Lovelies, I hope you’re all doing ok. We’re taking a break from our usual content today to share some advice from the mental health experts at Bupa. So many of you have had to postpone wedding dates until 2021, and I know some of you are even changing your wedding plans: scaling down guest lists and doing things differently. It’s hard. It’s really hard. I’ve been trying to keep blog content light hearted and positive to lift spirits, but for those of you who are struggling these tips from Fatmata Kamara, Specialist Nurse Adviser at Bupa UK, might help you.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that many couples who had planned their dream wedding this year have had to postpone or cancel their upcoming nuptials. This is inevitably a stressful time for brides and grooms-to-be; especially with the uncertainty around postponing your big day, and the challenges of finding a new date that all your loved ones can attend.
Wedding planning in itself is stressful, so having to re-arrange your big day may leave many couples feeling even more stressed or anxious. Too much stress, especially over a long period of time, can affect you both physically and mentally.
Everyone reacts to stress differently, and it how you show it will depend on your personality and how you respond to pressure. Some people might not even realise they’re stressed but, if you’re experiencing mood swings, feeling overwhelmed or emotional, you may be suffering from it. You may also find yourself constantly worrying or feeling disappointed in yourself, have trouble sleeping, or experience headaches or chest pains.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, here are some tips and advice on how to deal with the stress of postponing your upcoming wedding. If the symptoms are on-going or affecting your health, speak to your GP.
Accept the things you can’t change
There’s a lot beyond our control right now, and although that can be difficult to accept; practicing acceptance and self-compassion may help to let go of the stresses you can’t control, freeing up energy and making space in your mind.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, pause for a moment and focus your attention on your breathing. Breathe normally and count up to ten slowly. Once you reach ten, take a breath in before slowly breathing out. Getting some oxygen into your bloodstream helps your body calm down, as does concentrating on slowing down your breathing.
Talking is good therapy, and if you’re feeling stressed, it can help to reach out and speak to someone you trust. Whether it’s your partner, relative or friend, having someone listen to you and care about you can be a source of comfort and relief.
The stress of finding a new date or venue for your wedding can take its toll. Take some time out, and do something that you enjoy, perhaps knitting, sewing, exercise, reading a book or watching a film. Taking time to do something you enjoy will release happy chemicals and give your mind respite from your thoughts – a rest from inside your head can change your perspective and ease any anxious thoughts.
Adopt relaxation techniques
One of our mind’s favourite things to do is to dwell on the past or worry about the future. But try to look at what’s happening around you and in your own life in the present: this can help you make the most of opportunities that come your way and can help to reduce stress and worry. A great way to learn to live in the present moment is to start practising mindfulness. The very act of noticing, being open and curious, and not judging, brings you into the present.
If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, try to notice what’s around you; listing five things you can see, hear or touch can help to relax you.
Lead a healthy lifestyle
Whilst you’re feeling stressed, it’s important to try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet means eating food from a variety of food groups to get the energy and nutrients that your body needs. There’s no one type of food that can provide all the nutrients a human body needs – so it’s important that we eat a wide range of foods.
As a rule, aim for at least five portions of fruit and veg, alongside high-fibre starchy foods like potatoes, brown rice or pasta. Likewise ensure that you’re getting sufficient protein and steering away from foods high in sugar or saturated fats.
Stress and sleep loss are often interlinked – most of us have experienced the classic scenario of waking up in the night and struggling to get back to sleep because you’ve started worrying about something. Get into a routine to ease your mind before bed by switching off your electronic devices, dimming the lights and having a hot bath. Everyone’s idea of relaxation is different, so try to find activities that unwind your body and relax your mind.
Exercise helps to reduce stress hormones and stimulate the release of feel-good hormones in your body. Exercise can also help raise your self-esteem and reduce anxiety; it can even help you sleep better. If you’re not feeling up to a structured workout, try to head out for a walk outside instead.