We are really excited to have this expert on UBB for this post and a few more as she shares with us wisdom and tools to help with the entire wedding process! Mariah is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and yoga teacher based in the Salt Lake City, UT. She owns a small private therapy practice where she works specifically with young adults navigating significant life transitions (getting married is one of the biggest transitions we go through)! She has spent years studying stress (often in the form of anxiety) and determining ways to help people navigate through it. One of the unique things about her practice is that she uses yoga in combination with mental health therapy to help strengthen the mind body connection. If you notice yourself being overwhelmed by stress or anxiety, reach out, she can help you!
There is no doubt that wedding planning is stressful. I remember feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and irritable before my wedding. Managing stress effectively is critical to making the time you spend planning your wedding a positive one for you and your partner so that you look back and remember the joy and happiness you felt.
Here are 5 simple tips to help manage stress during wedding planning:
Keep your body healthy: Many mental health therapists believe that physical health fuels mental health. The top things to focus on are getting enough exercise, eating healthy, and good quality sleep. Focusing on your body’s needs and basic health will provide you with the energy to keep your stress at bay. Make yourself a priority because it is easy to get consumed by your stress.
Find Balance: Living a balanced life is one of the greatest challenges our society faces today. During times of stress it’s easy to lose sight of what is important (i.e. our relationships, passions, goals, and values). I always suggest that my clients get a weekly calendar and plan their week out on Sunday. Be sure to plan enough time each day for self-care activities (meditation, yoga, exercise, time with friends, hiking, reading, etc).
Don’t believe everything you think: Thoughts are just THOUGHTS, not facts. Our minds get very creative during high stress times, including wedding planning. We may notice thoughts like “My wedding will never be as good as my friends”, “I am going to be the worst bride/groom”, “No one will like my dress/suit”, “nobody even cares about the wedding”, and other similar unhelpful thoughts. A helpful tool to deal with unhelpful thoughts is putting the words “I am having the thought that”… in front of every anxious thought you have. For example, instead of thinking my wedding is not going to be fun, tell yourself, I am having the thought that my wedding is not going to be fun.
Be mindful: Mindfulness is paying attention to what is happening in the present moment, noticing when and where your mind may wander and bringing it back to the present. Stress is most commonly found when we are paying attention to everything but the present moment. Stress comes when we are too focused on what if’s, which are typically things we have no control of. When you feel overwhelmed try one of the three easy mindfulness exercises:
- 4, 5, 4 Breath: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, and then exhale for 4 seconds. Repeat this process 5 times while focusing your attention specifically to your breath.
- Sense Mapping: Focus on each of your senses and identify 3 different things for each. Notice three things you see, three things you can hear, three things you can smell, three things you can taste, and three things you can touch.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Flex your feet, and then release the tension in your feet. Flex your calves, and then release the tension in your calves. Continue moving up your body ending the exercise with your facial muscles.
Yoga: Try these four grounding postures. Take at least 5 full deep inhales and exhales in each posture.
- Childs Pose: Big toes touch, knees out wide, walk your hands forward, and rest your forehead onto a yoga block or blanket.
- Seated forward fold: Wiggle around and find a comfortable seat with your legs extended out long in front of you hip width distance apart, flex your toes up, and on an exhale round forward.
- Downward Facing Dog: Plant your palms into the mat/ground, lift your hips high, feet are hip width distance apart, allow your chest to melt closer to your legs as your exhale.
- Legs up the Wall (option to use a block or blanket at the base of your tailbone for added length): Recline back, rest your palms down at your sides, lift your legs up, and flex your toes towards your nose, wiggle out your legs here, and then straighten them long.
Learning how to handle stress effectively can significantly improve quality of life. Throughout life there will be numerous up’s and down’s, its how we handle them that matters. Marriage is a beautiful time in any couples life, slow down and enjoy the moment.
Cheers, Mariah Rist, MSW, LCSW, 200 RYT
@soulshineslc (follow on instagram for daily mental health tips!)