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Managing pre-wedding stress / The Universe has a sense of humor

July 13, 2011
From stressed to bliss

Stress management should really be a part of wedding planning, don’t ya think? Anyone who has ever planned anything, let alone a WEDDING, knows that organizing a group of people, putting together detail after detail {after detail}, and managing it all according to a specific time frame is STRESSFUL. So stressful, in fact, that most end up hiring someone else to DO IT FOR THEM.

I think the majority of brides, and probably grooms too, hit a point in their engagement where they just. want. to. be. married. already. Even if you’re like me and enjoy the planning, there’s something that happens in the universe when you get engaged. It’s like a message gets sent out: Dear Universe, I am about to embark on an all-encompassing, overwhelming, and stressful endeavor that will suck all my time and energy for the next 6 months. It would be pretty darn comical if you decided to drop other life transitions/changes/family drama/financial burdens on my lap. So, please don’t, OK?

But that Universe just can’t resist a good laugh. Bastard.

I’ve been planning my wedding for five months now. Since then my fiance has decided to look for another job, I’ve decided to search out other career paths/business opportunities, we’ve experienced a death in the family, another ailing grandparent is currently in the hospital, and there’s been good ol’ family drama. Did I mention it’s all happened in the last five months? I can hear you laughing, Universe.

If you don’t know–and practice–good stress management then you’re likely to face a good deal of anxiety/worry/confusion/frustration… the list goes on. And all that anxiety/worry/confusion/frustration can take a toll on your relationship. Engagement is stressful. It’s a fact. But the stress shouldn’t consume you. Your engagement should also be a time of preparation–for your MARRIAGE, duh! It should be exciting and exhilarating and, yes, FUN. There will never be another time like it.

You have a support group. Use it.

Um, you know those people you asked to stand up with you at your wedding? The ones who  supported you through awful haircuts, painful breakups, and embarrassing moments? They’ve been there through the stressful and trying moments of your life. So why aren’t you leaning on them now? If they live far away (as all of my bridesmaids do), make yourself call them. Sometimes it’s a struggle to pick up the phone. I know. You’re too tired/lazy/STRESSED. You think they’re too busy. You don’t want to be a complainer. Trust me, they WANT to hear from you. And they WILL make you feel better.

Learn what calms you down.

Is it taking a bath? Sitting in your favorite chair reading? Exercising? Watching a movie? Whatever it is that calms you down, makes you feel at peace for even 30 minutes, DO IT. Every day.

Develop a mantra.

No, this is not the part where I’m going to tell you to twist your legs into an impossibly difficult pretzel, clear your mind, and chant nonsensical words in your living room. Although, if you do decide to take up yoga, it’s probably not a bad idea. All that twisting and mind clearing is pretty helpful. Instead, I’m asking you to train your thoughts. Bear with me for a moment. Most of the anxiety we feel–tense muscles, tightness in our chest, shortened breathing–is triggered by our thoughts. Automatic thoughts, thoughts we’re not even fully aware of. But wait. If we’re not even aware of them, how do we change them? Simple. We become aware of them.

The next time you’re feeling stressed, focus on your thoughts. Pay attention to that reel of self-talk that plays in your mind. What is it saying? Or rather, what are you saying to yourself? Is it, O mi god, this is impossible. I have no idea how we’re going to handle this! OR, Why is all this $@!* happening to us?! Is it a sign? Are we doomed? Chances are it’s negative. Self-defeating. Anxiety-provoking. Chances are you’ve been feeding the anxiety monster with your own thoughts.

But I don’t want to feed the anxiety monster! Good. Instead of allowing that negative self-talk to pervade your mind, develop something positive to say to yourself. And press repeat. When something goes wrong, yet another task has been added to your already pages long To Do list, you’ve just received your umpteenth response card with written-in guests {ugh, don’t you just HATE that?!}, CHOOSE positivity. Something along the lines of: You CAN DOOO IT! Yes, that’s right. You ARE your own cheerleader.


You know what makes you laugh. For me, it’s Friends. I hardly go a day without watching an episode. Believe me, THIS is therapy.

Find time with your fiance/fiancée.

Remember how I said that your engagement should be exciting, exhilarating, and fun? Remember how I reminded you that you will only get to experience this moment ONCE? Well, I meant it. Make sure you’re making time for one another. Carve out space in your busy schedules for date nights. Choose to spend a day where you DON’T talk about the wedding. Relax together. Share with one another what you’re most looking forward to about marriage. Put these things into practice NOW. Not only will they help you get through your engagement, they will prepare you for LIFE together. Which, if you don’t already know, is stressful {but always worth it}.



Photo courtesy of Flickr The Commons


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