Avoiding bridal burnout

Look and feel refreshed, relaxed and radiant for your big event

The road to the aisle can have many twists and turns. Some days it’s filled with enthusiasm and happiness, other days it can be a little trying on your nerves. Don’t let a case of bridal burnout leave you looking and feeling haggard on your big day. Here are 22 stress-busting ways to grab a well-deserved break from the madness.

Hit the spa. Treat yourself to a relaxing massage, nourishing body treatment, or even a hydrating manicure or pedicure that includes a massage to relieve some stress. Make an outing of it with your bridesmaids and let yourself be pampered. You'll come out looking and feeling better.

Get moving: Exercise your stress away. Really. It works. Exercise prompts the body to release endorphins resulting in a natural high to help you feel better. Better yet, it has the added advantage of creating a healthier you, toned up to fit into your wedding dress and better equipped to handle wedding related stress.

Soak in the tub. A nice, hot bath will relax your muscles and your mind. For optimal stress-quenching results, add soothing bath salts, some aromatherapy candles and a massaging bath mat.

Read a book. There’s no better time to score a page-turner than the few months before the wedding day. A good book can take you to another world for a while and give your scattered brain a rest. Why not read a novel that takes place where you’re headed on your honeymoon for a sneak preview?

Eat regular, balanced and moderate meals. Avoid excess sugar, caffeine, alcohol, etc. All of these can make you feel even more worn out after the buzz wears off and you come crashing down. Instead of automatically grabbing a caffeine fix like coffee or soda, grab some water and spike it with slices of orange, lemon or lime. If you’re properly hydrated, you’ll feel better overall, plus your skin will glow.

Call home. Even though you’ll be celebrating with everyone soon, keep calling friends and family. In the weeks before your wedding, talking with the folks you love most will keep you feeling connected and sane.

Start a journal. The ideas and dreams racing through your mind right now are ones that you won’t ever want to forget. Grab a blank book and start writing in a stream-of-consciousness style.

Enjoy a good ol’ fashioned Girls Night. Invite your girls to join you for a night out on the town. If drinking and dancing isn’t your thing, then head to a local coffee house, park or mall. The idea is to get away from your wedding planning for one whole day. Make a commitment not to talk about (or think about) your wedding the whole day and/or night. You will wake up refreshed and ready to get back to work.

High stress? Think vigorous exercise. For some brides, candlelight and warm baths don’t always relieve the wedding planning stress. When this is the case, try high-impact exercises like jogging, riding a bike, jumping rope. Exercise keeps you in shape and makes you feel a whole lot better emotionally because it dispels negative energy. On days when you feel like something less demanding, try stress-busting yoga or Pilates – the same benefits with less energy burned.

Breathe. During tense times, breathing may be erratic, or we hold our breath, which constricts the amount of oxygen that our brain receives. Find a quiet place to sit with your eyes closed and simply let your mind rest as you breathe deeply through your nose. You’ll feel recharged after just a few seconds.

Schedule a cheat time. Most brides undergo dieting and serious exercising months before their wedding day. So if time comes that you are just so overwhelmed with all the planning, reward yourself with a little good-mood food that’s not on your diet. Liberating yourself briefly should not spoil all the work you’ve done. However, if you don’t want to compromise your healthy, fit-into-that-gown diet, here are some guilt-free alternatives from the American Dietetic Association: a scoop of low-fat ice cream sprinkled with granola; sherbet topped with fruit; baked tortilla chips and salsa.

Immerse yourself in a new project. Get some distance from wedding planning by diving into a creative endeavor that will change your focus for a while. Try scrapbooking, organizing your closet, baking cookies — these activities are easy and low stress.

Plan a bachelorette weekend. Instead of planning a one night bachelorette bash, consider a more meaningful weekend retreat for the bridal party. A few days away from the hectic schedule can do wonders for any bride’s sanity and restore her to a glowing state of happiness and serenity before the big day.

Be at one with nature. A healthy dose of fresh air could be all that you need to relax when stress levels run high. Go for a relaxing stroll in the great outdoors. Take a book or journal with you and settle in at a park bench or picnic blanket for an hour or two. A dose of sun and air and the quiet beauty of nature are guaranteed to clear your mind and perk up your mood.

Sleep. Number one stress buster is to get enough sleep. Your body regains its normal functions and cycle when you sleep. Don’t sacrifice sleep no matter how busy you may be. Even if you don’t fall asleep, closing your eyes for a few moments of quiet can be just enough to make you feel more rested and refreshed.

Talk to your groom. Being able to ventilate your feelings is a form of release. Confide with your groom about your worries. Having him by your side as you work through these feelings will help keep stress at bay.

Keep laughing! Laughter truly is the best medicine. Laugh your heart out with a funny movie. Or read our humor column (all about dealing with stress!). Click here for the article index.

Go out to dinner: Go alone or with a friend or with your intended. It does not matter. What matters is taking time to slow down and enjoy a high quality, healthy meal (sorry, no junk food). A well-nourished and rested body is better equipped to face the stress of last-minute wedding preparations.

Consider hiring a wedding planner. They can alleviate doubts, answer questions, and avoid the potential pitfalls that occur when inexperienced couples attempt to negotiate with vendors without wedding industry knowledge.

Love your vendors. Another way to keep your happiness level high: Work with only people you like. Hire wedding vendors only if you respect their skills and find them congenial. This occasion is too important to be spending time with those that are difficult.

Delegate. You may be able to delegate some chores or tasks. Don’t be shy about asking your partner, friends or relatives to help you with some of these.

Make time to connect with your partner and spend positive time together. Enjoy life’s little pleasures together. Take a walk. Go window shopping. Have lunch and make a point of talking about something other than the wedding.

Yes, the weeks running up to the wedding day are demanding. But if you take time to purge the stress regularly and intentionally, you will have a great foundation for a happy and healthy wedding day.