It's not a big secret that stress and anxiety are a part of planning a wedding. The list of worries seems to be endless -
How are we going to be able to afford the wedding we want?
What if I can't find the perfect dress?
Will the venue we want be available on the date we chose?
My bridesmaids aren't doing anything they're supposed to, I just want to replace them!
Oh no! The flowers I've wanted forever aren't going to be in season!
The van bringing the wedding cake got into an accident?! Now what do I do?
I got laid off at work, we're going to have to cut way back on the wedding.
My unit is deploying to Afghanistan in two weeks.
It doesn't matter if it's an imaginary 'what if' or a real emergency, either, because the stress caused is real.
Stress, even good stress, can cause a lot of problems - irritability, lack of sleep, lack of appetite or, more often, eating too much, arguing about everything, even not talking at all. It can take a toll on a relationship as well as your physical health.
Okay, before I scare you so much you decide to runaway to Vegas, let me reassure you. There are ways to deal with the stress and anxiety you may feel. How do I know, you ask? I'm not only a wedding planner, I'm also a person with a severe social anxiety disorder. I can hear the question you're all thinking right now, why in the world did you decide to become a wedding planner? That's a story for another time. What's important right now is I have a lot of coping techniques for my anxiety, and I'm going to share some of them with you!
The first thing I'm going to tell you - don't let planning your wedding take over your life. You don't want your relationship to get swallowed whole by the wedding.
Yes, it's a very important day in your life. But is it important enough to risk damaging your relationship with the very person you're planning to marry? Not really, no. So take time off from all things wedding and spend time doing the things that helped you realize you wanted to spend the rest of your life with them. Go on dates. Have a movie night in with some popcorn and the latest film Netflix added. For this to help relieve your stress, though, it's crucial to remember this one simple rule.
Stress and anxiety are masters of camouflage. Anxiety practically has ninja level skills. You need to learn your "tells" when they start to invade. Do you get short-tempered with everyone? Do your hands shake when you're stressed? Do you eat more? Do you stop eating altogether? Smoking more than usual? Talking faster, or not at all? Are you forgetful? Whatever it is that signals an imminent meltdown, identify it, and learn the corresponding combat move - retreat. Take a couple of hours and go to the spa. Put your headphones on, pull up your favorite playlist, and go for a run.
Different people find different things relaxing. I'm not the most...dedicated housekeeper, but for some reason ironing is soothing. I don't really 'get' it either, I just go with what works. Repetitive motion of some type is calming to most people. I just remembered the scene in Runaway Bride where Julia Roberts is in her wedding dress, moving along with the fan, and chewing gum. Repetitive motion.
Which brings me to the big day itself. Your hair and makeup are perfect. Your dress fits exactly the way it should, everyone is where they're supposed to be - so why do you still feel like something will go wrong?
Stress and anxiety are attacking again.
You HAVE to stay where you are because, well, you really do love your partner. You certainly can't get away from all things wedding. So what do you do? This is where I utilize a short visualization exercise. There are many different visualizations you could use; type "visualization exercises" into Google and here is what you'll see -
Find a quiet spot, sit down, and close your eyes. Now imagine there are ten lit candles in front of you. The choice of what the candles look like is up to you, as is where they are in front of you. Size, shape, color, even scent is your choice, as long as they are burning. While you're watching the candles burn, take a deep breath through your nose and hold it for a few seconds, then exhale through your mouth. When you exhale, picture blowing out the first candle. Now repeat those steps until all ten candles are extinguished.
In fact, let's practice this one right now. It doesn't take more than a couple of minutes and you have the time. Go ahead - I'll wait.
Finished? How do you feel? Refreshed? Not as tense? Good. That's how you're supposed to feel.
As I've already said, I've created a document you can download, called the Relaxation Note Cards. All four exercises are on the page and it's formatted to make small pocket cards (aka flash cards), with each exercise described on the individual cards. Cut them out along the dotted lines but not down the middle, fold them in the middle instead.
you'll have a nice little card (or cards) to put in your purse or your pocket as a reminder of what to do when the stress monster attacks. Try them all, see which one works best for you. A small caution, however, if you're afraid of heights, I don't recommend trying the one for "Fly". Similarly, don't try the one for "Float" if you're afraid of the water. Adding a fear into the mix sort of defeats the purpose of the exercise.
There you go, some tried and true methods of combating stress and anxiety. Be sure to download the Relaxation Pocket Cards and let me know how they worked for you!
Click on the picture below to download a copy of the Relaxation Pocket Cards:
I am a wife, mother, and grandmother that loves to be creative. It doesn't matter if it's crafts, floral arrangements, writing, knitting, crocheting, sewing, playing the piano, or coloring.