Fatigue among flight attendants is more common than you think. According to a 2020 study, even prior to the pandemic 40–68% of airlines’ cabin crews were positive for insomnia, depression, shift work disorder, or a multitude of these disorders. The numbers were expected to grow due to skyrocketing layoffs due to the pandemic’s lockdown. If you are a flight crew and feeling a little burned out, first of all, you need to understand that it is normal to feel so. Secondly, you need to do something about it because flight attendant fatigue will affect your performance. Worry not, we have collected some tips on how to spot fatigue early and deal with it on your own. Read on…
Flight Attendant Fatigue
Flight attendant fatigue happens to both international and domestic cabin crews. Although not ideal, it is something one must expect from working in the aviation industry. Flight schedules have no day-off, except for urgent circumstances like unlikely weather or recent Covid-19 restrictions, and that means flight attendants' working schedules are bound to reflect that. Needless to say, these round-the-clock work schedules can result in fatigue and safety risks for cabin crews.
Tiredness is normal, but you should pay attention if it goes on for a long time and turns into fatigue. There are several consequences of flight attendant fatigue, such as slowed reaction time, reduced attention span, decreased communications, and diminished judgment. This is exactly why one should be quick and careful when encountering fatigue. Albeit common, the consequence of prolonged fatigue will serve nobody’s good.
Signs of Flight Attendant Fatigue
Fatigue is a tricky business to identify. If not examined carefully, anyone can mistake fatigue for regular tiredness. The following is a list of questions you need to ask yourself to determine what you are really encountering. If the answer are mostly yes, then you might indeed suffering from flight attendant fatigue:
- Have your sleep habits changed?
- Have you become cynical or critical at work?
- Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
- Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
- Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?
How to Deal with Flight Attendant Fatigue
If it turns out you are suffering from fatigue, then you need a strategy to counter that. Fatigue can only mean that your body and mind have been overworked for some time. That means the solution will not come easily and it might even take time for you to get back fit. But no need to worry because the journey of healing can be fun too if you want.
Try to get yourself into a routine of physical exercising because being physically healthy will definitely improve one’s mentality. If you are not so keen on exercising, then perhaps you can try yoga or meditation.
Pick Up a Mindful Activity
This can translate to many things but the point is to be aware of what you're sensing and feeling at every moment. What we would suggest is to start journaling which is actually very good for flight attendants.
Seek Help from Others
Obviously, the last tip is to consider talking to a doctor or a mental health provider if you feel like everything has gone too much. It is not often but there are chances that these symptoms can also be related to health conditions, such as depression.
Lastly, do not give in to fatigue. A journey to overcoming fatigue may be long and not always easy, but it is never impossible. Keep in mind that you can always rely on others, open up and share with your friends and family about the problems. In fact, most airlines should have their own Fatigue Risk Management System (FRSM). So, you should definitely tell your employer if you are feeling flight attendant fatigue.