The venue, the flowers, the dress, the suit…the list goes on! With so much to organise to make your fantasies come true, it’s no wonder so many women end up feeling tightly wound and tense. As your wedding day creeps closer, serenity and an aura of calm should be all that surrounds the blushing bride, so let’s help you find it.
Meditation and Mantras
“In the lead-up to your wedding day, I recommend a daily practice of yoga, pranayama and meditation,” says Zephyr Wildman, yoga and meditation teacher at Triyoga London. “This will support and nourish your physical, energetic, mental and emotional states of being. Meditating each morning aids your capability to make clear decisions, helping you respond with grace and connect to the intention of why two people marry.”
And you don’t need to go to a studio either. Finding time in your schedule can be difficult, but setting just half an hour aside in the morning to meditate at home can make a difference.
Set yourself up in a quiet, phone-free spot and decide on your intention. “Setting an intention is like mentally straightening out the banks of a winding river, guiding you to set direction for manifesting your desires,” Wildman explains. “It might be to find clarity or to manage your anxiety in the run-up to your wedding.”
“Allow yourself to be as you are,” she advises. “Notice the common thoughts recycling themselves in your mind, whether pleasant or unpleasant, and allow yourself to feel it. Breathe into it then exhale, soften, release and relax. Do this until the strong feelings subside and you can detach.”
“Trace your breath with your mind and consciously direct your feelings towards a loving, kind and calm you,” Wildman continues. “This process will bring you into the present moment with a greater acceptance for life and gratitude for the blessings you have. Sit back and bask in that inner experience.”
Workout to Work Out
As any cardio lover will tell you, breaking a sweat is a great way to rid your body of stress. A mounting to-do list or inbox overflowing with emails from your planner might be a good excuse to skip the gym, but your stress levels won’t lower as a result.
When you feel the tension rise, there are few better ways to work it out than boxing. Popular with models as well as the manliest of men, boxing busts stress for a number of reasons. Aside from the obvious (that you’re literally punching out your frustrations), its repetitive and fast-paced nature have also been shown to improve feelings of tranquillity and reduce anxiety, tension, anger and confusion. Boxing has a great effect physically too, improving strength, cardio fitness, balance and coordination for a more toned physique (read: slender, wedding dress-ready arms!)
Time for Yourself
This important day of your life has taken months of planning, so expectations are high. However, keep everything in perspective and remember that it is just one day. When you start to feel frazzled, take a step back, find your centre and re-evaluate your priorities.
Spas give you the chance to do so including the House of Elemis in London. The vibe oozes serenity so your bridal troubles will melt away upon entering. If you’re looking to feel more focused, grounded, uplifted or relaxed, the glorious aromatic blends of their Life Elixirs Mindful Massage can be tailored for the ultimate rejuvenating experience.
The brand’s co-founder Noella Gabriel says, “When the day overwhelms you, our Life Elixirs aromatics made up of 21 essential oils help to restore harmony, settle the mind, quieten the body and harness your inner dynamism. The Sleep aromatic in particular will leave you feeling soothed and tranquil as patchouli, elemi and palmarosa unwind your busy mind and reset your inner rhythm.”
If your wedding is just around the corner, however, why not go for the indulgent Beautiful Bride package? The combination of Sensitive Skin Soother Facial, Garden of England Rose Restore Massage, Hand Treatment and brow shaping will leave you feeling pampered and restored, ready to face the bridal battles once again.
Don’t depend on the buzz
Do you rely on caffeine to wake up or keep you alert throughout the day? You’re not alone! Particularly with wedding planning, coffee can quickly become your favourite pick-me-up. However, next time you reach for your mug, spare a thought for what we’re about to share…
Firstly, think of your skin. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes your skin to lose moisture by inhibiting the skin’s oil production, which can become inflamed and irritated as a result.
It can also play havoc with your hormones, namely the stress hormone cortisol. An anxious individual can find themselves more tightly wound due to excess caffeine due to the adrenaline coffee triggers in your system. The temporary boost might feel welcome when you’re feeling sluggish, but the effects won’t last and can soon leave you fatigued and low. Have another cup to counter the lull and you may end up jittery and edgy come nightfall, affecting the quality of your sleep, and meaning the same cycle will occur the next day. Lack of sleep is also known to make decision-making and your ability to keep a level head much more difficult.
A healthy alternative is chamomile tea for its ability to calm the nervous system, making it an antidote for poor sleep, while antibacterial qualities fight stress-related colds and other infections. Chamomile also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties for your complexion, helping to clear up acne, eczema and allergies, which can be brought on by wedding anxiety.
If you’re used to having several coffees a day, don’t panic. Having a cupful of caffeine is fine for a morning wake-up, and its laxative qualities are not to be scoffed at either – simply try sticking to one cup per day.
Get Those Zzz’s
Looking forward to your big day can turn you into a fidgety combination of nerves and excitement, which do nothing to help you get a good night’s sleep. Why not pre-empt your slumber struggles with the help of a few natural tricks?
1. Say no to blue light
The blue-tinged light of your phone or tablet has been shown to trigger the hormone melatonin that helps regulate your sleep cycle, in this case hoodwinking it into thinking it’s daytime. An obvious barrier to falling asleep, try to avoid using such devices at least an hour before bed. Reading a book or guided sleep meditation encourage your mind to wind down.
2. Say yes to essential oils
Whether infused into a candle or applied to a warm compress and inhaled with the steam, concentrated plant essences have the power to calm a busy bride’s mind. Lavender is a fragrance known to help relax but it can be overpowering, so it’s good to know there are other options too.
The soothing citrus notes of bergamot or rich, woody aromas of sandalwood are both good choices. One of the best though has to be cedarwood, shown to stimulate the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
3. Stretch it out
Yoga has all kinds of benefits for body and mind, but when you’re trying to quieten internal chatter before bed, few things are more effective than stretches. Poses particularly helpful at combatting restlessness include an easy forward bend (like child’s pose but with your legs crossed)which can also be done sitting on a pillow; uttanasana (standing forward bend) and paschimottanasana (seated forward bend with legs in front of you). You can also try inversions like bridge pose and viparita karani (lying on your back with both legs straight up leaning against a wall).
Hold each one for a minute or more, focusing entirely on your breath; counting in for five counts, holding for three, and then breathing out for five counts. You can also add in sun salutations and flow through the poses incorporating your vinyasa, should you wish.