If you were to poll a hundred married women and ask them to list the 10 most stress individual days of their lives, it’s a safe bet somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 would list a wedding among the top three. It isn’t that weddings are naturally prone to pratfalls and comedies of errors. it’s just that any woman’s wedding day is one of the few in her entire life that she would give anything to have go off without a single hitch – pun somewhat intended.
Here’s a spoiler: with so many moving parts to orchestrate and coordinate, rarely is that measure of perfection ever assured.
It’s the day every little girl at some point dreams of when growing up, but it has a way of turning otherwise rational, level-headed and optimistic women into active volcanoes in dreamy gowns. Strategically placed release valves are essential. They are necessary for the bride’s own good, the sanity of her wedding party, and quite possibly the safety of everyone around her.
Naturally, we have suggestions. We’ve tried to narrow this list down to five roads to relaxation on any woman’s atlas, regardless of means, location, or other logistical snags. Unsurprisingly, quite possibly the soundest advice is to seal off the stress before it begins.
- Plan – There’s a very old saying that always holds true: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” In the lead-up to the wedding, consult a wedding planner or bridal coach and answer one question as realistically as possible: how much can I actually handle? Once you know that, commit to giving your very best to that hopefully honest, limited list. From there, you can begin deliberating who among your loved ones are the most trustworthy to both take some of the remaining stress from your shoulders onto their own and offer you some much-needed support as the walk down the aisle approaches. Don’t just acknowledge the stress itself, but have a manageable, practical plan for coping with it.
- Meditation – One day is about to change the course of your life to come. Even if you aren’t exactly a yogi at heart, meditation is a versatile, anywhere-appropriate release made for the easily overwhelmed. You don’t have to achieve complete transcendence. Just start simply by taking a few minutes each day when you know you aren’t likely to be interrupted and focus – not necessarily concentrate – on your breath’s natural in-out cycle. You can easily give this a try when lying in bed right before going to sleep or just before waking up. You’ll instantly notice the difference as your heart rate slows and your muscles go delightfully slack.
- Care for Your Body – If regular exercise and a mindful diet have never been staples of your day-to-day life, there will never be a better time to change that. A wedding is just exactly the kind of occasion quickly worries many a woman sick before she ever knows what hit her. A workout as brief-but-brisk as a walk, invigorating run or getting your groove on dancing around your living room will send endorphins coursing through your brain to leave you feeling euphoric, confident, and recharged. Plus, there’s the “bonus” of knowing you’ll look positively smashing in your wedding dress and be stress-free enough to revel in it.
- STOP and Smell the Rose oil – You’re thinking too much. Let your other senses take the wheel. Certain light fragrances display virtually instant stress-smoothing qualities, lavender being the go-to aroma, but jasmine, chamomile and basil have all proven themselves to be immensely calming. Try a perfumed candle or a cup of floral tea when feeling over-taxed. Any time you choose, a little rose or lavender essential oil dabbed on your wrists can turn a mood around in one or two good whiffs.
- The POWER of LOVE – Come on, now. Nothing could be more important to putting stress entirely in perspective than being reminded what – more importantly, who – awaits you at the end of that aisle: the love of your life. Never, ever neglect time out for the two of you to be blissfully alone and oh-so-connected. Set a date night that is about nothing and no one but the both of you, whether it’s dinner at a favorite spot or taking in a movie. What better first storm to weather together than this uncharted anxiety?
Ready for the anti-wedding stress anxiety advice you haven’t seen coming? Here it is: just be nervous.
The more you fear the jitters, the tighter they’ll grip you. This is a time of excitement and happiness, sure, but it’s a day that changes lives. Nerves are natural. You’ll feel scared, unsure, overwhelmed…and that is all OK. It’s one thing to acknowledge feelings and another to subjugate yourself to them. This is the time to admit, “I’m not OK right now” and then ask yourself, “What’s my path out of this place?” What’s more, there is no better time to know which loved ones you can always confide in to remind you what’s waiting at the finish line: “You may kiss the bride.”