Pre-Wedding Stress? 2 Ways To De-Stress (In 1 Minute Or Less)
Feeling the frisson of excitement bubble over from mere butterflies to that slightly sick in the stomach feeling as you get closer to your big day? Here are 2 ways for you to stop the butterflies from turning into anything more than gentle happy flutters - and they can both be done in 1 minute, or less!
You have dreamt of this day since your childhood, and odds are that you want to realise your dream to near perfection. But that can cause pressure.
My first piece of advice to you is to take some of the pressure off yourself! Your day will turn out exactly as it should do!
Remember Phoebe and Mike’s wedding in Friends? Their wedding got cancelled last minute due to a snow storm. They didn’t let the weather decide their day’s fate, though, and they made the best out of an unplanned situation. They got married on the street in the snow surrounded by those they held close to their hearts. Sure, not everyone who was invited could make it, but that made for an all the more small-ish, adorable winter wedding.
Now, I am not saying that your feelings of stress are invalid, in fact, they are very real, and no TV crew is there to make it all easy for you.
So let's look at what you can realistically do with the little time you have between all the things you need to get done.
What is wedding stress?
Stress generally is the body's response to a threatening or dangerous stimulus or thought. These are known as stressors.
When we are stressed the body’s fight or flight system is activated to make sure we are ready for the incoming danger. This response was obviously very useful to our ancestors who would go out hunting and come face to face with a threatening animal say.
In our modern life, a lot of our stressors tend to be thought based.
Like: How am I going to get all of my work done in time? How am I supposed to make sure that the wedding is going to be perfect? If the flowers don’t arrive on time we’re doomed, you can’t have a wedding without flowers! And so on....
You are formulating danger in your mind!
There are two types of stress, known as: acute stress and chronic stress.
Acute stress refers to a short-term stressor, which you can cope with, where there is a recovery period after the stressful event, where your body has time to re-regulate it’s cortisol levels.
Once you and your body recover, this is known as an acute stress response, which is healthy and useful.
BUT in today’s society everyone is faced with one stressor after another, and another... This means that the body has not got enough time to restore and recover from all of the previous stressors and can lead to a buildup of chronic stress in the body. This can cause a multitude of problems in your body and mind - and chronic stress.
As you are heading into an additional stressful period such as wedding planning, your mind and body will get even less time to restore, just when they need it more.
If you feel an almost constant nervous energy, lack of sleep, feeling brain fog or reacting irritably, it's time to do something about your stress.
De-stress Tip 1: Do Yoga
- Reduce feelings of overwhelm
- Reduce levels of stress
- Reduce levels of stress hormones (e.g., cortisol)
- Reduce activation of the sympathetic nervous system
- Improve blood pressure
- Improve physical and muscular tension
Yoga helps balance your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and can be done any time of the day.
Research reviewing 17 randomised control trials has shown that reducing stress may have something to do with the balance between the activation of your autonomic nervous system, which regulates the stress response and your parasympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of the rest response.
This balance you need to achieve de-stressing is referred to as the ‘sympathetic vagal balance’.
Mind-body practices like yoga and meditation effectively balance both nervous systems and reduce stress for those experiencing high levels of stress or even negative emotions.
So, now that we have established that yoga is effective in reducing stress, we should discuss where you can do yoga:
Yoga Idea 1: Yoga Studio
Well, the most obvious answer to this is on this blog is of course: at a yoga studio, such as Unwind. We create a welcoming, friendly, peaceful space for all of our students to relax and unwind.
Our teachers teach multiple ooey, gooey, gentle classes, with difficulty varying depending on where you are along your yoga journey. Every class helps you de-stress.
Time Required: 1 hour plus travel time
Benefits: Every class will allow you to relax fully in the knowledge that a teacher is guiding you through a carefully grafted sequence and will be there for you to ask questions, be adjusted, and led through stages of movement and relaxation.
At Unwind we offer the following classes on a weekly basis (schedule may change):
Unwind students often seek us out in order to de-stress from modern day life. Jas, one of our amazingly active students (several classes per week) says:
‘Living an active life both mentally, as a strategist, and physically through running, cycling, and swimming, my life can feel a little stressful from time to time. Practicing yoga at Unwind Yoga Studio Cookham, has helped me manage my stress levels, I am calmer, I am sleeping better and I am feeling overall more healthier and happier’- Jas
And Lucy: ‘Yoga has taught me how to calm my thoughts and mind when I am busy and stressed in any area of my life’ - Lucy
Yoga Idea 2: On Your Own With A Twist
Not just since we were locked down for many months has online yoga become a thing: YouTube, various apps and online studios, the choice is vast and varied.
Take your chosen device and yoga class and add the twist: head outside!
Not only will this expose you to a great stress soother (aka fresh air) and an extra dose of Vitamin D, but also allows you to ground yourself in nature: Earthing is a way to reconnect yourself to the Earth, and that can be a great stress relief (more on this in a moment)! Take extra moments to dig feet and hands into the grass and breathe freely.
Tip: Take an extra towel and blanket, as well as something to pick up dog poo...seriously, it may come in handy and once the public space is clean you can enjoy it so much more!
Time Required: anything from 10 minutes+
Benefits: No driving to a studio and sticking to a schedule, taking YouTube or an app outside is so easy and accessible. You will not get the guidance by a teacher that may be needed to get you to effectively relax and de-stress, but you will be able to do this almost anywhere and anytime.
Now you may think "Where on earth am I finding time to go to a yoga class between all the wedding planning?".
And that is a very fair question.
So we have also put together a quick, but effective yoga stretch you can do on the go between visiting places during the busy planning period of your wedding.
Yoga Idea 3: On The Go - 1 Minute Car Stretch
Yoga stretches can indeed be done in your car, when you are stationary of course!
So, let's run through 5 steps on how you can stretch in your car:
Stop. Be still for a moment (I know, I know when stressed about wedding planning and being here, there and everywhere, this step can be the most difficult and against your nature in this fast-paced society... but trust us we know what we are doing).
Place your feet on the floor, if you have time to take shoes (and socks) off, do so now.
Press your sit bones into your seat, feel both bum cheeks connect with the surface.
Place your left hand at 10 o’clock on the steering wheel.
Inhale and sweep your right hand under your left arm, and place it on your back.
slide the left hand to 12, maybe to 2 and pretend you want to reach the passenger window with your right fingertips. Inhale.
Feel your right shoulder stretch, exhale.
Change sides, by putting your right hand at 2 o’clock on the steering wheel
While inhaling sweep your left hand under your right arm and feel a stretch in the left shoulder.
Repeat as many times as you need
Time Required: 1 minute
Benefits: Research shows us that taking just 60 seconds to breathe and stretch can switch the brain from fight and flight to a restore response. Doesn't get easier than this!
So, other than yoga how else can you de-stress before your wedding?
De-stress Tip 2: Ground yourself
Grounding may also be referred to as ‘earthing’ which is a technique used to get an individual to return back to the present moment, instead of worrying about the future or ruminating about past events. This can be done by stimulating the senses, such as textures, smells, sound or taste. Earthing may also involve you physically reconnecting to the earth.
How is grounding healing?
Grounding can be a healing experience, as connecting to the earth can help heal the energy within us that breathes life into us all. Some refer to this as conductive energy, vital energy, chi, qi, life force, soul and so on.
Whatever, you call it, this energy is something beyond what we can all see in the physical world. The ability of our life force to flow determines our health and our ability to heal, and grounding can help with this.
In order to be grounded just one of our cells needs to be grounded in order for our whole body to be grounded.
Reconnecting to the earths conductive energy can help our bodies heal, as this energy can help the energy within us flow more effectively.
Grounding in nature
Connecting to the now can be a very relieving experience, especially when stressed out during wedding planning.
A great way to do this is walking bare foot on the grassy earth. I have done this and have found it to be a very calming experience. There is a whole book on grounding and what activities you can do to ground yourself and what activities you can do depending on the weather!
It is thought wearing shoes in nature can be grounding and pleasant, but it doesn’t feel as calming as when we make bare skin contact with the ground.
Find a patch of gentle, soft grass, take your shoes and socks off, touching the grass and soil with your feet. How does it makes you feel?
I recommend to those of you in need of a stress detox to go out for a walk to a pretty landscape, and stand or walk for 5-10 minutes bare foot.
Feeling the cool grass under your feet really does have a magical charm where you can only focus on the present moment. There’s a reason the present is called exactly that. It is life's gift to every human being if they are brave enough to take note of it and be in it!
We only ever have guarantee for the right now.
Another option is to get in touch with water, even if it is just a fingertip, or a full body dip the choice is yours. Touching a natural body of water with any part of the body can feel immensely grounding and healing.
You don’t even necessarily need nature to ground yourself though, sometimes all you need is your mind and imagination:
Grounding meditation: A Summer Healing Meditation
For this practice all you need is a place to lie down on the ground. Don’t feel comfortable just lying on the grass? Fret not! You only need one cell in contact with the ground to be grounded.
Why not lay a blanket on the ground and rest your hand on the earth around it instead?
We recommend that you read this following meditation or record it and play it back to yourself. So, once you have decided what you are going to do, find yourself a comfortable position and listen to the following meditation from the book: The Earth Prescription.
“The next ten minutes are yours to connect with the earth and become the sun. Give yourself a few moments to visualize your body accepting the profound grace of this healing contact. Close your eyes and softly take several deep, slow breaths.
Define an intention for this meditation, such as “To feel more at peace,” “To decrease my pain,” “To feel safer each day,” “To enjoy more energy,” or something else—whatever intention feels right for you, in this moment.
Take several more slow, deep breaths, and when you feel you have centered yourself in the moment, begin to visualize a bright warm light in the center of your chest, radiating from your heart. It’s a little ball of sunshine, a healing, loving light.
Now, with each breath you take, visualize this flowing light pouring slowly throughout every aspect of your body, from the inside out, radiating in all directions.
With every in-breath, feel it increase in energy and intensity, getting brighter and brighter.
With every out-breath, feel your sun radiate further and further outward, enveloping your entire body in a beautifully healing light.
Your heart is the center of this healing sunshine. Growing and growing…providing a gentle, pleasant sensation of being totally covered, from the inside out, with healing, loving light.
Just allow this moment. With each in-breath, feel your heart energy expanding and filling the ball of sunshine with love. With each out-breath, feel the warmth radiate out from your body in all directions.
In your mind’s eye, picture yourself. Picture your entire body, bathed in healing light…perfect in every way, just as it is.
The sun, centered inside of you, full of love.
Feel the gratitude you have for your body for carrying your soul through this life, allowing you all the experiences you have in this lifetime, faithfully supporting you as you live in each moment.
Now picture your loved ones: children and family members and friends in your life, all the people who are positive relationships in your life—all are smiling warmly at you, surrounding you.
Continue to breathe in this bright, loving light, and bring each loved one forward in your mind’s eye, one at a time. As you breathe out, send this loving light from your heart directly into theirs, filling them with this love. See the healing light filling their heart space until it surrounds them completely, just as it did with you, igniting their own inner sunshine in their hearts.
Feel how sharing your heart with them did not diminish your light—rather, it strengthened it the sunny glow around and through you—and it strengthened their heart glow as well.
Be in this moment as much as you can.
Feel gratitude for everyone beneficial in your life, and allow their now-illuminated, glowing presences to encircle you. You are completely surrounded with a ring of glowing, loving suns, all smiling at you from the center of their hearts. This connection mutually strengthens the sunlight radiating from all of you until it is a blinding and pervasive healing light that fills you with pure, positive energy.
There is nowhere you can go today that is not bathed in this healing light. Anything you do today, anywhere you go, and any person you see will be holding an intention of loving health, healing, and joy for you today because you took the time to set this energetic dynamic in motion through this meditation. You are all one in your goal for health, healing, and joy.”
In this beautiful meditation practice you are filling your heart with a loving, healing light that folds around you, only to expand and pushing it out to those around you that you want to include in the ring of sunshine you have created.
This can be one person or multiple, however many you choose is enough and good enough! Remember we must tend to ourselves before filling up other people’s cups with love and kindness.
This type of grounding can take 5 to 30 minutes. Being in a state of relaxation and open attentiveness is the healing state we all could benefit from.
If this meditation was not for you, because it won’t be for everyone, there are many grounding meditations easily accessible on YouTube.
Here are some grounding meditations I like a lot:
American Academy of Mind-Body Healing: 10 Minute Guided Somatic Meditation for Grounding and Centering
Now you can wither away your wedding stress and worries with yoga and grounding, as you pull yourself into the present moment!
If you are interested in yoga sessions here at Unwind Yoga Studio, please email: email@example.com we would be more than happy to answer any questions on yoga, meditation and grounding or anything else related to stress reduction 😊
In the meantime, we wish you the best of luck with the wedding planning & a most glorious wedding day!
Sammi from Unwind Yoga Studio x
Grounding Techniques (2022). URL: https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/grounding-techniques/
Koniver, L. (2020). The Earth Prescription: Discover the Healing Power of Nature with Grounding Practices for Every Season. New Harbinger Publications. URL: https://b-ok.cc/book/11771363/9f828e
Science Direct (2022). URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis
Yoga Alliance (2020). Stress Regulation and Yoga. URL: Stress Regulation and Yoga