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The Importance of Self-Care for Male Flight Attendants

The demanding job of being a flight attendant can take both a physical and psychological toll over time if good self-care practices are not prioritized. Juggling constantly changing schedules, long flights, jet lag, and providing stellar customer service with a smile leaves little time left for one's personal well-being. However, implementing simple self-care strategies is crucial for male flight attendants looking to avoid burnout and maximize longevity in the career (Spickard et al., 2002).

Get quality sleep. Prioritizing sleep, especially during days off or layovers, allows the body and mind essential recovery from work stresses (Dinges et al., 1997). However, shifting schedules make consistent sleep challenging. Flight attendants should create a dark, quiet sleeping environment and avoid screens before bed to promote healthy slumber (Stepanski & Wyatt, 2003). Melatonin supplements may also help adjust internal clocks.

Make time for exercise. Staying active not only promotes physical health but releasesfeel-good endorphins that boost mental health as well (Sharma et al., 2006). Even 15-20 minutes of bodyweight exercises or a short walk each day during layovers can make a difference. Flying frequently also means sitting for long hours; getting the blood circulating offers balance. Exercise need not be intense but should occur regularly.

Practice relaxation techniques. High stress levels lead to burnout if never addressed (Shanafelt et al., 2012). Incorporate deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or yoga between flights to unwind and relax the nervous system. Scheduling down time for relaxing activities provides much-needed mental breaks. Apps that guide mindfulness practices make them portable for any location.

Eat nutritiously. Meals on the road and constant snacking temptation mean diet quality easily suffers. However, fueling the body with nutrient-dense whole foods provides sustained energy and protects physical/mental functioning (Jacka et al., 2017). Prepare healthy smoothies, salads, or snacks ahead of time instead of defaulting to airport fare. Nutrition is a critical self-care pillar.

Limit alcohol and drug use. The fast-paced work and constant socializing opportunities may encourage substance use for stress relief or social bonding (Rojewski et al., 2019). While occasional drinking may be acceptable, relying on substances for coping mechanisms threatens health, career, and relationships long-term. Flight attendants should critically review usage and set limits.

Pursue hobbies and interests. Non-work activities provide outlets for creativity, relationships and fulfillment that work alone cannot. With constantly changing schedules, finding hobbies that can be enjoyed anywhere helps maintain well-roundedness and mental stimulation during downtime (Biss & Haslam, 2012). Even simple hobbies like reading, journaling, learning an instrument, or photography work wherever an attendant may find themselves.

By making mindful self-care a daily priority amidst work demands, male flight attendants can sustain peak performance, well-being and job longevity for many fulfilling years of travel ahead. Even small acts of self-nurturing go a long way in this dynamic career path.

References

Biss, R. K., & Haslam, S. A. (2012). Making yourself heard: The development of confidence and ability to express social identity during transitions into higher education. Psychological Studies, 58(2), 127-137. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12646-012-0179-1

Dinges, D. F., Pack, F., Williams, K., Gillen, K. A., Powell, J. W., Ott, G. E., Aptowicz, C., & Pack, A. I. (1997). Cumulative sleepiness, mood disturbance, and psychomotor vigilance performance decrements during aweek of sleep restricted to 4-5 hours per night. Sleep: Journal of Sleep Research & Sleep Medicine, 20(4), 267–277. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/20.4.267

Jacka, F. N., O'Neil, A., Opie, R., Itsiopoulos, C., Cotton, S., Mohebbi, M., Castle, D., Dash, S., Mihalopoulos, C., Chatterton, M. L., Brazionis, L., Dean, O. M., Hodge, A. M., & Berk, M. (2017). A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the 'SMILES' trial). BMC Medicine, 15(1), 23. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-017-0791-y

Rojewski, J. W., Hong, S.-M., & Cho, S.-B. (2019). Longitudinal associations between mindful eating and alcohol use: A two-year study in college students. Journal of American College Health: J of ACH, 68(5), 511–517. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2019.1577813

Shanafelt, T. D., Hasan, O., Dyrbye, L. N., Sinsky, C., Satele, D., Sloan, J., & West, C. P. (2015). Changes in burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance in physicians and the general US working population between 2011 and 2014. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 90(12), 1600–1613. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.08.023

Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for mental health. Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 8(2), 106. https://doi.org/10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a

Spickard Jr, A., Gabbe, S. G., & Christensen, J. F. (2002). Mid-career burnout in generalist and specialist physicians. JAMA, 288(12), 1447-1450. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.288.12.1447

Stepanski, E., & Wyatt, J. (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

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