A recent psychological study conducted by German scholars has unveiled that the mental health of airline workers is deteriorating day by day. This study particularly points out significant symptoms of depression, anxiety, and high-stress levels in cabin crews.
Service industry workers have typically been exposed to a significant amount of emotional stress. The pressure of having to keep smiling even after a hectic schedule is quite problematic. It is why service workers are more susceptible to depression than the general public.
Flight attendants and cabin crew pose a specific problem of a subset within the larger circle of the service industry. The risk factor associated with the cabin crew job and the finality it presents makes for a unique emotional state.
Why are cabin crew more susceptible to mental illness?
A 2018 study reported significantly more sleep issues, apprehension bordering on anxiety, depression, and exhaustion amongst cabin crew. Several issues came up in the analysis of the problem.
Most cabin crew, especially on domestic flights, have much longer shifts. They usually start early and continue well within the night. Lack of sleep interrupts the biorhythm of the workers. The irregularity of their shifts makes it impossible for their bodies to adjust to a specific schedule.
Ultimately, these act as stressors that result in profound exhaustion and fatigue. A more underlying issue is that of anxiety. Almost 40% of cabin crew experience some type of anxiety during take-off or landing of the flight.
Finally, lack of job security is pretty standard. The air travel industry is particularly competitive, with many seemingly established airlines going out of business from time to time. It makes the cabin crew vulnerable to market fluctuations.
The pandemic is a prime example that has left many people jobless and adds to the depression. But these things will not happen when you join exclusive concierge services as they take care of both the customer and their employees well.
But until you join such services, know how to manage and prevent the said problems.
1. Keep up with the conversation around mental illness
The first and perhaps primary step towards alleviating mental illness is to recognise it. You have the best chances to identify that your mental health is in jeopardy. But to do so, you need to know what to look for. The internet provides an array of resources that speak about mental health problems.
Cross-check the legitimacy of these resources and keep yourself up to date with the developments. Some of the common symptoms are:
- Feeling lonely or sad
- Not linking to communicate with anyone
- Deficient energy
- Lack of concentration
- Rapid mood swings
If any of these symptoms persist for more than a week, go ahead and seek help.
2. Go to therapy
Most people believe that therapy is like a medicine that you need to take when you are ill. That is not the appropriate attitude to resolve this problem. Therapy is more like vitamins that you take all year round to stop yourself from getting sick.
Therapy gives you valuable insights and helps you recognise unresolved problems. It becomes a steady support system from a professional trained to recognise symptoms. Ultimately, being in therapy can prevent aggravation of existing mental health problems. It resolves deep-seated issues and is a great preventative measure that more people should look out for.
3. Practice mindfulness
The pivotal solution for stress management is to quieten the mind. Practicing mindfulness is a step towards achieving that very goal. To do this, all you need to do is take a moment for yourself and focus on the task you are doing now wholly. Yours is a world of relentless distraction. Your meals are accompanied by your phones.
To be mindful is to remove any thought of the past and future by solely focusing on the present. Not only does this help with stress relief, but it is also an excellent exercise to calm your anxiety. You will end up spending a lot less time on tasks once you immerse entirely in them. However, it is not an easy process, and it takes time to perfect the practice.
But by committing to do it more and more times, you will see a marked difference in your focus, attention span, and even mood.
4. Stop chasing productivity
The world that we live in works like a rat race. You know the idea of productivity from a very young age. While hard work is a universal virtue, to fall into the trap of constantly having to outdo others is unhealthy. There is no end to the illusion of being more productive.
You could consistently achieve more and do better. It is, however, a toxic process of undermining one’s self-worth that can cause severe depression. It eats away at a person’s self-confidence and is overall very harmful to mental health.
So, set yourself a routine and do your work within that time. Do not bring any work pressure to home. Once work is over, do something you like, such as listening to music, spending time with family, reading books, or watching television.
5. Exercise and eat properly
Lastly, you cannot deny the importance of eating a balanced diet and exercising every day. Studies have shown that foods rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals keep health in good condition and positively impact the mind. Thus, include lots of fruits, veggies, cereals, whole grain bread, brown rice, chicken, cottage cheese, tofu, fish in your diet.
Moreover, work out daily. Take a walk, jog in the park, swim, or even dance to make both your body and mind fit.
The journey of mental health is not one of linear progress. It takes a person to go through many ups and downs to come to a point where they are at peace with themselves and their surroundings. For some, it takes months, and for others, years.
The most important thing to keep in mind during this process is to be gentle with yourself. And also, follow the five ways mentioned above and stay well in the long run!
Author Kimberly Clark is a content marketing specialist – Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash