My road warrior husband has had to battle botched reservations, bad weather and epic flight cancellations of late. He has spent 4-5 days of every week out of town over the last 20 years and knows how to work with the multitude of issues facing business travelers. He's as exhausted from the stress of traveling in these troubled times as he is from his schedule. Although not exactly a "Peaceful Warrior," how does he manage?
Tonight, he called me from Cincinnati, where his flight to Denver was delayed and he thinks he'll be stuck overnight. He'll be just as angry and frustrated as everyone else; but, he'll be pleasant to the ticketing agent and deflect as much as possible with his quick wit and humor. After all, there's not a whole lot he can do, since over 250,000 other passengers are also stranded by over 1000 grounded flights.
His line to sanity is a text message from his iPhone to mine; it makes him feel connected home, so I immediately text back a reply. He'll probably try to find a hotspot in the airport terminal so that he can check his email or do some work, and will likely get a beer and watch whatever is on TV in the bar. Staying busy is how he deals with stress.
This behavior is very difficult for my otherwise high strung hubby. Whether it's age or maturity that has introduced a measure of calm, who knows. But, I have witnessed his amazing ability to keep the peace, while I've climbed the proverbial wall across the ceiling and out the window. Would that others could follow his example.
You have a choice: deal with stress before you really begin to feel it, or run yourself, quite literally, ragged. Since thwarted travel seems to occur more frequently these days, plan for it. Think that sounds silly? Think again. A few things you can do to ease the travel trauma, that my hubby and I have learned over the years:
Always pack an emergency kit in your carryon with an extra set of clothes, in case you and your checked bag are separated.
Learn how the flight scheduling system works and make the ground agents your new friends. A good attitude rewards you with as accommodating service as possible.
Carry some soothing music, whether on your MP3 player, laptop or other device.
Get out a crossword or sudoku puzzle.
Have a glass of wine or cup of tea, if available.
Read a humorous book.
Drop the woulda-coulda-shoulda-have mind game, it's not worth the fretting about things you can't control.
Sit up straight; slouching only emphasizes how frustrated you feel.
Take a power nap (just make sure your belongings are secure).
When worse comes to worse, laugh to yourself. You will feel ridiculous laughing at nothing in particular, but it will put a smile on someone's face and that's contagious. Just pretend you saw something funny happening.
Are there things you do to handle travel trauma?