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Six Ways to Say "I Don't" to Wedding Stress
Six Ways to Say "I Don't" to Wedding Stress
In theory, planning a wedding shouldn’t be stressful. You gather together the people who matter to you most, choose some lovely flowers, wear something flowing and white. Then you say, “I do.” And presto! You’re hitched.
Except, what if the “people who matter to you most” just happen to include your divorced parents, who are fighting over whether Stepmommy Dearest should be allowed to sit at the head table, as well as your intended’s flaky cousin, who is angry that you haven’t named her matron of honor? And what if those “lovely flowers” you had your heart set on fell victim to a floral frost, and that flowing white dress was ordered in the wrong size and color (and therefore is neither flowing nor white)?
It’s enough to make most brides go running for the beer and potato chips.
But before you add dieter’s remorse to your growing list of problems, recognize that while you can’t control family dynamics or floral frosts, you can control how you respond to wedding stress—which is important, for the sake of your health and your interpersonal relationships. Here are six ways to do it.
- Maintain perspective. When the language surrounding weddings includes phrases like, “The most important day of your life,” and so many women say they daydreamed about being a bride since they were little girls, it’s easy to see why a minor matrimonial mishap could seem like a catastrophe. But remember: A wedding just lasts one day, and it truly is your day. It’s not as important to anyone else (except maybe your mom and possibly the groom) as it is to you. Wedding imperfections will be forgotten, if not completely unnoticed.
- Set boundaries. If you’re an eager-to-please bride, it’s not just the prospect of bad canapés that keeps you up at night: it’s the fear of making other people unhappy. You can end up wringing your hands excessively over things like whether your mother-in-law-to-be will still accept you into the family if you don’t honor her request to change the wedding accent color from grape-purple to sky-blue. Just tell her the truth: You love purple. Blue? Not so much. She’ll live.
- Be kind to others. While you don’t want to let everyone walk all over you, you also don’t want to sever relationships over wedding-related disagreements. What people describe as “Bridezilla” is often a bride who bottled up resentments for months and then lost her cool in one epic temper tantrum. This kind of bad behavior just feeds wedding stress because it exacerbates tensions among everyone involved. It also makes for lousy memories of your engagement, a time that should be special. Long after the bouquet has been tossed and the cake has been cut, angry blow-ups at the bridal party are one “wedding favor” you’ll wish you could take back.
- Get your beauty sleep. When was the last time you got in a good 7–8 hours of shut-eye? If the answer is, “I can’t remember, because I’ve been up all night surfing wedding websites and working on drafts of the seating chart,” then you’re not getting enough. Adequate sleep isn’t just about preventing those unsightly dark circles under your eyes. Sleep deprivation sabotages physical and mental health, according to Roxanne Prichard, assistant professor of psychology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. If stress-avoidance isn’t enough to motivate you to hit the hay, consider this: Sleep deprivation is also linked to increased incidence of obesity. Which itself is linked to medical problems that go way beyond fitting into a wedding dress.
- Eat less, but don’t go overboard. Speaking of fitting into that wedding dress, if you’re like most brides, you probably want to look the best you possibly can on your wedding day. And if you’re like most women, you probably think looking your “best” equates to losing a few pounds. Whether you’re trying to drop one dress size or half a dozen, do yourself a favor and stick with slow-but-steady weight loss methods rather than crazy juice fasts or food group elimination techniques, as drastic calorie reduction has been linked to lethargy, irritability and anxiety, writes Emily Dean, MD, a psychiatrist in Massachussetts who specializes in evolutionary psychiatry. Not exactly emotions you want to be experiencing when you’re already battling stressful conditions.
- Become a gym rat. A regular exercise routine is an important element of any weight loss endeavor, and as an added bonus, working up a sweat has been found to decrease anxiety and depression, according to a study by Daniel Landers, PhD, kinesiology professor emeritus at Arizona State University. Whether you up your heart rate while running or kickboxing or find your happy place on a yoga mat, being physically fit won’t just make the wedding dress seamstress happy—it will help you handle catering calamities and mothers-in-law who hate purple with a sense of calm and a level head. And that’s the kind of attitude you need to say “I don’t” to wedding stress.
By: Jorie Mark
Jorie Mark is the editorial manager of Vitacost.com and oversees the web content and social media for this publically traded, online retailer and direct marketer of health and wellness products. She also is the editor of the Vitacost-sponsored mommy blog, Momonomics.com. Jorie’s humorous memoir, Bride in Overdrive: A Journey Into Wedding Insanity and Back, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2004. She was a regular blogger for WeddingChannel.com before and after her wedding. This bride and her groom currently live in South Florida with their three children, ages 9, 6 and 1.
May 31st, 2012