Stress has been the biggest enemy of flight attendants and stewards. This is caused mostly by different sleeping patters brought by flying different in time zones and and working at different hours everyday, dealing with some passengers who may get too demanding out of the norm, and other factors. Stress is what usually causes them to fall ill, hence, cabin crew members have different ways of managing things in order for them to be in top shape at all times.
It’s well known that stress has a negative impact on one’s health, and those in certain fast-paced careers face a much greater incidence of stress-related illnesses than the general public. Flight attendants in particular face substantially higher risk of physical and psychological illness, including higher incidence of some types of cancer and vascular disease.
“Many physical health concerns experienced by flight attendants are indirectly related to stress,” said Dr. Ralph E. Carson, who has a background in health science and medicine. “Inflammation is often the ‘glue’ between stress and physical health problems.”
In his research, Carson has found flight attendants to be at a greater risk of sleep problems, headaches, fatigue and gastrointestinal illnesses than the general public. Additionally, flight attendants are at three times greater risk of vascular disease and experience a higher incidence of skin and reproductive cancers than the general public.
Flight attendants also face a great risk of alcohol addiction. The Flight Attendant Drug and Alcohol Program (FADAP) is an FAA-funded substance-abuse prevention program that provides stigma-free information and support regarding substance use, abuse and dependence. NBAA encourages flight attendants to visit the FADAP website for more information.
Psychological problems may also arise among flight attendants, including an increased risk of depression and higher incidence of trauma or “critical incidence stress,” for example, following an aircraft accident, an injury experienced on an aircraft or other on-the-job trauma.
“These traumas are especially difficult because the memory of the initial occurrence can come back with every takeoff or every experience similar to the initial event,” said Carson. “For example, an elderly passenger might bring back traumatic memories of resuscitating another passenger.”
There are quite a number of ways cabin crew members can manage the stress.
The most common among all is getting a good massage during offs. Not only is it relaxing, but it helps a lot in improving sleep so cabin crew members could get a good rest before going on flight duty again.
Another method for flight attendants to manage stress is to practice yoga. Yoga requires you to put yourself in the present state with no memory of past experiences and no anxiety over the future.
Though yes, going to bars and unwinding does help but we suggest to just drink moderately. Fighting a hangover is as good as getting no good rest at all, especially hours before a flight duty. Take it easy on the alcohol.
Cabin crew members also take advantage of their free flights by going on vacation with their families and loved ones, even for a short while. Going to a beach or a place with lots of trees greatly helps.
Health is wealth. If you want to keep flying for a long time, take care of yourself. Stress will always be there. It's just a matter of properly managing it.