5 ways I take care of my mental health when I fly

2:05:00 AM

...the return leg
Greetings from New York Beautiful people,

After popping home for literally one week after my Nigerian trip, I am in New York for a speaking gig at one of the build up, side gigs for the UN General Assembly meeting. I will be using the first three days here to have meetings on my mental health advocacy as I discover New York and I hang out with Lian from CitiesRise (you might remember him from my things to do in Nairobi with a tourist post) ...the reminder of my time in New York will see me do a few rehearsals and other matters related to my speaking gig which will be happening on Monday 18th September.

Since my work involves travel which can be draining and triggering on so many levels, I would like to share some of the ways I take care of my mental health when I fly.

You might like to go through some tips from my trip to South Africa on how to take care of yourself in a foreign country

1. Pre flight
This is my before airport mental prep... I need one of those because airports make me anxious and anxiety is mostly likely to trigger a seizure. Even though Blackberry Travel automatically keeps my itinerary in check, I always check in online. This isn't actually check in for me but a way to make sure the airlines has my name and trip in their system. To reduce the risk even more, I make sure I do some yoga or have a nap before I take a flight. I also pack way in advance and make sure I have everything I need in my carry on...which I double triple quadruple check. If I am not being dropped, I get to airport way way early but loooove it when either my cousins or Fred drops me (which he did for this trip) because it is all fun and laughter and sing alongs in the car.

2. Centring self
...when I get to the airport, my goal to be in a good head space, so I either have my music on which is usually my worship playlist and/or snack from duty free - those mini chocolates are usually my default snack...think that's the only time I do chocolate. On the plane, before, during and towards the end; mindfulness, meditation, gratitude...the whole shebang are my go to tools for self centring. Every trip is a miracle to me given that I was once homebound due to my epilepsy diagnosis. I also do a lot of prayer, remind myself to be in the moment and not overplan or overthink, instead I appreciate the fact that I am where I ought to be and that I have what I need for where I am at...I also send lots of love and light to my audience, hosts and everyone I meet during my trip.

3. Hydrate and get physical
My body is king during my trips and I make sure I listen to it as well as keep it active through out the flight...I walk around the plane and do different stretches...the kitchen is usually my work out area :) Speaking of kitchen, food and water really work for me. Beside chocolate, another thing I think I only have when I fly is tomato juice which I spice up with the 'two grains of pepper - who else thinks that pepper should be a little more?

Forgot to take a pic of all my meals but at least i got the last snack of the flight...they had a really amazing veggie thing, dont know what it was but it was amazing and i had it with iced tomato juice

I take looooooads of water, like loads and looooooads of water. I also make sure I pre order my vegetarian meals because flying on an empty stomach isn't good for me (and most planes don't just carry vegetarian meals)...lack of food is one of my epilepsy triggers.I don't do coffee (and alcohol) when flying (or in my everyday life)

4. Keep my mind busy
I fill my carry on bag (which is one of the bags in my store) with books to keep me busy, and since I know concentration levels lack when I fly, I mix them up, from my Journal to capture those aha moments, to a book I will pretend read or my coloring book or sudoku puzzle book.

5. Relax through sleep or entertainment
Then there are times I just don't want my mind to be busy and I simply flip through the planes entertainment. I have watched some pretty amazing movies while flying. ...on this New York I loved watching a documentary on Mario Sharapova as well as a movie on Maddoff...then there is sleeeeeep which isn't a bed of roses in the economy buuuut I put in some good sleep when I get to my hotel room.

In other news but related to things worth watching, over the weekend I was in Nakuru and watched Hacksaw Ridge which is based on a true life story of Desmond Doss who signed up for the second world war but didn't want to carry a gun due to his beliefs, they wanted to get him off but he ended up saving loads of soldiers during the war( that's me trying not to give it away) My best line by him was 'one more Lord, one more' which he prayed when he'd save a soldier...that's my new travelling and mental health line...one more trip Lord, one more crowd...one more trip Lord, one more crowd.

Update from my New York trip
1. Making veggie hotdogs and salad 
2. Speaking at The Moth UN General Assembly showcase - A Night of vulnerability, resilience and hard work
3. Chronicles from New York Part 1 - Subway rides and vegetarian food spots
4. Chronicles from New York Part 2 - encounters with NYPD, EMS and therapies to calm it all down

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