I'm pretty confident when I say that most of us have, and will, get stressed during the wedding planning process.
You might be the most chilled out person in the world, but being pestered over minor details (since when did what we put on top of a cake become so bloody important?), or suddenly realising that you're putting yourself and one of the most intimate things you'll ever do in public, out there for a whole bunch of guests to watch (yes, like Love Island without the under cover fumbling), whilst trying to fit in dress fittings, make up trials, time for choosing music / food / drink / seating plans / attending gym sessions to hone that wedding day bod / keeping bridesmaids, parents and the Best Man in the loop, around the day job, is bound to see you wishing for more minutes in the day and shoulders that don't live somewhere around your ears!
Sound all too 'but we can't sit Aunt Mary next to my Dad's cousin Barbara - they fell out over an undercooked Christmas Turkey in 1981 and haven't spoken since?!!!' If so, I've got 5 top tips to help bring those shoulders back down, and have you feeling more chilled than a bottle of Prosecco come your wedding day...
The beauty of this stress busting tool is that once you've learnt how to focus on your breathing, how to climb down from the noise inside your head, and have learnt a few basic postures to open out your chest, align your spine, and undo those internal knots, you can literally squeeze a wind down into any part of your busy day. I've practiced following the breath in meetings, in the car on the way to work, whilst walking to the shops, in the bath, and probably most importantly to help me get off to sleep when I've been feeling overly anxious about something.
Look online for a local class if you want to learn alongside others and commit to a weekly practice. Subscribe to a YouTube channel like Yoga with Adrienne for Yoga that suits you and your mood when and where you need it. Or download an app like Pocket Yoga for easy, instant access to Yoga poses when and where you need them.
2. Organise your daily routine
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It's too easy to overlook, or ignore, the stuff that keeps us ticking over and that maintains our health when we feel under time pressure. As a small business owner I found that my jam-packed diary meant I was trying to steal back time by skipping the obvious like drinking water, getting to bed on time and getting out for a walk. No surprise then that me and my sleep-deprived, caffeine-stimulated brain, ended up being far less productive, and far more chaotic, than when I'm getting 7 hours good quality sleep a night...
One of the things that has really helped to keep me on track and downing the water has been the *Productive - Habit Tracker app. It's a ridiculously simple idea. All you do is upload habits that you would like to keep on either a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and let the app remind you to do them. Drink water 3-4 times a day, go for a stroll around the block, do 10 minutes yoga, 50 squats and be in bed by 11pm, and you get cheered on by your app, an immense feeling of self satisfaction, and start to develop habits that make you feel a whole lot better day-to-day. *Free 7 day trial, then £20 for an annual subscription
3. Smell the roses, or the coffee, or the lemons...
Fill your room with scent to help alleviate headaches, aid concentration, elevate your mood, or to stimulate memories of childhood, love and adventure.
With our sense of smell being 10,000 times more sensitive than our sense of taste, and linked directly to the part of the brain that deals with emotions, it's no wonder certain scents deliver us to an instant state of bliss...
Cinnamon is said to sharpen the mind, citrus scents make you feel more energised, and Jasmine eases feelings of depression.
Try the delicious home fragrance range from Savon Claire for little travel tin candles that pack a big punch of scent.
4. Time Out
Breaking out of the daily routine even for as little as 30 minutes can give you the headspace you need to feel refreshed, gain perspective, catch up with someone important to you, or learn something new. Your to-do list isn't going anywhere, but I guarantee that you'll suddenly think of an innovative way of dealing with some of it, or come back to it with renewed enthusiasm, if you give your head time to reset.
Leave work an hour early and head home to read a book, or block out a slot in your diary for lunch with your other half. Go for a swim, learn to knit instead of watching Netflix, grab your camera and take some photos, get out in the garden, paint a wall, sit on a bench and daydream, pamper yourself with a face mask, soak in a bath, or take time to write a list of places you'd like to visit - anything that doesn't involve wedding planning, a screen, or work.
I love the idea of grabbing a little box of delights from Letterbox Luxuries to set me on my way to an hour of totally self-indulgent me time!
5. Retail Therapy
This one works for me every...single...time...
I really don't need to spend a fortune (and I'm thinking that if you're saving for a wedding a massive splurge on a designer hand bag probably isn't the best idea you ever had), but my most recent purchase of a pair of £10 on-trend tassel earrings, has given me no end of joy! I spoilt myself, and my mood was instantly sent sky high! Even better, I bought something from a teeny-tiny-UK-creative-business, something that I knew very few other people would have, made by someone working out of her home studio - which is pretty much how I started out - and if my gorgeous earrings made me feel good, the knowledge that I'd bought from Kelly of My New Fave made me feel even better.
You can find more gorgeous goodies from UK independent businesses over at And So To Shop, or, to put a few of my stress busting tips into practice in one hit, skip off work an hour early, walk to your nearest shopping centre with a friend, grab a coffee and time for a chat on the way, and buy yourself a book to curl up with and a scented candle for when you get home!