Life as we know it has drastically changed in a short time, and we’ve all been required to adapt. So how does an Emirates cabin-crew member stay sane during this time?
We chatted to Emirates cabin-crew member Kirsten Duthie, who is from South Africa, about staying entertained, healthy and productive during this time. She grew up in Knysna and worked as a biokineticist in Cape Town before joining Emirates. ‘Although I was passionate about my career, I had this unrelenting desire to live abroad, discover new destinations and learn about people and culture,’ she says.
On her time at Emirates
‘I have been flying with Emirates for just over a year (41 cities in a year). My first flight was an overnight turnaround on 14 February 2019 to Delhi, India. Valentine’s Day will always be my ‘work-anniversary’, which is fitting as I love my job. Joining Emirates has been the biggest and best decision I have ever made.’
It’s impossible for her to choose just one favourite destination
‘I fall in love with places for many different reasons. My favourite food destinations with amazing flavours include Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India. If I am looking for something more nature-focused, then it has to be Brazil, the Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, New Zealand and Kenya.
I find the architecture, art and history fascinating in cities like Vienna, Amsterdam, Paris, St Petersburg and Milan. Although, since leaving South Africa, I have realised that there’s nothing that can quite beat Cape Town.’
She created a ‘stay-at-home action plan’
She did this to create and maintain a positive and uplifting experience while home. Her plan is basically a commitment to maintaining her health and fitness, mental wellness, improving her home surroundings and making time to just chill.
‘It was challenging at first, as we are used to a structured way of living to maintain a harmonious balance between travel and time off,’ says Kirsten.
‘I do CrossFit workouts my coach sends me, yoga with Adriene and Asana Rebel, Sweat with Kayla Itsines and Pilates Anytime online classes. I’ve had to get creative with using water bottles and my cabin bag as weights, chairs as steps and a tennis ball for muscle release and self-massage. I also make an effort to keep in touch with family and friends through video calls.’
She keeps her mind stimulated with topics she enjoys
‘I started reading and learning more about interesting biokinetics topics and revisiting my Spanish lessons on Duolingo. I also started spending more time cooking. I am trying new healthy recipes from apps like Jamie’s Ultimate Recipes and Deliciously Ella.’
As an Emirates cabin-crew member, her purpose is to deliver the world’s best in-flight experience to passengers, and she finds herself using her onboard training at home too.
‘Teamwork is one of the most important concepts we take onboard as cabin crew, and is crucial when preparing the cabin for passengers, conducting the safety and security check effectively, during meal services, assisting with medical cases and much more.
In our apartment we have created this similar sense of teamwork – we all wake up at a similar time, do the household chores, go for essential grocery shopping, cook meals and complete our online exercise classes together. This feeling of togetherness and teamwork definitely makes each day more enjoyable.’
She even finds herself practising ‘We Care’ at home
‘After meal service on flights, we conduct a “We Care” service to ensure that our passengers are comfortable and safe. Our “We Care” service involves checking the cleanliness and safety of the cabin and lavatories, collecting anything that needs to be disposed of, as well as serving a round of drinks and answering any questions or requests passengers may have.
I find myself often conducting a “We Care” service in the apartment, whether I’m checking if my flatmates would like tea, coffee or beverages when I’m in the kitchen, walking through the apartment and asking if anything needs a touch-up, or taking out the trash. When I catch myself conducting a “We Care” service at home, I just stop and laugh.’
Her ‘stay-at-home action plan’ is also inspired by her practices on long-haul flights
‘When doing a long-haul flight, we need to ensure that we are well rested before the flight and in the Crew Rest Compartment break onboard. This can be applied when staying at home by keeping a good sleeping pattern.
This is vital for your circadian rhythm, which is your 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. Also, there are clear patterns of brainwave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities linked to this daily cycle. So, to properly use your time when staying at home, I suggest you spend appropriate time managing your rest.’
What will your stay-at-home action plan include? Kirsten even suggests adding a touch of glamour to your day (yes, reach for that red lipstick) and don’t forget to prioritise your mental wellness during this time.
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