Since the big day, I have had so many people message me about all the details, but there was a fascinating question that kept popping up, so I have decided to write about it.
The most surprising question I received was: “How did I control my anxiety in the lead-up and on the day?”
For those who don’t know, I was diagnosed with anxiety in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I really started to understand it and do things to help get it under control rather than mask it.
For a long time, I would just drink and smoke the anxious feelings away until it would surface ten times worse the next day.
After educating myself for the past few years and getting to know what works for me and what doesn’t, I tried really hard to avoid any panic and anxiety in the final two weeks before my wedding.
I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t anxious or didn’t have a panic attack – I had an attack about three weeks out, while at work – but it was after this that I decided to put some of my best self-care remedies into practice.
I have put together some tips and tricks to help you in the lead up to your big day.
Self-care has been a HUGE game changer for me with my anxiety, and it doesn’t have to cost money, some of these tips you can do in your own home.
1. Compartmentalise Wedding Planning
One of the best things I did during the entire wedding planning process was compartmentalise the wedding planning. I could spend all day thinking, researching and dreaming about my big day but this would give me anxiety, so I found running the planning process like a business project that I worked on, or thought about only when I had it scheduled in my diary. If ideas came to me, I would jot them down to go back on during the scheduled time.
2. One-on-One Time With People to Connect
Connection is one of the most crucial things for me when dealing with my anxiety. If I disconnect from my people and check out, I find that my anxiety can really rear its head, don’t get me wrong I definitely need to switch off from the world, and I will talk about that next but having one-on-one time with friends and family was super crucial for me personally and for mental health. I had an incredible few days walking along the beach in Dunsborough each morning with some of my closest friends and family in the lead up to the big day.
3. Connect With Nature
Walking along the beach early mornings really helped ground me in the lead-up. The funny thing is I know this helps my anxiety on a regular basis, so I don’t understand why I don’t remind myself to do this all the time. Just taking my shoes off and walking along the beach with the sand touching my feet was pure bliss.
4. Switch Off From Social Media
About 6 weeks out from the wedding, I made a commitment to myself to calm down on my social media updates and not to beat myself up if I didn’t respond to every social media message or comment I received. I put myself first and only posted when I felt like it, relieving myself of this pressure was really helpful.
5. Exercise for Your Mental Health, Not to Lose Weight
I have really tried to get into the habit of doing a 20-minute workout at least, 4-5 times a week. If you are time poor, this is the best option, and you can do this in your lounge room. Exercise helps my anxiety so much as it is a form of meditation. Get in and get out is how I roll when approaching training. If I stop exercising like I did after the wedding, I notice that I start to overthink the way I see myself and I become incredibly negative towards myself. Try and create 20 minutes for some exercise and me time in the lead-up, you don’t need a gym membership, you can jump on Youtube like I do and workout in the comfort of your own home.
I absolutely LOVE floating. If you have never heard of it, it’s known as Flotation Therapy and its mostly a way of achieving deep relaxation by spending an hour lying quietly in the darkness, suspended in a warm solution of Epsom salt. I tried to do this a few times before the big day, because I found time away from the real world is relaxing.
7. Mindfulness and Meditation and Yoga
The morning of the wedding, the girls and I got up at sunrise and did some yoga, meditation and mindfulness. This was such a beautiful thing for all of us girls to do together the morning of, it really set the tone for the day. I try to meditate every day anyway because it has changed my life, if you haven’t tried it for your mental health, stop making excuses and just give it a go.
8. Time Out
When you can take time just to recharge. Nap, have a bath, go for a walk, read a book, just take time out for yourself. In between work commitments, wedding planning and catch ups, recharging my batteries meant I was feeling pretty calm in the final week.
9. Saying No to Things
Learn to say no. This is something I have tried to introduce into my everyday life this year because I am a people pleaser I’ve found it really hard to say no. I hate letting people down, and I really LOVE helping people, but after reading and listening to loads of Brene Brown I decided I needed to create better boundaries to protect my energy and so I really enforced this in the lead-up, and I have continued to do this after the wedding. I found if I said yes to things in the past and I wished I hadn’t, my anxiety would be through the roof in the lead up to the commitment, so I started to empower myself to say no.
10. One-On-One Time With Your Lover (Without Wedding Talk)
Commit to date nights or days without wedding chat. You still need to connect with your lover and chat about stuff that isn’t the wedding. This was really important to us, and something we both were really passionate about committing to like I said above, compartmentalising wedding chat is super important.
11. Soak It Up!
During the wedding reception – we asked for 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted time to just sit and watch our guests and soak up the day and the moment. So many people told us their biggest regret was not soaking it all in and having a precious few moments to themselves. I didn’t want to have any regrets, so this was a must!