This post is sponsored by United Healthcare. While I was compensated to write this post, all opinions are my own.
Many of you have asked me how I’m handling the stress of wedding planning. It’s kind of sad that stress is something that’s automatically associated with wedding planning, isn’t it? But it makes sense. There’s so much to do, tons to think about, and simply not enough time in the day. Sometimes I feel like a bad bride because the last thing I feel like doing when I get home from work is sitting down to think about wedding stuff. Plus everything is so freaking expensive. Yesterday I learned that the inner lining of invitation envelopes can cost, get this, $250. Yup. Why in the world would I want to pay $250 for something that ends up IN THE TRASH. No offense if any of you have done that, but seriously? Oy.
We’re about five months out now (woah), and I know from the 23 couples whose weddings we’ve attended in the past 3 years that things are really going to kick into high gear soon. I am definitely trying to keep my stress at bay and balance wedding planning with all the other parts of my life, but I will be honest, my strategies for reducing my stress while wedding planning are the same strategies I deploy when I’m stressed about work, family things, or anything else.
Here are some of my go to ways to calm myself down when feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
Step away from whatever I’m doing. Sometimes I find myself so focused on something that I simply need to take a break from it. Last week I was agonizing over my bridal shower invitation list and finally just had to stop thinking about it. This way I’m able to revisit it with a clear mind at a later time.
Make some lists. One of my biggest stressors is feeling like I don’t have enough time. When this happens, I like to whip out my handy dandy to do lists. One list strategy that works for me is to write down everything that I think I have to do, and then I try to map out when I realistically have time to do each item that week on my desk calendar. I’ve shied away from keeping everything on the same piece of paper because I find it backfires and causes me to feel more overwhelmed in the long run. Imagine if I wrote every single wedding to do on the same list? Shudder. Another list strategy that works for me is to make different to do lists for blogging, apartment things, wedding things, and miscellaneous. I leave work completely out of it.
Sit quietly. Whenever I sit quietly (which doesn’t happen often, but I try!), I like to light a candle and make myself a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Even if it’s not for a long time, purposely trying to shut my mind off helps me regain calm and focus.
Do this five things relaxation technique. It’s one of my favorites, and it works every time.
Take a hot shower. If my anxiety is really out of control, a hot shower actually is one of the things that helps me the most. I’m able to stop freaking out for a minute, get my breathing back to normal, and clear my mind. And I stay in there forever, I don’t care!
Clean. Yep. If I spend a few minutes tidying up each room in my apartment or organizing my desk, I feel better. Clutter stresses me out, so I like to have a nice neat space before sitting down to accomplish a task.
Exercise. I know this is obvious for me, but moving is both a stress reliever and my me time. Whether it’s lifting heavy weights at the gym by myself and zoning out, having fun with friends at a class around the city, or simply going for a walk to move or get outside a little bit, exercising boosts my feel good endorphins and helps distract me from any worries. I just always try to be mindful of the types of activities I choose to do. Since exercise technically is stress on the body, if I’m having a particular stressful week in other ways, I’ll choose lower impact workouts as to not make the stress worse.
Get a massage. This isn’t an option every day for me, but this year I signed up for a monthly massage membership at Massage Envy. I’ve really enjoyed having the time to myself carved out every month, and it helps reduce the postural stress that I can thank my desk job for. I always leave relaxed too, which is an added bonus.
Zone out. Sometimes a little couch and tv time or reading does the trick for me. I try to unwind before bed every night, although it doesn’t always happen. I know watching TV right before bed isn’t supposed to be the best for your sleep patterns, but sometimes just curling up next to Tim and watching our go to shows (Walking Dead, Shameless, The Black List, The Following, Homeland, Food Network Star, New Girl… just to name some!) is a nice distraction from reality. A glass of wine never hurts here either!
Ask myself if it really matters. Finally, if I just am harping away at something, I will ask myself if whatever is bothering me will matter tomorrow, in a few months, in a few years, whatever the case may be. Sometimes just that simple question helps put things in perspective. And if it does matter, then I am better able to think about how to handle the situation.
Before I go, I want to share this month’s Dare to Share Campaign. You may remember that last month I teamed up with United Healthcare to promote their March nutrition dares, and since this month’s dares are all related to stress, I thought it would be a nice tie in with today’s stress tips!
With each dare completed, you have the chance to win a prize! This month’s prizes include a vibrating massage chair for taking the stress management quiz, a $400 prepaid gift card for watching the ways to relieve stress video, or a GoPro Hero 3 camera (great for outdoor activities) for sharing your laughter moments on social media with #LaughOutLoudWDY. Good luck!
Readers, let’s chat! What are your most common sources of stress? What are your go to ways to reduce stress? Married readers, what was the most stressful part of wedding planning for you? What’s something you are trying NOT to stress about right now?
I am trying not to stress that I’m going on day EIGHT of being sick! I finally went to the walk in clinic last night, so here’s to hoping the amoxicillin and Mucinex kick in STAT! I have a fun night planned tomorrow to celebrate BRIDGET’S ENGAGEMENT (!!!), and I refuse to let this stupid congestion ruin it.