As your wedding day gets closer, there’s always things to remember and things to do. Add in all the excitement and emotion and it’s easy to see why things can sometimes get a little bit tense. If you’re starting to worry, stop right now! We’ve spoken to wellness coach Jeannie Di Bon for her healthy wedding tips so read on if you want to know how to relax before your wedding day.
Things to remember if you want to stay relaxed
“All brides want their day to be ‘perfect’, but that word alone can bring a huge amount pressure,” says Jeannie. “It’s important to remember that your wedding is a special day for you and your partner. It isn’t about impressing other people. Bring the focus back to you.”
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We’ve already mentioned the ever-present wedding to-do list and one of Jeannie’s best stress-free wedding tips explains how to get this under control:
“Another common source of stress is feeling overwhelmed by to-do lists that can seem endless. The best way to organise your list is to ‘chunk it’. The brain naturally finds it easier to work in compartments rather than long lists with lots of disconnected pieces so scrap the big list and think in chunks.”
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“Separate the things you need to do into categories such as flowers, clothes, food, venue, honeymoon and so on. Write the title of each category on the right-hand side of your paper and circle it so your attention is drawn there. On the left-hand side, write the actions which correspond to each category. You’ll end up with a series of short, specific lists, rather than one long, intimidating one. This makes it easier for your brain to process, and immediately your stressful to-do list will seem a lot less daunting.”
Jeannie also suggests giving yourselves the ultimate pre-wedding treat that’s guaranteed to relax you without spending any money at all – a digital detox:
“If at all possible, I recommend you have a digital detox for the whole weekend. If a weekend seems too hard, try a day to start with! Switch off your phones, your tablets, and any other gadgets, on Friday night, and don’t turn them back on until Monday morning. Spend the whole weekend together – without distraction. Enjoy spending your time together, away from the noise and stress, and the other things constantly vying for your attention.”
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“This will have a huge number of benefits in terms of stress: it will allow you to connect with yourself and with each other, and will slow the pace of life down a little, allowing you space to think and breathe. Give your brain a digital detox – it reduces stress and brings a healthy balance back to life. It also allows you to think clearly, so that decision you’ve been putting off about the dress, or the flowers, or the seating plan, will be that much easier when you eventually switch your phone back on!”
It’s all too easy when you’re busy to reach for sugary snacks and call out for takeaway but what you eat will definitely impact how you feel. Jeannie explains how diet is essential for a stress-free wedding:
“Diet is a huge player in terms of stress and relaxation, for a number of reasons. Stress releases certain hormones into the body. These hormones can push us towards those ‘comfort foods’ before we realise what’s going on. Then we feel bad for having eaten a whole chocolate bar or tub of ice cream, so we feel even more stressed! This can easily turn into a vicious cycle; the best way to prevent this cycle from getting started is to get to know the impact stress has on your body. This way you are prepared to handle it, rather than letting it take over.”
“Stress can also shut down your desire to eat in the short term. This is definitely not a good thing either as, without food, the body becomes depleted of all those essential nutrients you need to look and feel great on your big day. It is so important not to skip meals, even if you aren’t feeling hungry. You can have a smaller portion, but make sure you have enough to keep your energy levels up.”
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“If stress persists, the adrenal glands begin release a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol increases appetite and our motivation to eat. On top of this, stress will also affect our food preferences, increasing desire for foods high in fat, sugar or both. We can therefore overeat because these types of foods cause cravings as well.”
“Apart from overeating, stressed people will also sleep less, drink more alcohol and exercise less – all of which makes us feel more stressed and more likely to potentially gain weight.”
Jeannie’s healthy wedding tips include these foods which can really help you stay calm and in control before your wedding:
1. Foods which contain vitamin B6, which helps balance hormones and acts as a natural anti-depressant. Foods which contain plenty of vitamin B6 include bananas, peppers, broccoli, asparagus, lentils and salmon.
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2. Foods with vitamin C: vitamin C helps in the process of making anti-stress hormones in your body. Foods rich in vitamin C include strawberries, kiwi fruit, oranges, melons, tomatoes, and broccoli.
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Iron-rich foods – iron is vital for energy production – including almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans, prunes, and raisins.
3. Any foods which contain plenty of magnesium, which is great for muscle relaxation and helps with insomnia, nervousness, depression, and lack of appetite. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, green peas, raisons, buckwheat flour, and potato skin are all good sources of magnesium.
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“Try to avoid foods which are high in processed fat and or processed sugar. These foods cause your blood sugar to spike dramatically, which then causes food cravings. These foods are also empty calories and not going to provide you with any nutrients that are beneficial to your health. When you aren’t stressed, you are going to be much less likely to reach for these foods; to prevent yourself from craving them, start at the source of the problem and deal directly with the root causes of your stress.”
Ways to relax before your wedding
If you need a quick fix for pre-wedding relaxation, here are Jeannie’s top tips:
1. Practicing gratitude: for three minutes, think of three things you are grateful for.
2. Breathing awareness: take just five minutes to sit quietly, and put your hands on your belly and feel the rise and fall of your inhale and exhale. This quiet observation of the breath has been proven to start the relaxation response in the body immediately. It slows the heart rate down, calms the nervous system, and releases muscle tension.
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3. Write down anything that is bothering you; this always helps to get whatever it is out of your head, where things often seem bigger and scarier than they are. If possible, talk to someone about what is stressing you as well. If something is bothering you, don’t bottle it up.
4. Get outside for just a few minutes. If you are at work, try to look at something from nature: the sky, trees, birds. Take the focus away internally, and bring it outside. Again, this helps to make things seem smaller and less daunting.
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5. Sleep – Jeannie recommends 7-9 hours a night. Do not stay up late planning or watching TV. Sleep is essential for relaxation and reorganising the brain. There’s a reason why things always look clearer in the morning!
6. The bride should also have some ‘me time’. Jeannie suggests an aromatherapy massage. These are fantastic for relaxation – oils such as lavender, geranium and ylang ylang are all excellent for stress relief and tension release. You could certainly book a couple’s massage too!
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Such great advice from Jeannie there – we’re feeling calmer already! If you’d like to read more healthy weddings tips, take a look at what to eat before your wedding day.