There’s no denying that wedding planning is a stressful business. Whether you always knew you wanted a big, complicated affair or you started out with just a small celebration that has spiraled out of control, it’s easy for the preparations to catch up with you. Sooner or later, you may find yourself in “the hole”—and the hole is not a fun place to be. It’s when you feel frayed and manic and overwhelmed and like everything is collapsing in on top of you, but you just can’t stop because you desperately want to sort it all out as quickly as possible. Once you get into this place, you’re not going to be thinking efficiently or acting in a way that’s very good for you. It’s awful—but don't worry, we’ve all been there.
So if you find yourself buried in the stress of wedding planning, it’s so important that you give yourself room to break out of it. If you can just wrench yourself out of the hole, there are so many useful ways to handle stress now—right now—that can help put you in a better headspace. Whether you want a new approach to your planning or to take a break from it all together, here are six great ways to stop feeling overwhelmed—and you can do any (or all) of them this very second.
1. Unplug For 20 Minutes
First things first: give yourself a break. Turn off the TV, put your phone away, close your laptop—just disconnect. Whatever thing you’re doing that feels really pressing and definitely like an emergency will still be there in 20 minutes. So tune out and take a big breath. Run a bath, stretch out, or just make yourself a snack. If you unplug and clear your head, you’ll be able to go back in with more energy
2. Get Outside
This is really important to remember both in the long and short-term. In the short term, going for a walk is a great way to clear your head if you’re getting stressed. In the long term, getting more time outside every day has a huge range of health benefits. It’s easy, it’s cheap, and it can be totally transformative.
3. Try A Mindfulness App
Mindfulness apps are all the rage right now—and with good reason. They can be an amazing tool to stop you from spinning out of control and they’re a great building block for more mindful habits. Calm, Buddhify, and Headspace are three really popular options. They can help you rest your mind and reset, even when you don’t have a lot of time.
3. Rethink Your Relationship With Social Media
It may seem like social media is helping you connect with people—maybe you even feel like you’re getting some great wedding planning tips from Instagram and Pinterest. But be realistic with yourself—is social media actually helping you or is it stressing you out even more? You can be bombarded with unrealistic expectations and endless comparisons to weddings that look totally perfect and seamless. It’s not reality. That can be stressful. Take a step back and get back to your day.
4. Clean Something Really Satisfying
I don’t normally like cleaning, but there are a few things I love cleaning. Taking the lint out of the dryer, wiping down a really dusty shelf, or even reorganizing a messy drawer and getting rid of a bunch of junk you don’t need—there are plenty of things you can clean and organize that are incredibly satisfying, make you feel like you accomplished something, and, crucially, have literally nothing to do with your wedding. Sometimes you need to zone out with something completely different before you can come back to wedding planning with a clear head.
5. Say “No”
Just. Say. No. Even if you’re the kind of person who hates to bail, remember that you don't have to do it in a flaky way. Look at your schedule for the next week and pick out the things that fill you with dread or make you anxious. Then look for things that you know you can get away with skipping—coffee with a friend you talk to all the time or hanging out with someone who knows how stressed you are. Anything that’s non-essential gets cut. Do it in a polite way and with plenty of notice and they’ll understand. Then, you can just soak up the sweet relief.
6. Delegate And Ask For Help
This is probably the best thing you can do for yourself in a stressful time like wedding planning. Delegating, combined with saying “no”, can change your life. If you’re a perfectionist or someone relentlessly self-sufficient, asking for help may not seem like a natural step—maybe it even feels painful. But do yourself a favor, remember that there are people who love you and who want you to succeed. Reach out to them. Give some tasks to your bridesmaids and future mother-in-law, ask your friends if they can pitch in with those pesky favors you’ve been avoiding—do anything to keep from collapsing into yourself. People want to help you—you just need to give them the chance.
If there’s a way to plan a totally stress-free wedding, we haven't found it yet—so for now, it's paramount that you take care of yourself. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a big breath and try a coping technique. The more you let yourself have a break, the better prepared you’ll be when you get back to wedding planning. It will still be there, I promise.