book surrounded by clouds with the writing on the cover cabin crew health bible

Flight Attendants Health Bible: the 12 commandments to be your healthiest self

Our job is more than just a profession; it’s a lifestyle filled with unique challenges and incredible adventures. From navigating different time zones to dealing with infinite passenger requests, we are the unsung heroes of aviation! However, as fellow crew members, we know that behind the scenes, your health can face turbulence due to the demands of the job. That’s why we’ve assembled the “Flight Attendants Health Bible”: The 12 commandments to be your healthiest self, designed by experienced cabin crew and former flight attendants for your well-being.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just beginning your career, this guide is your lifeline to maintaining your health, energy, and spirit while soaring at altitude. So, fasten your safety belt, and let’s embark together on a journey toward a healthier and happier cabin crew lifestyle.

Here, we’ve assembled a set of essential guidelines, crafted by seasoned cabin crew and former flight attendants, tailored specifically to help you maintain your health while on duty:

1. Hydration Is Key

Dehydration is a common challenge due to dry cabin air. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the flight by drinking plenty of water. Be mindful of limiting caffeine and alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration. As recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is advisable to consume approximately 250 ml of water for every hour you spend on a flight, or increase your intake if you experience thirst.

When you’re not flying, it’s equally important to maintain proper hydration. On average, an adult should aim to drink about 8 cups of water a day, which is roughly equivalent to 2 liters (or half a gallon). This baseline intake helps support your overall health and well-being.

We have recently published a blog post containing valuable tips on how to stay properly hydrated during your flight. To gain more insights into how we manage hydration on board and discover helpful strategies, please be sure to read the post.

2. Choose Nutritious Meals

Prioritize balanced, healthy meals over processed or high-sugar options. Consider packing healthy snacks like nuts (unsalted), fruits, or protein bars to keep your energy levels up during long flights. In the post ‘Better Cabin Crew Meals: A Flight Attendant’s Comprehensive Guide to In-Flight Nutrition‘, we make you take control of your in-flight nutrition, and suggest delicious meals and receipts that boost your energy and make you feel great!

3. Incorporate Exercise

Find opportunities to stay active. Stretch during your flight and layovers, utilize hotel gyms, or practice yoga in your hotel room to stay flexible. Regular exercise can counteract the long hours and strain that the job puts on your back and legs. We created workout routines that will help you be at your physical best to face cabin craziness, and still have energy to enjoy your layover in Rome and climb the 135 steps in Piazza di Spagna!

4. Prioritize Quality Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for overall health. Invest in quality sleep aids such as a comfortable sleep mask, earplugs, or noise-cancellation headphones to improve your sleep quality during your flight and layovers and at the base. When you get back home, one thing that helped the majority of us get better quality sleep is blackout curtains, expensive earplugs, and a great relationship with your flatmates who check your schedule so they know when not to watch a horror movie in their room with the speaker at maximum volume.

Other useful gadgets that could help immensely with your sleep are:

Smartwatches: consider investing in a smartwatch. Smartwatches can improve your sleep quality by providing valuable sleep-tracking data. For example, with a smartwatch, you can monitor your heart rate during your sleep. In this way, they can wake you up at the optimal time within your chosen wake-up window, often when you’re in a lighter sleep stage. This can help you wake up feeling more refreshed and less groggy. They can detect if you are experiencing elevated heart rate during sleep, a sign that might indicate stress or sleep disturbances. They can even detect signs of sleep apnea! Almost every one of us has a smartwatch right now, except Francesco, an Italian cabin crew old-style, who likes to show off his collection of watches whenever he can. Mamma mia!!! ????

Sunrise alarm clocks: A sunrise alarm clock can improve your sleep by gently waking you up with a simulated sunrise. It helps regulate your body’s internal clock, improves mood, reduces stress, and enhances sleep quality. This gradual wake-up can also boost energy levels and is especially helpful for managing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I got one a few years ago and now I take it with me wherever I go. So much better to wake up this way instead of being blasted by the sound of your alarm!

5. Manage Stress

Flight attendants often face high-stress situations, and stress has huge effects on your health. Develop stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness to remain calm and focused.

One of the new best practices that you can adopt for your well-being is incorporating a practice known as Yoga Nidra into your routine. Yoga Nidra, often referred to as ‘yogic sleep,’ is a deeply relaxing and rejuvenating form of guided meditation. During a Yoga Nidra session, you are guided into a state of conscious relaxation, where you remain aware while systematically relaxing different parts of your body and focusing on your breath. This practice not only reduces stress and anxiety but also enhances your overall mental and emotional well-being.

To experience its beneficial effects, even a session as short as 20-30 minutes can be highly effective. This makes it perfect to incorporate into your daily routine, whether in your crew rest compartment during long flights, in the off-duty time between your sectors, or in your hotel room before going out for your layover with the crew. The impact on your energy levels and overall well-being will be truly incredible.

We recognize the immense potential of Yoga Nidra in promoting the health and vitality of cabin crew members like yourself. That’s why we are excited to announce that we will soon be publishing a dedicated blog post entirely devoted to this practice.

6. Maintain Hand Hygiene

Frequent handwashing is crucial to prevent the spread of germs, especially in a crowded passenger environment. Keep hand sanitizer with you at all times. You never know when you will have the time to wash your hands on a Cairo flight.

7. Protect Your Skin

The high altitude and cabin air can be harsh on your skin. Use moisturizer and lip balm to combat dryness. Don’t forget sunscreen during layovers in sunny destinations.

8. Stay Updated on Vaccinations

Keep up with recommended vaccinations and health screenings. Flight attendants are exposed to various environments, making vaccinations crucial for illness prevention.

9. Beat Jet Lag

Try to adjust your sleep schedule to match the time zone of your destination. Utilize natural light exposure to help reset your internal body clock.

10. Stay Physically Active

Make the most of layovers by exploring and staying active. Walking tours, hiking, and experiencing local culture can be excellent ways to maintain your fitness.

11. Cultivate a Support Network

The emotional demands of the job can be overwhelming at times. Maintain a strong support network of friends and family who understand your unique challenges. Make a conscious effort to make friends and cultivate these relationships during the time at your base. Chat with a friend that you trust and who listens to you can be invaluable in those blue days. And remember that you can always start to chat with us on our social media!

12. Recognize Your Limits

Understand when you need a break. Flight schedules can be unpredictable, but it’s vital to communicate with your superiors when you’re fatigued or need time off.

Remember, your well-being is paramount. By prioritizing self-care and embracing these healthy habits, you can thrive in this dynamic profession while safeguarding your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Disclaimer

The health and wellness tips provided in this article have been curated by a team of experienced cabin crew members and former flight attendants. While these individuals have extensive experience in the aviation industry, it’s essential to remember that everyone’s health needs are unique. If you have any underlying medical conditions or concerns, please seek medical attention and consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your health and wellness routine. Your health and well-being should always be a top priority, and professional guidance is crucial when needed.

Much love,

Flight Attendants Nation Team

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