5 Ways to be Zen for the Wed

Written by Alexandra Hayden Shea from Shed For The Wed

Planning a wedding–for 500 people or just an intimate occasion–can be stressful. It can bring up a lot of different emotions and can be downright exhausting! Your engagement should be a time when you feel full of life, love, and energy. These 5 tips will help you maintain your sanity during the chaos!

1. Start your day with a morning ritual
If you start your day off rushing through your shower and running to catch the train- you need a morning ritual more than anyone.

Set your alarm 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (hint - go to bed earlier to compensate!). If you can, set your coffee to brew itself so it’s waiting for you. The goal is to start the day with some time for yourself. Find yourself in a comfy space, with a blanket. And start with at least one minute of silence. Give yourself a moment to breathe and just be.

After that, the rest is up to you. I recommend meditating (see tip #2), but besides that, you could journal, or read a chapter of a book. Pray. Do 5 sun salutations.  Just try to connect with yourself and do something that makes you feel good.

Lastly, if you can, make your bed (allowing your fiancé isn’t in it!). It will make you feel so good to start the day with a task accomplished!

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2. Meditate
I’m sure this is not the first time meditation has been recommended to you. But why is the world so obsessed with meditation? Meditation has proven psychological and physical health benefits. These are some of my favorites from my personal experience:

  • It can help you to be less reactionary, which is a great way to avoid bridezilla breakouts! (JK if you’re reading this no chance that’s you!)

  • It can help you be less attached to outcomes. When planning a wedding, things are not going to go perfectly every step of the way. Maybe you always knew you wanted peonies for your wedding flowers and they are out of season for your date. Maybe a bridesmaid drops out last minute. Things will happen that were not planned or what you wanted. Meditation helps you cope when things don’t go your way.  

  • Meditation can be a huge help in processing emotions. Your engagement can bring up all of the feelings. Meditation holds space for you to process all of these life changes.

  • Lastly, your engagement period will fly by! Meditation helps you be present and really enjoy every moment during this incredible phase of life!

I recommend meditating when you first wake up as a part of your morning ritual- but you could also try meditating before bed, too. Wherever you consistently can make space for yourself to do this, is the best time.

If you have never meditated, using an app like Headspace (guided meditation) its a great place to start. But ideally, when you sit with yourself in silence–that is where the magic really happens.

3. Make nourishing foods a priority
This is all about feeling your absolute best– so it is critical to fuel your body with foods that provide nutritional value. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ensure you are “eating the rainbow” and getting your vitamins and minerals through whole food sources (hint: fruits and veggies!)  that are accessible for your body to process. Eating this way (and cutting back on foods that hinder feeling good- yeah I’m looking at you gluten, refined sugar, and dairy) give you ample energy and make your skin glow from the inside out.

Beyond that, have you ever noticed when you haven’t been eating healthy foods and not treating your body well (perhaps drinking too much alcohol or not exercising) you tend to feel more anxious or sad? This is not unusual, but you may not have made the correlation before. Healthy foods, movement, and water galore help not just your bridal glow, but also getting your mind right, too!

4. Get your sweat on  
Ranging from good heart health, increased bone density, all the way to relief from depression and anxiety–exercise really is fantastic. I find that when I have a good sweat routine, I know I’m taking care of my body, and I automatically just feel better about myself. When you build physical strength, you also build mental strength. Exercising boosts your confidence and cardio is a great way to relieve wedding-related anxiety and stress. Just don’t overdo it- if you focus too much on sweating for the wedding, it can actually end up doing more harm then good.

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5. Take time for a social media detox
Social media can be amazing- you can be connected with family and friends no matter how far they live from you. You can catch up with old coworkers or friends from high school you lost contact with, or cousins you never see. But it also has a deeper, darker underbelly. Thankfully there has been a shift away from this recently- but mostly what is posted on social media is highly curated content— “the best of” someone’s life. We spend our days longing for what other people have- their amazing bodies, their dream weddings, their handsome husbands, sweet babies, charming houses, fancy cars, and exotic honeymoons. We spend a huge bulk of time assessing other people's lot in life and comparing ours to theirs. Social media breeds comparison. And comparison is the heart of judgment. And when you are perpetually judging others, you are also judging yourself. Who needs that?! And it's exhausting. And it doesn't serve us. And in fact, it has a negative effect on the way we view ourselves and others.

Take social media out of the equation- yes, it still happens, but it happens a whole lot less. Take a weekend and unplug. Turn the phone off when you can. Don’t open Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter–NONE OF IT. Come back after the weekend feeling refreshed and content! Make it a ritual during your engagement and reap the benefits!

Bonus tip: It’s okay to not feel amazing every moment of your engagement!
It's okay to not feel absolutely wonderful every day of your engagement. In fact, it's even okay to feel sad!  I've talked to enough women to know that while we want our engagement periods to be one of sheer bliss - there are moments that are harder to deal with.

I think there is this stigma about talking about other emotions when you are getting married. Like somehow if you are not swooning with affection for your fiancé/e every day, you love them less, or even worse, that you shouldn't be getting married. This stigma adds to your stress and enjoyment of the process!

It is possible to feel joy, love, and excitement–and also sadness, loss, and anxiety during your engagement.

Getting married is one of the biggest life events you will ever experience. Sometimes it's a huge adjustment, sometimes it's just a formality. What I want you to walk away with, is that it is okay to feel any of these emotions during this time. Make space for yourself to process. Feel how you feel, and don't be ashamed or scared about feeling more than just joy during this time in your life.

Overall, it's not that complicated. Feed yourself nourishing foods, move your body, prioritize self-care, and ditch social media. Any of these are the right place to start when you are looking to add more Zen to your Wed. Don’t try to tackle them all at once, but work on adding one of these into your routine once a week!  Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride!

Alexandra Hayden Shea is a holistic health coach and yoga instructor (RYT-200). You can find her at shedforthewed.com where she helps brides make soulful, healthy, eating decisions (SHED) for the big day and beyond!

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