I’m heading to New York tomorrow for a mix of both work and pleasure. It’s near the end of New York Fashion Week, which I’ve never experienced first-hand, so it’s an exciting time to go. I have a jam-packed schedule full of appointments and events, plus plans to see some much-loved (and much-missed!) friends.

As much as I am excited, I’m also a little nervous. One, because how do you even begin packing outfits when Fashion Week is taking place? And two, because I get really bad travel anxiety. From the time I book my ticket, to packing, to the airport chaos, the rushing to the gate, the crowds, and the flight itself, I am kind of a mess. It’s a pretty recent thing—I noticed it in my early thirties—and I don’t know how to overcome it. I’ve been trying a few natural methods like deep breathing and Kava Kava root (a supplement, which helps with minimal anxiety) and I’ve also heard that applying pressure to your wrists can be an instant relief for stress. I am not a fan of Xanax or other drugs because they make me feel awful. Of course, there’s always hitting up the airport bar pre-flight, which does help, and then a nice Bloody Mary (or two), while onboard, but by the time I land I’m either sauced or super tired. Do any of you struggle with anxiety and/or have any tips on how do you deal with it?


  • Adrienne

    The last time I had to fly, I met my brother in Atlanta before we headed to D.C. to visit our younger brother. We had a beer at the bar and then he got an upgrade to first class. Unlike Jerry Seinfeld, he let me take the first class seat! It was great, then I had a gin and tonic on the flight. Oh and I also had some dark chocolate covered espresso beans. I don’t know if that helped but I know sometimes dark chocolate does have a sedative-like effect on me. Have a great trip!

    • Rachel

      And not to be a total downer, but for me dark chocolate and espresso would be a recipe for a full on panic attack on a plane! Caffeine is a trigger for me, so also over time identifying your triggers really helps, James!

  • Leigh Ann

    I was hanging in St. Thomas with a flight attendant once talking about anxiety with flying. She told me to think of air pockets in the sky or turbulence as a wave you hit when riding in a boat. Being the big water/boating gal I am, this hit home. (We live on the water in the summer.) Travel is a blessing so keep your head up and realize how fortunate you are to see the world. Some people never leave their backyard.

  • Brittani

    I also struggle with travel anxiety. I was recently the maid of honor for a friend who lived in NYC (I live in Chicago) so it was a quick flight but still terrifying to me. I had to fly to NY 3 times (which was actually 6 flights to a super anxiety filled gal like myself) and I ran off the first flight which was incredibly embarrassing. Something that has helped me tremendously is always hand picking a playlist that is as long as the flight itself. That way I can see the progress through my playlist (sounds super weird but has actually helped so much). I also pack those tiny chewable pepto tabs for when I start to feel queezy and I always buy two big ice cold water bottles right before I board. This was quite helpful for my flight out of Laguardia because we were stalled on the runway for an hour with no AC. Best of luck! You’ll be just fine :)

  • Brooke Elias

    I’m a flight attendant for Delta and I’m based in NYC. Before I took the job; however, I used to be terrified of flying and get anxiety when dealing with the airport/traffic/security. Ha! I found what helps ease me is to give myself plenty of time to get to the airport and through security. I don’t know what airline you’re flying, but Delta boards the plane 30 minutes prior to departure. I always advise my passengers to arrive at the airport two hours prior to departure, giving you enough time to go through security and get to the gate. Also, if you download the airline’s app, you can check what gate you’re flying out of, if the flight is on time, etc. Make sure you keep necessities (medicine, keys, etc) with you in your purse. Sometimes carry-on’s have to be checked at the gate due to the bins filling up early. Next advice, get yourself a treat. Grab a drink, coffee, snack, and a good book. Just treat yourself and relax!
    Enjoy New York!

  • jill c

    oh i am right with you…i haven’t flown in several years due to having kids etc….just no time. But i am to fly out in a few weeks for work from the east coast to SF and I’m getting really anxious! I just made an appointment with my dr. thinking maybe she could give me xanax (which i’ve never taken…i’m not one to take meds unless absolutely necessary) b/c i’m not sure what else would be genuinely helpful. I didn’t have this anxiety in my 20′s but in my mid-30′s it started to creep up….and my mom was a flight attendant who we flew with all of the time so i have no idea why i’m so nervous now! i’m going to try your Kava Kava root and wear my mala beads necklace and hope that adds some calm…oh i’ll be bringing a book…maybe getting submerged in something really good will help with the nerves. best of luck to you!

  • Hannah

    I struggle with this every time I travel, you’re not alone! Some things that have helped me in the past: 1) a quick, yet effective anxiety reducing yoga flow before I leave for the airport. 2) writing down at least five things about traveling that I am grateful for (and reading this during the flight). 3) lavender essential oil dabbed on the wrist. 4) download some guided meditations on your phone, put on a sleep mask, and relax!

    So envious you get to enjoy fashion week in new york, what a dream. safe travels!

  • Eva

    Eat whatever you want. Buy a magazine you only read when you’re at the airport. Also keep in mind that everyone else there is a nervous wreck, too.

  • Becky Barry

    Rescue Remedy gum or pearls always help me! I have the same feelings about traveling. good luck and have fun! <3

  • Nicki

    Have you ever heard of the Natural Calm supplement? It’s a magnesium tea that helps balance your levels of calcium and magnesium to reduce stress. Take a look at their site to better understand the role of magnesium and how it can help. Personally it helps me sleep more soundly when I have anxiety.

    I also find the meditation tactic of exercising gratitude a great way to pull myself into the present. Often anxiety is a result of worrying about the future, so interrupting those thoughts with a quick list of what I am grateful for at this very minute helps me regain my footing.

    And lastly, anxiety feels intense because of your rapidly increasing heart rate. The following breathing exercise can help reduce your heart rate instantly to lessen the intensity of the anxiety. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold that breath for a count of 7, and then release that breath slowly for a count of 8. Repeat until you feel relaxed.

  • si

    I travel a lot for work and have a pretty robust “kit” that I bring with me for calmness and overall health. Vitamins, moringa powder to put into yogurt I pick up at the airport (kuli kuli), but most importantly – my insulated kleen kanteen and my own tea bags. I like the comfort of drinking something that is usually reserved for quiet night in on a packed long flight/layovers.

  • Valerie

    This has been a recent thing for me too, and I’m not sure what triggered it. To stay calm I always make sure to get to the airport super sleepy (purposely sleeping little to none the night before) and then havie a drink or two before my flight. Not super healthy I know, but I promise you won’t feel stressed on the flight!

  • Samantha Sophia

    In a strange way, it is a little reliving to hear that someone, other than myself, has minor anxiety. This is a daily issue for me- and it occurs at the most ridiculous moments too. I tried xanax, and I agree- those things are horrible; zomie-like. I began practicing yoga when I was about 22 and it has helped a lot. Traveling seems to heighten it though. When I was 21 I booked my first alone trip to California to go to COACHELLA, I was supposed to meet my friends who were heading to California a week before I was over the moon excited yet, when I got to the airport, I could not do it. I could not walk through check in, or customs, or baggage check. I could not do it. I missed the flight and spent the rest of that weekend roaming around in Austin with my spending money. I really missed out on what could have been an important-ish experience for my early twenties (first out of state trip alone). Anywho, I learned this breathing technique with yoga that helps when I have anxiety throughout my day. What you do is you alternate your nostril air intake with each inhale and exhale. So for example, you would cover your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril, at the very end of your inhale cover your left nostril with your right ring finger and exhale out of your right nostril. You can repeat as many times as you need to. Just focus on deep inhales. I usually do it 3 or 4 times depending. Another breathing technique that helps is: you inhale counting to 4 and exhale counting to 6 – this will slow your heart rate. It could just be me, but the zest of a fresh peeled orange helps me out too. Don’t over think your plane ride, once you get to NYC you’ll be so happy you made it. <3 love your blog.

    p.s. I plan to look into that kava kava root.


  • Jenna

    Try some essential oils on your temples and behind your neck – lavender & ylang ylang are both great for stress (I even put some on my travel pillow)….

    I am not the best flyer either. I also take dramamine if I want to sleep and drink plenty of water to avoid any stomach issues.

  • D.

    Lavender bags.

  • Ashlee

    You are going to have a blast can’t wait to see your photos from NYFW, safe travels and have fun lady!

  • Hannah

    Dramamine is my life SAVER! It does make me drowsy, but then I sleep the whole flight and just grab a coffee once I land and I’m good to go. Safe travels!

  • Melissa

    Puzzles are very soothing! Pick up a sudoku book or crossword book and focus! Or purchase a few of the more tangible brain buster puzzles like this!

    Remember water with carbonation helps nervous stomachs! Also, nothing wrong with being a little sauced!

  • Jamie Barker

    I cannot even imagine trying to pack/dress for fashion week. I have anxiety just thinking about it. I think you are totally on the right track. Have a beer at the bar, meet a stranger, tell some stories and get super jazzed about all of your friends that you will see. One way that I limit the stress is to always wear slip ons and limit the clothing/accessories that I have to take off for security. This seems like such an obvious step but I am always so relieved when I breeze through this portion of traveling. Have the best time and I cannot wait to see the pictures from your trip!

  • Heather

    I have pretty ridiculous travel anxiety. Over the years I gathered an arsenal of goodies that get me through most situations. I find what works best for me other than Xanax are Seabands (wrist pressure point bands), relaxation apps on my phone, a good audio book, EarPlanes ear plugs for pressure issues, chewing gum and crunchy snacks. My biggest issue is flying alone. When I am with someone I tend to focus on them and not the lead ball that is sitting in my throat. Pick a window seat if you can. Have a great trip! I’m heading to SF next week, so I am right there with you. You can do it!

  • Jackie

    My sister taught me to count one-one-thousand up to some now forgotten number that correlated with the end of take-off, which I do until the seatbelt sign goes off (psychologically helpful and keeps me preoccupied during my least fav part). My therapist taught me a breathing exercise that you do once you’re seated for about 5-10 minutes (physically helpful as it slows your heart rate right down and tricks your mind into feeling calmer or something). I do a combination of these (breathing exercise before takeoff and then counting until the plane reaches cruising altitude) by which point the flight attendants are up and about and I can order a bracing glass of wine. Enjoy New York, and happy fashion week!

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