7 TIPS FOR DEALING WITH WEDDING STRESS
Ethereal music, a carpeted aisle littered with scented petals, a groom trying his best to avoid the “ugly cry”. It’s all been leading up to this moment. But what comes either side of a wedding? Broken appointments, financial burden, finding the perfect dress, the perfect cake, the perfect venue! And afterwards? The honeymoon bubble bursts and then life’s stresses seem to burn a little hotter.
We all stress and so we should. But there is good stress and bad stress and that is never more pronounced than when you are studying, working, or juggling both. Add in the mix family, community obligations and more and an inability to understand how to deal with stress can have very damaging consequences.
It is our reaction to stressors that give them their power. Understanding stresses and the stressors can flip the script and give you power over them.
GOOD VS BAD STRESS
Good Stress – Also called ‘Eustress’. This is stress that is exciting and motivates you to perform and to complete projects. It enhances your ability to perform well. It sharpens your body and mind.
Eustress is what gets you to pump iron, tackle that big rugby player, reach a work project goal, ace an exam, ask that good looking slice of heaven out on a date etc. Eustress is a valuable tool.
Bad Stress – Disabling, demotivating, inflammatory, wears you out, leads to anxiety, decreases performance, causes bad sleep, leads to bad physical and mental health and even poor social and emotional health.
Bad stress can be broken in 2:
Good and Bad
Acute stress is actually important and is like an “anti-hero”. It’s the one that can jump into a dangerous situation and save your life but, it can be toxic if you keep putting yourself in a position where you need it over and over. During an acute stress response, which happens when we are faced with perceived threat or need to act quickly, our autonomic nervous system (the bodily system that works independently of our directions,) will activate and cause the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline to up our heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate. That’s when we go into fight or flight mode.
Where acute stress becomes damaging, is when we face it constantly. It’s freaking out at every bush rustle thinking it may be a tiger ready to leap. It’s not just scary things that can be acute stressors though. In our modern world our phone notifications, alarms, flashing lights and more can give us a little jump. Pile them all up and we end up exhausting our energy.
Chronic stress is the constant feeling of stress. An added issue is that often it goes unnoticed. Family issues, financial hardships, the things that nag at us even when we think we have things under control. Chronic stress is at the heart of much if not most of our health issues.
Wedding stress seems to be a knotted mess of acute and chronic stress. Acute stresses like choosing the right cake jumps to the right tablecloths, the right dress, the right favours and so on. There is hardly a moment of respite to recover.
The chronic stress comes from, among other things, the worries about the future and the challenges that it will bring.
Here are 10 Tips to Help Manage Wedding Stress
- Know the danger, complications, and issues. Without a realisation of how bad this can be we can go through life just accepting that “it is what it is” while our mental, emotional and physical health decline.
- Know your limits. It’s okay to push ourselves, and so we should but when we are constantly exhausting ourselves and not giving ourselves time to recover, we disable ourselves from being able to handle any stress, good or bad. If you’re in a bad state and have recognised that chronic stress has encroached upon your life, get delegating, cut back on perceived responsibilities, reduce involvement in committees etc.
- Be a Couch Potato for a Few Hours. Do something to totally unwind and take your mind completely off the wedding. Watch Netflix or Stan or whatever and allow your mind to wander into a fantasy world. Warning: This can come with post-potatoing guilt tripping. One way to avoid this is to do it as part of a schedule.
- Get Some Sunshine. A nice hit of sunshine is a powerful elixir.
- Go on a Date. Go out with your fiancée on a date where you don’t talk wedding plans. Discuss future plans instead. Talk about movies, music, books, maths… whatever you can converse over. Or go on a date with a best mate, your Mum, your sibling…
- Deep belly breathe. A study by the Harvard Medical School declares that deep breathing is a powerful tool for bringing your body back to a state of normality and balance after it has responded to stress. Belly breathing exercises can regulate our heart rate, improve the oxygenation of our blood and release tension.
- Get good sleep. Chronic stress often comes midst a cycle and can motivate that cycle to continue indefinitely. Bad sleep can lead to chronic stress and vice versa. These things lead to poor health which leads to bad sleep and chronic stress and so on. So, it stands to reason that if you can disrupt that cycle by having a good sleep, you can get control of the stress a lot easier. Block out curtains, phones turned off, no phone use an hour before bed, reading, tea, light music or soundscapes, cool air… these are some of the best tricks for getting a good sleep.
- Get professional help. When all else fails, seek help from a pro. In this day and age, the stigma of seeking professional help for anything to do with our mental health should no longer be an issue. In some societies the stigma may remain but screw it – this is your health and wellbeing and your ability to live an optimum life should be a high priority.
Whether you are reading this as a Trainer, Assessor, Teacher, Student, Butcher, Baker or Candlestick-maker, stress is one of those unavoidable blessings and curses in life that is unavoidable. Managing it however is where our power lies. In fact, it is our reaction to stressors that give them their power.
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