Having been the other side of the wedding planning process, I am familiar with the stress the whole experience can bring. While the occasion promises to be happy and full of love unfortunately your health and well-being can take a bit of a dive when worrying over finances, guest lists etc.
In a previous capacity I spent over 7 years treating clients holistically through Massage, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Reiki and Nutrition to bring about balance; both physically and emotionally. Many brides and grooms crossed my door and you could literally feel the tension vibrating from them! So I have put together a helpful little list of tips I would recommend to banish pre-wedding stress. This is by no means exhaustive and is my opinion only:
1 – H2O!
Hydrate – simple! Water is a phenomenal element. It has the power to quench your thirst and provide your body with the sustenance it needs for the function of your organs and blood. Previous studies have revealed that being dehydrated by just half a litre can increase your cortisol levels– Oh dear!
Cortisol is that pesky hormone that fuels your body’s “fight-or-flight” response. Cortisol also controls your sleep / awake patterns – if you are in excess of cortisol you will have difficulty falling or staying asleep. The recommended amount of water we should drink daily is 2 litres and avoid caffeine or carbonated drinks as they dehydrate (keep them cappuccinos to a minimum 2 a day!).
2 – Sleeping Beauty
Sleep – if only it were simple! When you are stressed it is very tough to ‘switch off’ causing a restless night which in turn elevates your stress levels and can affect your physical health also. Vicious cycle. Sleep is so important for both brain function and is necessary for the repair and regulation of your organs. I recommend keeping a routine – try not to sit up late freaking over table plans!
Try get at least 6-8 hours of quality rest. If you have trouble falling asleep I recommend listening to some assisted meditation – Spotify has tonnes to choose from, done nightly this can bring about relaxation and aid in falling asleep.
Try using some lavender on your pillow also – lavender is very potent aromatherapy and can help relieve tension and ease the mind.
This one however is a biggie – put away your phone about an hour before heading to the leaba! Research has shown that the blue light from your device disrupts your circadian rhythms (your 24 hour ‘body clock’) – this can inhibit your melatonin production. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the brain which tells the body when it’s time to sleep and wake up – very important stuff. Bye phone!
3 – Rescue Me
Bach Rescue Remedy ™ is amazing! I personally use the spray before I have to do something which gives me anxiety, such as exams or even large ceremonies! It also comes in a dropper form, tablets and pastilles. Just spray directly on to your tongue and viola. There are 5 main ingredients which are used to combat symptoms of stress and anxiety:
Impatiens: For those who act and think quickly, and lack patience.
Star of Bethlehem: For trauma and shock, whether experienced recently or in the past.
Cherry Plum: For when you fear losing control of your thoughts and actions and doing things you feel are bad for you.
Rock Rose: For those moments where you experience panic or terror.
Clematis: For those who are ‘away with the fairies’. They are un-grounded and indifferent to the details of everyday life.
Keep your Bach Rescue Remedy ™ in your bag when you are out and about shopping / talking to vendors or for when you have any days that simply get a bit much. On your wedding day, have your spray close by. Just don’t down the bottle like a shot of Sambuca – keep that for the afters 😉
4 – Get Handy With Reflexology
I absolutely love, Reflexology and the great thing is you can do it on your own hands or feet! Reflexology, for those who do not know, works on the principle that there are ‘reflex points’ on your hands and feet that correspond with organs and parts of your body. By manipulating or massaging these points on the hands or feet, it is believed that symptoms can be relieved in the mirroring body parts.
For those of us who have an issue touching our toes, I got you covered. Here are a few steps to calm your mind and relax the body through hand Reflexology:
- Put pressure into the centre of your palm with the thumb of the opposite hand (this is called your solar plexus point).
- Keep applying that pressure for at least one minute (you may feel a small bit of discomfort which is normal)
- Your thumb and fingers correspond to your head area and brain (thumb) so massaging your fingers and thumbs can also help relieve anxiety, fear and depression.
On that note – look after your hands! They do so much for us throughout the day. Give them a rest and tender care. I use a hand cream nightly and massage my hands for full body and mind benefit, it really feels great!
5 – Exercise
Some brides and grooms make this their first priority which is great. If weight-loss is your aim then, great for you, exercising and a balanced diet will certainly do the job! For the purpose of this post I will be solely looking at the benefits of exercise to help reduce anxiety and stress. Please note I am not a professional in this area and this is only my advice.
The science bit – Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins— the wonderful chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress – yay! Low to moderate exercise and even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins. Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
Here are some really simple exercises you can incorporate in to your routine that aren’t going to break the wedding bank:
Go for a walk – even a 20-30 minute walk outside every day can help you gain a bit of space in your mind.
Go for a swim – I love swimming. It’s great, you can completely clock off and just enjoy the healing properties of water. This has the added benefit of being a full body workout and is gentle enough for anyone who has injuries or any other ailments. 30-40 mins once or twice a week will do the trick.
Dance – I regularly subject my poor neighbours to various routines. From the running man, to the samba etc. just throw on some music and dance like no-one is looking. You will feel amazing! Also it’s an excuse to stick on some of your favourite jams. Music also has fantastic healing properties as it lowers stress hormones and elevates your mood.
Ballet – another dance. I have recently signed up to adult ballet classes. You would be amazed how much you work a sweat and how many muscles you use in the one hour class. Also – you get to feel like a ballerina which is always a bonus!
Pilates or Yoga– both are so good for your core strength / flexibily. I always feel fantastic after a class or even when I do the stretches at home. I find I tend to shut off when I do Pilates or Yoga and just focus on the movements. Yoga is also rooted in calming the mind and balancing the body.
I personally feel stronger and more confident since implementing the above exercises. I am not a gym person, but if that’s where you chase your high – fair play to you! There are so many classes out there and even YouTube videos etc. that you can do at home. Find what works for you and enjoy it!