Hello, wise brides, how are you? So I thought within the WiseBrides blog it would be useful to have some of the very talented people I have met on my own journey to offer their own specialist insight to their dedicated fields of expertise. Our first feature, is from the very talented Eleni Constanti, who, as a counsellor herself, is here offering perspective and some useful advise around one aspect of wedding planning which often gets overlooked: the enormous stress of it all!
The pressure is on! This could be one of the biggest days of your life, and all eyes are on you, not just as the bride, centre-stage, but as one of the main organisers of the event itself. The food, the music, the decorations, the venue, and of course, the dress…even if you are lucky enough to have had someone else organise the logistics for you, your tastes and opinions are still on show, for all your nearest and dearest to see and (hopefully not but let’s face it we all have that one aunty) judge.
Now I have had the privilege of accompanying many friends (and sister) on their wedding day, and I have seen for myself what can happen if you reach that tipping point between nervous excitement, and feeling like you can’t do it. Bridal tantrums and ‘bridezillas’ are some of the less flattering stereotypes about how this can manifest, but don’t let those stereotypes dismiss what you are genuinely feeling.
They call it The Big Day for a reason: it is a big day! Even the smallest, most casual weddings involve multiple jobs which need to be ticked off the list, even if you are literally just booking a date to get your licence and sign the register. And the bigger the do, and especially the bigger the family (there will be a whole other article dedicated to how to cope with your family at your wedding - keep an eye out!) the more there is to organise. I’m not here to tell you how to organise your time (my advise would be let Kat do that for you!) I am here to remind you not to leave yourself – and your partner – off the list of things to attend to during this busy time.
By that I mean allowing yourself some time to catch your breath, and to review and reflect. Of course, in my line of work I would recommend that we all make time for this on a regular basis, but it is particularly important during busy times and stressful times. And as you’ve probably already discovered, weddings can tick both of those boxes. So, what can you do to alleviate some of the pressure?
My advice is to attempt some mindfulness and meditation to keep the stress at bay. Now, my wise modern brides, please don’t be put off by the terminology: you do not need hours of chanting, yoga pants or incense in order to benefit from these ancient practices. For, ancient though they may be, there’s a reason they are seeing a huge resurgence in our modern age, and despite all the snazzy variations available today (apps, workshops, etc.) all you really need, is five minutes, and a chair..........When you are starting to feel like it’s all getting on top of you, I encourage you – to put it all down for five minutes and try this little exercise.
Sit in a chair. You’ll need to set a timer for five minutes, but apart from that, switch off any other notifications on your phone (trust me the world can cope without you checking your phone for five minutes) Now, close your eyes and breathe, slowly, in and out. It might not sound like much, but I promise you, five minutes is a long time when all you’re doing is breathing. Breathe in while you count to three, then count to three as you breathe out. After a few of those, see if you can count to four on your out-breath, taking a little longer to let go. Think to yourself that you are taking in calmness as you breathe in, and letting stress go as you breathe out.
And that, wise brides, is the most basic form of relaxation I can offer you. Slowing your breathing will slow your heart rate, and switching everything off for five minutes and dedicating that little widow of time just to yourself will quiet your mind,. You can do it every day, or only when you feel the need. Crucially, you can do it the night before, and the morning of, your Big Day. If you can add some nice relaxing aromas via candles, incense, or essential oils, then all the better. If you have a favourite scarf or blanket you can wrap around yourself for extra comfort, add that in too. If you have more than five minutes then use it!
A common misconception about meditation is that you are supposed to “clear your mind.” This isn’t actually true, and it certainly isn’t a helpful idea, because what will often happen instead is that, lots of thoughts and feelings which are usually vying for your attention might now have the chance to be heard. This is not a bad thing. This is actually a large, and I would say crucial element of talking therapies like counselling: allowing time and space to see what bubbles up. Rest assured, it’s part of the process, and you’re not “doing your meditation wrong” if your mind isn’t some sort of blissfully blank oasis. With this in mind, keep a pen and paper next you while you do the exercise, so that you can jot down anything important you’ve remembered which needs to be actioned later. Then once it’s out of your head and down on the paper, close your eyes and get back to your breathing until your five minutes is up. And I do mean pen and paper, you’re your phone/tablet/laptop/wedmin (wedding admin) spread sheets, are all wonderful instruments for connectivity, but also for distraction, and the absolute crux of mindfulness is focusing on doing just one thing at a time. This is after all..... all about you
To hear more tips and advise on mindfulness visit https://www.eleniconstanticounselling.com/