When you first embarked on your wedding-planning journey, you might not have imagined it to be so stressful. After all, when you think about stressful times in life, you'll probably think back to some of the less joyful times, such as breakups, losing a job, or the death of a loved one. But, as Amy Kosh, life coach and founder of An Unstoppable Life, points out, some of the most wonderful moments in life come with their own stressors, too—and getting married is certainly among them. "No matter what our brain thinks of an event, our body react to excitement and anxiety with the same set of responses—a rise in heart rate, restricted breathing, tense muscles, and so forth," she explains. "But this stress is not good for us and, in long-term circumstances, has a wide-range of detrimental effects on the body from lowering the immune system to increased blood pressure." To help relieve wedding-related stress, they these expert-approved tips for managing the chaos.
Take Deep Breaths
Though this might sound too simple to be effective, it's one of the oldest tricks in the stress-busting book. "By exhaling, you trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, the part of our nervous system that exists to help us feel calm and peaceful," explains Kosh. "Exhaling deeply (and following it up with three rounds of breathing deeply and slowly) will help open your bold vessels, aid you in feeling calmer and also help you digest everything that's going on."
Stay Focused on the Meaning of the Event
With so many details to juggle, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the decisions falling onto your plate. But Aimee Bernstein, a psychotherapist, executive coach, mindfulness-in-action teacher, and author of Stress Less Achieve More, urges brides and grooms to remember that this event is about the two of them and the love they share. "It is about two souls coming together to grow and create a future together—don't let yourself get distracted with anything else," she says. "When you do, just say 'cancel, cancel' and imagine you are changing the channel in your mind from a soap opera to PBS and bring your attention back to what really matters."
Remember Why You You Want to Get Married
It's not abnormal for your wedding-day excitement to sometimes turn to fear and anxiety. When these emotions develop, Bernstein recommends setting aside time to write a list of all the things you love about your spouse-to-be. "Write down the big things, like the way he always has your back, his kindness, and intelligence, to the small things, like the way he sings in the shower and his generosity when he tips," she says. "As you shift from the negative stories in your head to your heart, your fear will dissipate and the great gift of love life has given you will be affirmed."
Delegate as Much as You Can
Though you might not love the idea of giving up control of your wedding-day plans, your friends and family are there to help you—especially if you have bridesmaids, you shouldn't hesitate to give them responsibility to lessen your plate. Kosh suggests making a short action list of what needs to be done and then delegating anything you don't absolutely have to do yourself.
Increase Your Water Intake
The one thing most of us forget to do when we're busy and under stress is to drink enough water. "Hydration helps our body function most efficiently and during periods of stress we want to be at our best," says Kosh. "Hydration also promoted cardiovascular health and helps muscles and joints work better so by making sure you stay hydrated with clean, fresh water you are doubling up on clearing stress from your body."
Create a Simple Action List Each Day
Each day, Kosh recommends listing the next three actions you need to take in order to move closer to your goal. "For each day, list only the next the things that need to happen, and then be cure to check them off when they get done," she says. "This increases a feeling of accomplishment and by celebrating each step forward you actually help reduce the body's stress response even further."