Planning a wedding in six months? A mental health expert shares how to reduce planxiety
A guest post from Glenys Jackson, Clinical Lead for Mental Health from Bupa UK. Header photo by Hendo Wang on Unsplash
Are you feeling overwhelmed planning your wedding? You’re not alone, it’s more common than you think. There’s so much to oversee in the run-up to the big day that most couples feel some stress and anxiety through their wedding planning process.
According to Google search analysis, many more couples are looking to reduce the time it takes to plan a wedding. Since the beginning of 2022, we’ve seen average monthly searches for ‘planning a wedding in six months’ more than triple.
Planning a wedding in six months can have many advantages but putting lots of pressure on yourself over such a short time period can also be extremely challenging. For couples feeling the stress, Glenys Jackson, Clinical Lead for Mental Health at Bupa UK, shares her top tips for reducing wedding planxiety ahead of your big day.
1. How anxiety affects your body
Generalised anxiety can affect your mind and body, how we think and feel, causing both physical and emotional changes. As you plan your wedding, it’s important to take note of when the symptoms of anxiety are starting to affect your wellbeing, especially when you’re under a lot of stress.
Physical signs of anxiety can include:
- Constant exhaustion
- Trouble sleeping
- Muscle tiredness, soreness and pain
- Stomach discomfort
- Heart palpitations
- Nervous sweating
Effects on your mind can include:
- Feeling emotional or tearful more than usual
- Having a sense of dread, or fearing the worst
- Craving reassurance from other people in the fear you’ve upset them with your decisions
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling tense, nervous or unable to relax
2. Share how you’re feeling
No matter how hard we try to control our thoughts and feelings, they can sometimes be too overwhelming to cope with alone. Even the thought of sharing what’s going on in your head with someone else can be scary, but it can go a long way into helping you understand your feelings and why your body is reacting in a certain way.
Talking to someone you trust to share what you’re going through can offer you a different perspective – and they may even be able to offer practical advice to help you cope. They might not have all the answers, but sometimes just saying your feelings out loud or writing them down can make you feel better.
If you do feel scared about opening up to someone, it’s completely understandable. Try these helpful tips:
- Identify your feelings and emotions – take a moment to self-reflect, start by asking yourself: “what am I noticing, feeling, or thinking?” and focus on the sensations in your body as you have these thoughts.
- Talk to the right person at the right time – it’s a good idea to choose someone who’s open, a good listener, understanding and empathetic. Pick a time and place with a relaxed ambiance where you can have privacy and no distractions.
- Practice – write down what you’d like to say to help you to remember what you want to share in as much detail as you want. Read it out loud a few times until the words begin to flow and you start to feel more comfortable about putting a voice to your feelings.
3. Understand how you best unwind
Practising regular relaxation techniques can help keep you healthy, in both body and mind as you plan. Even if you only have five minutes, there are easy ways to relax:
- Breathing exercises – one of the simplest relaxation strategies and can calm your body and mind anywhere, anytime. Following guided videos can be a great way to help you get started.
- Muscle relaxation – when we’re stressed, tension can build in our muscles. Remembering to unwind through stretching, taking a bath or practicing yoga can help to release physical tension and help us feel relaxed. Get crafty – mindful colouring, painting, knitting or crocheting – the choice is yours.
- Mindfulness – a meditative approach that can help reduce stress and learn the art of being present in the current moment – comprises of lots of little changes that can help make a big difference to our day-to-day wellbeing. Try our one month of mindfulness calendar to help get you started.
4. Delegate tasks
Understandably, you’ll want to ensure that your wedding is as perfect as it can be. However, taking on more tasks than you can handle at one time can be damaging to your wellbeing.
When your to-do list feels endless, delegating tasks and letting go of some control may feel really difficult, so it can be good to start by letting others help with some of your smaller tasks. This will reduce time spent on planning and allow you more time to spend time on yourself and your partner.
You’ll be surprised how much friends and family will feel special and willing to help if you ask them to help you and be involved.
5. Limit your time on social media
Social media can be a great way to communicate with your guests in the run up to your wedding, along with being a great source of inspiration. However, it can also make it easy to compare yourself to others and feel pressure to push yourself in ways you weren’t originally planning to. Once something is booked, cross it off your list, give your finger scrolling a rest and save your energy.
Remember that each wedding is different in its own way. Reflecting on what’s important to you and your partner is the most important thing – not replicating what you see on social media.
6. Remember that you’re allowed to take time away from planning
Wedding tasks can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to squeeze it into your already busy lifestyle. It may be useful to treat wedding planning as you do your job – set aside time each day or week to work on your wedding tasks. When that time is up, make sure you switch off and take time away from it to spend time with the people you love and to do activities you enjoy, until the next time you have set aside.
Time blocking your wedding tasks will help you be more efficient and will help to reduce your stress and anxiety.
7. Don’t forget that help is out there
Experiencing anxiety over such an intense period may feel debilitating. If you’re struggling to open up to those close to you, there are lots of free resources filled with advice and tips to help you cope with anxiety.
Don’t forget that you can always make an appointment with a GP to share how you’re feeling and get some help. The earlier you seek help with anxiety, the better, so don’t delay if you’re struggling.