At this time of year, when planes are packed with people going to visit their families for the holidays, flying is enough to stress out even the most experienced business traveler.

"Stress is a part of air travel," observes former flight attendant Diana Fairechild, whose book, JET SMART (Flyana Rhyme), offers tips on how to overcome the pressures of flying. "Making the reservation, getting to the airport early, carrying heavy bags and arriving in a place where you may not speak the language can be stressful."

A few simple in-flight relaxation techniques can help you manage the stress:

  • Dress comfortably. Wear natural fibers, and avoid tight clothes. Put on layers so you can remove or add clothing as the temperature changes.
  • Don't sit still. Get up and walk around the cabin every hour or two to get your blood flowing.
  • Exercise while seated. Flex your ankles, rotate your neck from side to side, and roll your shoulders to relieve stress. You may look silly, but you'll avoid discomfort later. Flexing your ankles, for instance, helps prevent swollen feet.
  • Do mental gymnastics. Envision yourself skiing or swimming. Experts believe these exercises can help reduce tension, even if the activity is imaginary.