Pre-wedding preparations getting on top of you? Take some time out to wind down – here’s how.
Learn to delegate
Feeling responsibility for every aspect of your wedding can be a hugely stressful burden. Spend as much time as possible planning what needs to be done – but also who is going to do it. You’re likely to be surrounded by offers of help, so don’t turn them down because you think only you know best.
Encourage help, and supervise where necessary. Aim to be the manager of your wedding, not the dogsbody.
Build in some time for yourself
A little me-time is vital to any stress management programme. Every evening, make sure you take time out just to relax and unwind. If it’s hard to find space at home, go for a walk or to the cinema. Why not book yourself in for a massage?
Better still, in the weeks before your ceremony, plan a weekend away with mates to pamper and unwind. Ban all wedding talk (and see how long you can stick to that!).
Talk to yourself nicely
What psychologists refer to as “negative self-talk” can be a real downer. Bombarding yourself with unhelpful thoughts such as “It’s all going to go wrong!” or “I’ll look a right state on the day!” can make the job of preparing doubly hard.
Start disciplining yourself to think and talk positively. Avoid words like “not”, “ought” and “should”. Turn “fears” into “challenges”, “nerves” into “excitement”.
And try repeating an affirmation to yourself – a potent, positive sentence which you repeat until the thought sticks. Try something like “Every day, I’m getting closer to the wedding I want”. Say it over and over, in a traffic jam, on the train, and write it over and over too.
Just say NO
Now is not the time to be a people-pleaser. There may be lots of people around you who want to have their say about how your wedding should be arranged. But this is your day, and while you will want to accommodate the others’ views, much stress can be avoided if you start as you mean to go on, clearly asserting your wishes and plans wherever possible, and not encouraging suggestions that you know will eventually be turned down. Being honest is the best policy all round.
Of course, we all need a little bit of stress to get us motivated, but too much tension can have a negative effect. Fortunately, stress isn’t something that you have to be stuck with, if you stay assertive and positive.
Eat to beat the stress
Feelings of stress and bad moods can be exacerbated if you don’t make a point of looking after yourself. Make sure you eat a balanced diet, rich in wholefoods and fresh fruit and veg (aim for five portions a day). Bananas, green leafy veg, fish and oats are all natural stressbusters. Cut down on salt, sugar and refined stuff, and don’t overdo stimulants such as tea, coffee and alcohol.
Work that stress out
Hundreds of studies have shown exercise to be a significant stress-buster and mood-enhancer. Frequent aerobic activity raises your fitness and energy levels, relaxes tense muscles and helps trigger feelgood chemicals in the brain known as endorphins.
Aim to work out three times a week, choosing activities that leave you out of breath. Include things you enjoy, such as dancing or swimming. Joining something like a netball team or tennis club is also a great idea – and if you’re committed to a team, you’re more likely to go.
Sleep like a baby
A poor sleep pattern is a strong stress trigger, leading to irritability, nerves and even temporarily reduced IQ. Aim to be in bed before midnight and/or to get eight hours a night. Tuck yourself up before you actually need to fall asleep, so you have an unwinding period when you can listen to gentle music or read.
A number of natural remedies are thought to be able to help with stress. Pay a visit to your local health store to see what they advise.
For a more long-term problem, St John’s wort (aka hypericum) has been shown in trials to help alleviate symptoms of mild depression when used regularly for an extended period. Both are available in tincture and capsule form.
And for sudden feelings of panic and anxiety, many stars swear by Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic flower tincture. Just add a few drops on your tongue whenever you feel the need.