Planning a wedding can be as full of emotion as the wedding day itself. Many people truly underestimate the amount of time it takes, how much money it costs, and the stressors it adds to your relationships because most people have never planned a big event at this point in their lives. In my 11 years as an event planner, I cannot count how many parents would admit to me that weddings have turned into something much larger than they experienced as a young adult. Feeling overwhelmed at some point in the wedding planning process is pretty normal and it’s important to have ways to overcome those moments when they happen.
Anxiety has become the number one mental health issue in North America. It’s estimated that one third of the North American adult population experiences anxiety unwellness issues.¹
If you don’t have anxiety yourself, you know someone who does, and women are twice as likely to be afflicted than men. [I] believe the number of men who struggle with generalized anxiety is much higher because many don’t report it to their doctors.¹ It can range from feeling unsettled to feeling completely overwhelmed (or worse) on a normal day. Now let’s go ahead and add the task of planning a wedding on top of it. The wedding planning checklist alone is enough to throw the most level-headed bride into a minor panic. If we also add money issues, family drama, all the opinions, and alcohol into the mix and it’s a wonder more people aren’t on Valium!
It doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s talk about 5 ways to overcome overwhelm WITHOUT the use of drugs, alcohol, or screen time (a.k.a. avoidance).
- Express Your Emotions. We’ve been conditioned as a society to view certain emotions as “good” and other emotions as “bad.” In truth, no emotion is good or bad, they are simply forms of expression based on your thoughts. When we conceal our emotions, we shove them down into our bodies and that trapped energy can affect the way our bodies function. If we’re stressed and exhausted, we usually don’t work out. If we’re angry, we can feel our body tightening and the tension instantly appears. When we’re busy and overwhelmed, sometimes we drink way too many grande iced lattes instead of eating whole foods and drinking plenty of water. So start by finding a safe space to express your emotion, whether it’s in your car, in your bedroom, or in the middle of nowhere. Once you find that space, let it out. Give yourself permission to cry, scream, rant… whatever comes up for you is fine. Just let it out and then let it go.
- Breathe and Move. Once you’ve allowed yourself to release that trapped emotion, breathe and move. This is the part where you go for a run, get back to your yoga mat, crank up the radio and dance your butt off. Moving your body moves the energy out of your system. Breathing deeply helps you to relax, lowers your blood pressure, relieves stress, and keeps you centered. It also brings you into this moment. It’s only when you’re too focused on the future that you feel anxious. It’s only when you’re too focused on past mistakes that you feel guilt. Focusing on what is happening right now will allow you to realize that everything is going to be OK.
- Self Care. Honey, when’s the last time you took a bath? I’m talking about an Epsom salt bath with a good book where you just relax. When’s the last time you went for a walk or a hike? Made your favorite meal? Bought yourself flowers? Took a nap in the middle of the day? When is the last time you took time to do something that YOU wanted to do and I’m not talking about playing Candy Crush or scrolling through Instagram? If you immediately think you “don’t have time” that’s EXACTLY why you need to prioritize this step. We all have exactly the same number of hours in the day to use, so cut down your screen time and open space in your day to enjoy your life. Oh and drink plenty of water. Seriously. That stuff will give you life.
- Get Organized. Sometimes we feel completely overwhelmed because there is so much that needs to be done and we’re on a deadline. I completely get it. We feel overwhelmed because we don’t know where to start. This is when it’s time for a good ole brain dump! Grab that pretty little notebook and your favorite color pen. Sit down and write out every single thing that you need to do. Keep writing until you can safely say that you are finished. Once you feel complete, look over that list and choose one thing, only one, to do. Viewing your to-do list as a list of things you choose to do versus things you have to do releases a lot of self-imposed pressure. I find it best to choose the absolute easiest thing to do first. Maybe it’s “take out the trash.” BOOM! Check it off. Now choose one more thing, just one, and do it. Keep going until you’ve checked off five things. Then stop. Tomorrow, work on five more things. If you really get on a roll, and you’re feeling good, by all means, keep going. This is one more exercise in staying present. We only get overwhelmed when our minds are living in the future. You cannot do anything in the future. You can only do something right now.
- Oil up. Sometimes this is my first step, other times this is my only step. Grab an essential oil, put a drop in your hands, rub your hands together, cup your hands over your nose and inhale. Tests have shown oils reach the heart, liver, and thyroid in three seconds when inhaled. They have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and work on your emotions via the limbic system in your brain. They help release emotional trauma as well as relax and clear the mind. Essential oils are made up of different constituents: monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and phenols. Phenols clean and repair receptor sites while sesquiterpenes bring oxygen to the brain. The oils that work best for your emotions are those that are high in sesquiterpenes: Cedarwood, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Black Pepper, Patchouli, Myrrh, Ginger, Frankincense, Lavender.² Some of my other favorites to use when life gets overwhelming are Stress Away, Peace and Calming, Valor, Hope, and Believe. I use and recommend Young Living essential oils for one reason: purity. Why can’t you just buy oils at the grocery store? Purity. You get what you pay for. I have seen bottles of Frankincense for $7 at the grocery store—but it costs more than that just to distill! It’s a red flag that the oil has been adulterated. To learn more about essential oils, please visit my website at www.amyhudson.co.
If you are struggling, you are not alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength. People love witnessing someone be vulnerable, but avoid showing vulnerability themselves. The fact of the matter is showing vulnerability by expressing your emotions allows for deeper connections with those you love. That requires bravery on your part. Working with these five steps will not only help you overcome the overwhelm that can accompany wedding planning, but also help you live a more fulfilling life. Your life is blossoming right now. Consider this transitional time of going from “single” to “married” to be your chance to grow as a person. After all, your beautiful wedding is just one day in your beautiful life.
¹ Source: www.anxietycentre.com
² Source: ESSENTIAL OILS & THE BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER by David Stewart, Ph.D., R.A. – http://www.rdelia.com/files/114933/Essentialoilsandthebloodbrainbarrier.pdf