Recognizing Wedding Stress ( Stress Relief Series Part 3)
It has been exciting for me to read your emails from art 1 and Part 2 of our Wedding Stress series. (If you have not read the articles, that’s OK, we included the links below.) I read all of your comments. (Thanks for some awesome stress relief ideas. You have already mastered recognizing wedding stress and dealing with it! – Double Win. Furthermore, you will see them in future articles.)
I listened to you. Several brides, including Melody from LA, asked me to address recognizing wedding stress. She said “I don’t even realize how stressed I am until later. I wish I could see it when it happens, so I could get over it and concentrate on all the good things about my wedding”. Similarly, Others asked for advice recognizing wedding stress and how to focus on the positive things and knowing when to let go. While this probably should have been the first article in series, (sorry for the misstep on my part) it is never too late for me to respond to your requests. You asked for it. So, here it is: Recognizing Wedding Stress (Stress Relief Series Part 3).
Types of Wedding Stress
First, let’s step back and look at the types of wedding stress you will encounter. We left out technical/scientific terms, so if you are a stress expert, please forgive the omission Why did we bypass them? Because, brides asked for help, not intimidating psycho-babble and all those heavy explanations just stress me more.
While experts use a wide variety of terms to describe stress, there are three main types of stress in its simplest form. Because we experience two and usually all three of them as wedding stress, it is important to understand which is affecting you when you are feeling stressed.
Why does it matter what type of stress we are experiencing? When we understand the different stress types we are prepared to use them in a positive manner. Likewise, when a positive response is not an option, we may be able to reduce and hopefully eliminate the stressor by our reaction to it.
Our emotional response to a stressful situation is the key to successful stress management. You’ll find lots ideas and advice in the other articles. So, for now, concentrate on understanding your wedding stress.
1. Recognizing Wedding Stress We Can’t Control
We usually associate this stress with negative life changing experiences such as loss of a job, death of a loved one, or major health issue. Although a wedding is not a negative life changing event, you the bride may also feel out of control when dealing with people and situations in your wedding planning that you simply cannot avoid. (Such as – a MIL who does not approve of your reception plans, an unpleasant vendor you contracted and cannot afford to cancel, or an overbearing “helpful” friend.)
Certainly, many experts will tell you that these situations are all avoidable. Hence, they advise that you can just walk away or ignore them. And in theory, they are correct. However, in the real life of wedding stress when you don’t have an unlimited budget (few of us do), don’t want to separate your future husband from his family (lifetime nightmare) , or lose a lifelong friend who loves you and believes she is helping, you will have to deal with these situations without being able to control them. You can control how you react and how stressed you become, but the situation itself and how others act is beyond your control.
2. Natural Stress
Natural stress affects all brides. No doubt, you feel it when you set your wedding goals or push yourself outside your comfort zone. Natural stress is usually associated with anticipation of or reaction to an event in our lives. It is those “butterflies in your stomach” that affect most of us when we have to give a speech, or watch our children play sports, or think about standing in front of 100 guests and saying our wedding vows. It is your body’s way of telling you that you care and that what is happening is important to you. Then adrenaline kicks in, energy flows, and your body is ready to take on anything (Enter Super Bride!!)
Above all, the key to dealing with natural stress is to understand that your reactions are good, to recognize it when it appears and use the excess energy it creates. It is OK to have butterflies about your wedding planning. It shows it is important to you (as it should be). Wedding planning is a new experience and you are probably way outside your comfort zone.
Remember, the object is not to get ride of the butterflies. The object is to have them fly in formation and work for you. It takes a little practice. You got this.
3. Recognizing Wedding Stress We Can Control
For me, this is usually self-inflicted stress. Admittedly, we do not realize we were creating our own stress or that we could control it. We were so busy getting things done and looking to other people as the ones who are creating the stress that we do not realize we are the problem. Furthermore, stress we can control is often small things such as being late to an appointment, having a argument over a tiny detail that really does not matter, or getting upset when something does not go exactly as we planned. You are the only one who can control how much you stress over these small daily issues. Remember it is often your reaction to a situation, not the event itself that is creating your stress.
For example, assume you have your final dress fitting appointment. Because of a major traffic jam you can’t avoid you are going to be late. (Don’t you feel the wedding stress just thinking about it?) What will you do? Of course, you will call and explain why you are late and when you expect (hope) to arrive. You deal with the realities of the situation. That is a given.
Now Deal With the Stress
What’s next? Controlling stress is all about choices. Option 1 – Sit in your car wating for the jam to clear and stewing over the situation. “I wonder what some stupid driver did to create this mess?”, “I have important things to do, and don’t have time for this.” It’s not fair, why did this happen now?” “#$%#$%$#.” Remind you of anyone?
Option 2 – Accept that it is what it is. Take out your planning book and update it. Do that piece of research on the internet you have been meaning to get to. Listen to music. Read a book. Relax and rest for a few minutes. Sound like a better option?
Remember, recognizing wedding stress you can control it is not about the situation, it is how you react to it that creates your wedding stress. Easy,peasy when you know what to look for.
Have You Ever Been Bit By an Elephant? – Recognizing Wedding Stress for What It Is
It is the little things that often stress us most – especially when they keep piling up. I am reminded of the old question: “Have your ever been bit by an elephant?” Most people laugh and emphatically say “NO”. “Well have you ever been bit by a mosquito?” More laughter, and “Of course.” That is how it is dealing with wedding stress. We spend our time worrying about being stressed over the big things for the wedding – while most of them go smoothly, so we will never be bitten by an elephant. All the while, the little incidents, the tiny stressors we can avoid (yes, the mosquitoes) are buzzing around annoying us and creating stress that keeps accumulating until POP! You know better than anyone what happens when you reach your maximum stress point (Not a pretty thought is it?)
Recognizing Wedding Stress – The Physical Signs
This comprehensive list of the signs of stress in general was created by The American Institute of Stress. It provides the effects to identify the impact wedding stress can have on you, physically and mentally. (Don’t let reading the list stress you. It can be daunting. Hopefully you will not experience more than the lesser symptoms of stress in your wedding planning, if any.)
We included the entire list here (I know it is long, but they will not all apply to you.), not to stress you more, but to prepare you in recognizing the wedding stress you may face and eliminating it (or in the case of positive stress- make it work for you). It is perfectly natural when you experience any/some/even all of these indicators. Relax. You need to stop and manage the stressor so you get back in control of yourself, your feelings, and your planning. Time to get things accomplished and enjoy your wedding planning.
- Frequent headaches, jaw clenching or pain
- Gritting, grinding teeth
- Stuttering or stammering
- Tremors, trembling of lips, hands
- Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms
- Light-headed, faintness, dizziness
- Ringing, buzzing or “popping sounds
- Frequent blushing, sweating
- Cold or sweaty hands, feet
- Dry mouth, problems swallowing
- Frequent colds, infections, herpes sores
- Rashes, itching, hives, “goose bumps”
- Unexplained or frequent “allergy” attacks
- Heartburn, stomach pain, nausea
- Excess belching, flatulence
- Constipation, diarrhea, loss of control
- Difficulty breathing, frequent sighing
- Sudden attacks of life threatening panic
- Chest pain, palpitations, rapid pulse
- Frequent urination
- Diminished sexual desire or performance
- Excess anxiety, worry, guilt, nervousness
- Increased anger, frustration, hostility
- Depression, frequent or wild mood swings
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Insomnia, nightmares, disturbing dreams
- Difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts
- Trouble learning new information
- Forgetfulness, disorganization, confusion
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Feeling overloaded or overwhelmed
- Frequent crying spells or suicidal thoughts
- Feelings of loneliness or worthlessness
- Little interest in appearance, punctuality
- Nervous habits, fidgeting, feet tapping
- Increased frustration, irritability, edginess
- Overreaction to petty annoyances
- Increased number of minor accidents
- Obsessive or compulsive behavior
- Reduced work efficiency or productivity
- Lies or excuses to cover up poor work
- Rapid or mumbled speech
- Excessive defensiveness or suspiciousness
- Problems in communication, sharing
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Constant tiredness, weakness, fatigue
- Frequent use of over-the-counter drugs
- Weight gain or loss without diet change
- Increased smoking, alcohol or drug use
- Excessive gambling or impulse buying
Share Your Wedding Stress Relief Ideas
We included a comment box at the end of each post. If you have a wedding stress reliever that works for you, please share in the comment box or email me. If we use your suggestion in a future article we will, with your permission, give you credit (and thanks) for the idea. (Send a picture by email and we will include your wedding or engagement picture too. )
I welcome your questions about anything wedding related and your suggestions for future articles. Hugs.
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For those who read Part 1 and Part 2 of this wedding stress relief series thanks for lighting up my inbox. I love hearing from you and appreciate that you are sending comments and personal stress relievers that work for you. Thank You. I (and all the brides reading this) appreciate that you took the time to share. I look forward to reading more ideas and comments and am working on the article to include them . My email address: email@example.com
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