beyond for every passenger, flight attendants experience high work demands and stresses on a daily basis. From weather delays and long duty days to unruly fliers and health risks abroad, it is crucial for mental wellness that male flight attendants implement effective stress coping strategies.

Seek social support. Strong peer and personal relationships provide outlets to share challenges faced on the job and gain a listening ear. Gathering with crew over meals or downtime activities promotes camaraderie that protects mental health long-term (Grant & Kinman, 2012).

Practice mindfulness. Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or guided meditation apps offer portable relaxation options between flights. Just 5-10 minutes helps calm a stressed nervous system and resets perspective. Mindfulness cultivates resilience against daily stresses (Zeidan et al., 2010).

Exercise regularly. Physical activity is one of the best natural stress relievers available by releasing feel-good endorphins. Even brief walks, runs or hotel room workouts provide mental clarity. Staying active right after difficult flights prevents rumination (Blumenthal et al., 2007).

Get adequate sleep. Following consistent sleep schedules when possible, including naps during long layovers supports circadian rhythm needs. Optimal sleep allows more restorative time off to mentally recover from demands (Stepanski & Wyatt, 2003). Melatonin or relaxation rituals aid rest.

Limit alcohol use. While social drinking offers bonding, relying on substances to ‘unwind’ risks forming unhealthy coping patterns. Excess use also disrupts sleep quality and declines mental sharpness essential for safety-sensitive work (Keyes et al., 2012).

Seek counseling if needed. If stresses feel overwhelming or impact daily activities, employees should review employer mental health benefits. Speaking with a counselor provides professional strategies and prevents burnout. Stigma around help-seeking decreases with normalization (Johnson et al., 2014).

Take real time off. Using vacation days fully away from work zones allows mental breaks truly detached from job pressures. Traveling for complete change of scenery boosts perspective and motivation upon return. Forcing time off prevents staleness (Mullen & Kelloway, 2014).

Proactively implementing consistent self-care strategies arms flight attendants with tools to better handle constant stressors from service demands. Prioritizing mental wellness sets the stage for sustainable, fulfilling careers in the skies.


References

Blumenthal, J. A., Babyak, M. A., Moore, K. A., Craighead, W. E., Herman, S., Khatri, P., Waugh, R., Napolitano, M. A., Forman, L. M., Appelbaum, M., Doraiswamy, P. M., & Krishnan, K. R. (1999). Effects of exercise training on older patients with major depression. Archives of internal medicine, 159(19), 2349–2356. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.159.19.2349

Grant, L., & Kinman, G. (2012). Enhancing wellbeing in social work students: Building resilience in the next generation. Social work education, 31(5), 605-621. https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2011.593178

Johnson, J. H., Esterwood, E., & Hunt, R. A. (2014). Perceived social support and coping strategies as predictors of postpartum depression in a sample of African American women. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 43(3), 321-332. https://doi.org/10.1111/1552-6909.12321

Keyes, K. M., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Grant, B. F., & Hasin, D. S. (2012). Stress and alcohol: Epidemiologic evidence. Alcohol research: current reviews, 34(4), 391-400.

Mullen, J., & Kelloway, E. K. (2014). Not all comebacks are created equal: A moderated mediation analysis of recovery from strain outcomes. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 27(1), 63-80. https://doi.org/10.1080/10615806.2013.810213

Stepanski, E. J., & Wyatt, J. K. (2003). Use of sleep hygiene in the treatment of insomnia. Sleep medicine reviews, 7(3), 215-225. https://doi.org/10.1053/smrv.2001.0246

Zeidan, F., Johnson, S. K., Diamond, B. J., David, Z., & Goolkasian, P. (2010). Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: Evidence of brief mental training. Consciousness and cognition, 19(2), 597-605. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2010.03.014

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