Your engagement is one of the best times of your life, but unfortunately, it can also be crazy stressful thanks to all that wedding planning. Just deciding on bridesmaids dress colors can seem like a part-time job some days! To help you chill out a bit, we've tapped celebrity-loved holistic doctor Frank Lipman, who counts stars like Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kyra Sedgwick, and Gwyneth Paltrow among his clients, for his relaxation tips and all-around awesome wellness advice. Grab your yoga mat and start reading!
Brides: What are a few stress-management "best practices" brides can dive into as soon as they get engaged?
Lipman: Make a commitment to do five to 10 minutes of meditation every morning. You can prevent a lot of future stress responses throughout your day by doing meditation right when you wake up. Simply sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position, closing your eyes and focusing your attention on the breath for that short amount of time will help you feel more relaxed and centered.In the evening, I recommend 10 minutes of restorative yoga. That will help you wind down and prepare for sleep. Restorative yoga is particularly helpful when you feel rundown, burned out, stressed or just tired. It's both healing and revitalizing. Legs Up the Wall is a great pose to try.
Brides: But doesn't it take a long time to learn to meditate?
Lipman: You can learn quickly and will start to feel the benefits immediately. The harder part is creating a consistent practice. There's an app called Headspace that helps you learn meditation in just 10 minutes per day. While preparing for a wedding, there are many people making demands on you — family, friends, in-laws — and meditation helps you reconnect with yourself.
Brides: Can brides "cheat" with one of those theta brainwave meditation CDs? Any you recommend?
Lipman: Absolutely. I'm a big fan of Jonathan Goldman's Healing Sounds CDs and use those in my acupuncture practice to help people reach a deeper state of relaxation. There's also one called Holosync by Centerpointe - they offer a free demo on their website and also have a free app.
Brides: How important is working out to relieving wedding stress? Any types of exercise you feel are especially great?
Lipman: Exercise is crucial for relieving stress and feeling your best. I'm a big proponent of yoga for keeping the body flexible and fit, with the added benefit of focusing on your breath and feeling more centered and calm.
See More: 10 Best Fitness DVDs for Brides to Be
__Brides: What are your thoughts on all those "relaxation" drinks, like Dream Water, that brides can buy at the drugstore these days? __
Lipman: I'm not really familiar with the drinks, but it makes sense that ingredients like GABA, melatonin and 5HTP will help your sleep. We have a very safe and effective Be Well Sleep Formula supplement that includes GABA, L-theanine, melatonin and 5HTP. It's a good option because it's non-habit forming. Magnesium can also be helpful to take at night for its stress-reducing and sleep-enhancing benefits.
Brides: Now for the *other *type of drinking: Lots of young women are in the habit of pounding wine to wind-down after work. How can that backfire on them?
Lipman: Alcohol disrupts your sleep and can make you more fuzzy the next day. I would much prefer they de-stress with meditation or yoga poses. Brides should also keep in mind that wine and other alcohol will not help your skin to look its best. But green juices and smoothies will!
Brides: Speaking of sleep, how many hours should brides try to log each night? Do they need more sleep because of all the stress they're under?
Lipman: Seven to eight hours is good. Sleep is very healing. I don't think brides necessarily need more sleep, but they do need to focus on self-care.
Brides: Any other big stress-management Dos and Don'ts for brides?
Lipman: Be sure to stay hydrated, drink lots of water, spend time in nature, listen to uplifting music. I would recommend doing a Cleanse detox leading up to the big day. Aim to schedule this about a month or two before the big day, so you can look and feel your best. Be sure to get support and delegate so you don't get overwhelmed. And have fun and enjoy the journey!