If you suffer from anxiety, the lead up to your wedding might be a tricky time for you, mental health wise.
It’s no secret that nerves are part and parcel of your big day, but anxiety is a totally different beast to those W-day jitters. It can leave you short of breath with a wildly pounding heart. Alternatively you might experience sleepless nights or feel sick to the stomach.
"For those of us who experience anxiety, it can be tempting to avoid certain situations, just in case they bring on our anxiety," says Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK.
"Getting married is a huge moment in someone's life and so it is understandable that people may feel anxious about it. Nevertheless, there are a number of ways that can help you manage your anxiety in the run up to the big day, and allow you to enjoy the experience."
Read on for our advice on how to minimise those fearful feelings. They might seem obvious, but when you’re in the throes of a panic attack they can often fly out of your mind.
Don’t allow things to build up
If the pressure of all the decisions you have to make are getting on top of you it’s important to acknowledge how you’re feeling rather than bury your head in the sand.
“Each day, dump all your inner anxieties on a piece of paper, no matter how silly,” advises Michelle Roques O’Neil of aromatherapy brand Therapie. “It’s important to give them expression.”
Give yourself a break
“Take calm intervals throughout your day,” suggests Michelle. “Therapie’s Calm Balm can be put on your pulse points through out the day to feel cocooned.”
If you’re at a viewing and start to feel light-headed don’t be afraid to tell the person showing you around the venue that you need a minute alone. Step outside and take a few deep breaths; take as much time as you need until you feel ready to get back to the task at hand.
“Simply taking a deep breath means your brain is focusing on that and takes your mind away from any anxious thoughts you’re experiencing,” explains Clinical Aromatherapist Fiona Tutte.
We know wedmin has probably already turned you into the queen of list making, but lists can be a godsend for dealing with anxiety. Make a list each day will clear your mind, but try to keep it to about five tasks to avid placing high expectations on yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up about not completing your list, simply carry it over to the next day.
Get a good night of sleep
“How?!?” we hear you cry. “I’ve got a million things whirring around my mind!”
“Massaging a soothing body oil into your chest at night, such as the ESPA Soothing Body Oil with Sandalwood Myrhh and Frankincense,” advises Fiona.
“Breathe in the calming aromas and the essential oils will penetrate into the bloodstream through the skin, helping you to relax.”
"When you are planning your wedding you may find it helpful to include your friends and family in the planning process," says Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK. "Whether it's simply asking for advice on centrepieces, or assigning people with specific roles to help, this can relieve the feeling that it's all down to the bride alone."
Letting people know that you're struggling with wedding day related anxiety is imperative. Whether you tell your bridal party and they take on some of the jobs that are causing you undue stress, or you share your emotions with your H2B and talk through your worries, a burden shared is a burden halved.
We know that telling your H2B that you're super anxious might make it seem like you're having the dreaded cold feet, but he knows you better than anyone and will understand that that is not the case. You still 100% want to be his wife, it's just that you're feeling the strain of the process.
Personalise your big day
For a lot of people, anxiety stems from the unknown, and pretty much everything about your big day is new territory, from walking down the aisle to posing for wedding photos.
To minimise the worries about new experiences, surround yourself with as much familiarity as possible. Eschew fancy venues you've never been to in favour of your favourite pub or restaurant for your reception. Hold your ceremony as close to home as possible, and walk down the aisle to your favourite song rather than a song specifically chosen for your big day.
Wear your every day perfume of choice rather than selecting a special new scent and wear your hair how you would every other day, with a few extra touches. The more familiar everything feels the more comfortable you'll be.
Surround yourself with close friends
It sounds obvious - of course you'll be surrounded by all the people you love the most on your big day! But what we mean is don't feel pressured to include girls you aren't close to in your bridal party - future sister-in-law, we're looking at you.
With people who know you and understand your foibles close by you'll feel all the more comfortable on the lead-up to the biggest day of your life.
In addition, keep your wedding small, if you're intimated by the idea of being the centre of attention in front of hundreds of people. Stick to close family and friends and you'll be on to a winner.
Take it one step at a time
The whole wedding can seem an unsurmountable task; there's the save the dates, the invites, the menu planning, the guest list and so.much.more to think about, and that's before you even consider finding a dress, booking a venue and sorting out the legal stuff.
To avoid getting overwhelmed, think of everything individually. Don't worry about what you have to do next. Take it one task at a time, and don't even think about the next thing on your list until you've finished what you're concentrating on.
If a long engagement is required to allow you to take things slowly then so be it, it's better to arrive at W-day calm and happy than harried and worried. A long engagement allows you to step away from wedding planning if it all gets too much, and it gives you time to get used to everything ahead of you.
Keep your day simple
If the thought of thinking up favours, trying to decide on table decorations and fine-tuning your cocktail menu are making you stressed, opt for a simple day instead.
Nobody will notice if there aren't favours and a photo booth, your guests will just be happy that you've had a day that suited you and kept you calm and serene in the lead up.
Just remember, your big day is about you spending the rest of your life with the person you love, not about impressing a whole room of people, so do what feels right for you and everything will work out okay in the end.
"Don't be too hard on yourself if you're feeling anxious planning your wedding," says Nicky Lidbetter. "Remember what you are feeling is completely normal and there are a great deal of resources and support out there to help."