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8 Relaxation Methods for Stressed-Out Brides

Eight ways to relax when you are (or want to avoid getting) stressed out from wedding planning.

As any bride will tell you, even though planning a wedding is an exciting and happy time, it can also be one filled with anxiety. There is so much to do, so many decisions to make, and often so many people offering advice, your head can spin. Chances are, as you are searching for the perfect wedding gown, lining up your bridesmaids, writing your wedding vows, registering for gifts, and deciding where to go on your honeymoon, you may be neglecting a very important component of making that dream wedding become real: YOUR stress levels.

Remember, you are not only the star of this show; you are also the director, the casting crew, the costume department, and the set designer. If you have forgotten to take care of yourself in the midst of these myriad responsibilities, it’s no wonder. But now is the time to turn over a new leaf and start putting your mental well-being at the top of your to-do list; if you go down, so does the show! One way is to practice relaxation techniques to calm your mind, thus becoming more efficient.

Before you begin, take a little time to honestly assess how uptight you may be without even realizing it. Then, relax. Believe it or not, you can do it in minutes and at no cost with any of the following proven methods recommended by the American Institute of Stress:

1. Take the long view. When you feel yourself becoming anxious, ask yourself, will this really matter in a couple of years? It probably won’t matter in one year or even one month, so take a deep breath, and forget it.

2. Do it together. Don’t have enough time with your fiancé during this busy period? Find ways that you can relax together. Exercise, play, hang out in a hammock; it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you are together and feeling good.

3. Breathe, breathe, and breathe. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position, breathe in deeply, count to five, and exhale. With each inhalation, imagine you are breathing in peace and calm; with each exhalation, imagine you are breathing out tension and anxiety. Take a breathing break whenever you start to feel stressed.

4. Practice progressive relaxation. What is progressive relaxation? It is a method of stress reduction, created by Dr. Edmund Jacobson, where you start at your feet and work your way up. Curl your toes under and flex your feet into the letter “c”, hold for several seconds, and relax. Progress up your legs to your thighs and stomach, your back, and so on. Tense each set of muscles, hold tight, and let go. By the time you get to the top of your head, you’ll be as limp as a spaghetti noodle.

5. Move those feet. If the weather is nice, take a brisk walk outside. Pay attention to the natural surroundings and breathe in the fresh air. Bring your iPod or MP3 Player, and get lost in your favorite music. Walk to the beat of the song, and swing your arms to get your heart pumping.

6. The right sounds in the right surroundings can be relaxing. Find your perfect sound, and choose a quiet, comfortable spot. Close your eyes, and breathe slowly and deeply. As you breathe out, softly repeat a simple word or sound (this is called a mantra). Try this before you go into a potentially difficult family or vendor situation. It will calm you down and give you energy at the same time.

7. Take a mental trip to the beach or other relaxing destination. Imagine the soothing sounds, feel the touch of breeze or water washing over your feet, and feel the tension slipping away. Enjoy the sensations for a few minutes before you return to real life.

8. Discover the art of doing nothing. Set aside a half hour each day as your time. Do something you enjoy, or do nothing at all. Taking time for yourself can give you the strength to take on the world stress-free.

The above is an excerpt from the Dream Wedding on a Dime; 7 Secrets for the Budget-Savvy Bride ebook.