How to Make the Most of Your Thanksgiving Flight Delay
Work + Life Balance

How to Make the Most of Your Thanksgiving Flight Delay

by Jherell Drain
November 25, 2015

YOUR FLIGHT'S DELAYED (AGAIN) BY HOURS, AND YOU'VE ALREADY READ YOUR GOSSIP MAGAZINES. WHY NOT MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR DOWNTIME BY WORKING ON YOURSELF AND YOUR CAREER? 

Imagine this: you finally managed to book a last­-minute flight to visit your family. Your bags are packed, you’ve arrived at the airport on time, and you even managed to get your pre­flight coffee fix. Then, you see the marquee. Your flight’s been delayed.

While idly flipping through a magazine can knock off some of your waiting time, eventually you’ll run out of celebrity gossip... 

Instead of just doing anything (and everything) to kill time, take advantage of your flight delay by focusing on a few areas of your life (career, health, personal life, etc.) that may need some attention. 

1. READ AN INSPIRING, CAREER-RELATED BOOK

Let’s be honest: there’s only so much we can take in from flipping through fashion magazine advertisements articles. {click to tweet} If your flight is delayed a few hours, you’ll need something more substantial to read during your wait. Why not read a book that can help with your career?

Whether you’re looking to boost your career confidence or searching for a career you love,  there’s a book out there for you filled with valuable insights and tips.

Try this: If you’re searching for your dream career, give Aliza Licht's Leave Your Mark a read.  

2. RELAX BY FOCUSING ON YOUR BREATHING 

Arriving to your destination later than expected, especially around the holidays when your family’s waiting, can be stressful. And for those of us who find it hard to get comfortable during plane rides, the longer wait can do more harm than good. 

Breathing exercises can help with that. If you feel awkward about breathing heavily next to a stranger, move to a less crowded area where you’re more comfortable.

Instead of letting these tasks run rampant in your brain, try taking this time to prioritize items by writing not just one, but several, to-­do lists.

Try this: According to The Livestrong Foundation’s website, yoga breathing exercises can help you stay calm and lower your anxiety. As you wait for your flight, try performing the “Bumble Bee Breath.” While sitting in a comfortable position, fill your lungs to capacity from your abdomen. Hold this position for three seconds, then release while making a buzzing sound with your tongue (like a bee). You can repeat this sequence three to five times as you wait.

3. GIVE YOUR BODY A GOOD STRETCH 

Sitting in a chair during the delay and then on the actual plane ride may leave your body feeling stiff. If you have time for a walk, take a stroll around the terminal and stretch your legs after (and before) sitting down for a long time.

While you’re practicing those breathing exercises, you can also try neck/shoulder rolls and arm stretches to relieve the tension in your joints. Multitasking at its finest.

Try this: For a neck roll, look down so your chin is close to your chest. Next, roll your neck so your ear is close to your shoulder, and then continue to roll your neck so you’re facing the ceiling. Complete the roll by bringing your head back to your starting position. 

4. PRIORITIZE, PRIORITIZE, PRIORITIZE  

Our brains are constantly filtering items on our to-­do lists. Schedule that meeting. Cancel that doctor’s appointment. Order those gifts.

Instead of letting these tasks run rampant in your brain, try taking this time to prioritize items by writing not just one, but several, to-­do lists. A flight delay might be one of those rare times – outside of work, school, parenting and other obligations – when you have a moment to sit down and carefully map out your specific tasks. 

These lists can vary from work/school assignments, career goals, personal goals or even your own wish list (hey, you deserve it!).

Try this: What are some things in your life that you’d like to focus on? Perhaps, you’d like to travel more within the next few years. Or, you’ve noticed a few new books that you can’t wait to read. Instead of trying to remember each of these things, make specific lists for them. Start off with a few separate lists devoted to your career aspirations, travel goals and books to read. You can download some of our to-do templates to get started.

If you’re lucky, your flight may start boarding as you finish making your lists.

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What are some of your suggestions for using your time wisely during a flight delay?