Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pre-flight Freak Out

I don't like to travel. Let me clarify. I love to be in different places, especially warm, beachy Mexican places, but I hate the process of packing, preparing and actually travelling to those places. We are leaving for Disney World tomorrow, and I started my anxious lead up to travel last night. I started by making lists in my head of the things we need to pack, then I put those lists on paper, then realized I don't have everything I need and made a list of things to go buy, and so on. I worked myself up pretty well, and had trouble falling asleep.

It took me about 30 minutes of tossing and turning, mind racing and feeling short of breath before it occurred to me to try some breathing exercises we learned in yoga teacher training. Genius! I started by observing my breath. I was in full breath-grabbing mode at that point, which is unusual for me. This means I was gasping the air up high in my chest before I had fully exhaled the previous breath. That's a fast road to hyperventilation, or a panic attack. So I started trying to breathe deeper to fill my abdomen first, then inhaling my entire lung capacity (3 part breathing). To calm down, I started lengthening my exhalations to twice the length of my inhalations. Counting the length of the breaths also gave my mind something to do so I could shut down the list-making. It took a while to fully calm down, but I finally got to sleep.

I will likely have to do some similar exercises on the plane. I don't fear flying, but I find it very uncomfortable. My husband travels reasonably often for work, and the best I can tell, he gets sick every time he's on a plane. I stocked up on some AirBourne and am hoping for the best. Disney World isn't going to see me basking in the sun, reading book after book just because I can, and I'm pretty sure Mickey isn't going to mix me a margarita, but I'm looking forward to some family fun.

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