6 Diverse Ways to Deal With Planning Stress

How to get a handle on stressful situations.

Written by: Deborah Anderson PhD

Planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful time periods in your life. Don’t be fooled by the fact that you’re happy to be getting married. Positive stressful events can be just as distressing as negative ones

Planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful time periods in your life. Don’t be fooled by the fact that you’re happy to be getting married. Positive stressful events can be just as distressing as negative ones. In fact marriage was listed as the 7th most stressful major life event in one study (death of a spouse and divorce ranked 1st and 2nd on the list, while pregnancy ranked 12th highest).When you are planning a wedding, it often seems that many of the little details and decisions cannot be taken care of until the last few days before the big day.

One of the things I found most overwhelming when I was getting married was to have to make so many decisions about so many things, some of which I cared about and some of which were unimportant to me but I had to think about anyway. In theory it seems like fun to have to pick out items for a registry or to plan a dinner menu from a selection of many choices, but after months of this, I was in “I don’t care anymore” mode. The second time-related pressure is the length of time between engagement and ceremony (months to years). That’s a long time and a lot of energy to be focusing on one event and it can be easy to lose perspective.

So now that you’re all stressed out planning your wedding -- or thinking about planning a wedding -- here are some suggestions for combating wedding-related (and other life) stressors:

Delegate

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your spouse-to-be, family, friends or a wedding planner. Even if you want the final say, ask others to help research your options.

Take a break

Have a no-wedding day where the topic of the wedding is off limits! Talk about anything else. Go to a movie or play. Do an activity together that you enjoyed when you first started dating.

Break larger tasks into manageable chunks

There are many wedding resources that provide timelines and to-do lists to help you to space out your tasks so that you’re not left with a big list last minute.

Keep things in perspective

Pick your battles and prioritize what elements are the most important to you. Let the rest go and surrender control where you don’t have it (which is basically everything but yourself).

Nurture the body and mind

Good nutrition, sleep and exercise will do wonders. Besides helping you to look great in your dress or tux, exercise helps to burn off excess adrenaline in the body and it can boost your serotonin levels in the brain to keep your mood positive. Think about adding some yoga or meditation to your routine. Stress hampers your immune system so keeping as relaxed and balanced as possible will decrease the likelihood that you’ll get ill, have acne break- outs or cold sores rearing their ugly heads on your special day!

Breathe

I’m talking specifically about a technique called diaphrag- matic breathing, which means to breathe from the gut. The basic technique goes like this: Close your mouth. Inhale deeply from the nose and think about pulling your breath all the way down into your abdomen. Pause. Then slowly exhale through the nose. If you are doing this correctly, you should feel most of the movement in your abdomen and little in your chest and shoulders. It may take a while to master the technique so don’t give up if it feels difficult or unusual at the beginning. Practice makes perfect. Once you learn this technique you can use it in all kinds of stress-provoking situations to bring your body back into balance. For example, it may come in very handy while walking down the aisle, saying your vows, making a toast, etc!

Ideally your wedding day will be one of the most fun and memorable days of your life. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the minor details, family dynamics, or uncontrollable factors so that you are too overwhelmed to enjoy it. The china in your registry or the linens on the banquet tables will hopefully play a minor role in the big scheme of your life. Focus on the most important thing – you’re about to start a new chapter in your life with the person you love.

Opening photograph by STAK Photography