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Anti-Stress Rituals for Upcoming Brides

16/07/2015 15:54 BST | Updated 14/07/2016 10:59 BST

Planning a wedding can be mega stressful. Whilst a little bit of stress can get you acting in a productive manner, a lot of stress will only wreak havoc on your appearance for the big day and take a toll on your health. Here are some rituals that you can incorporate into your wedding planning lifestyle to control your stress levels.

Timebox and prioritize your to-do list

Working on a prioritized to-do list will help manage your wedding workload, and ensure that you get the best possible outcome for your wedding. Try to set some personal deadlines or priority order in which you can work from. I like to set tasks in my calendar while my partner likes to work in priority order, so this makes a good balance in keeping things in order. Once you see things being done and ticked off the to-do list, you'll naturally feel less stressed.

Don't neglect your skin care routine

Stress might somehow bring out some skin conditions such as acne, eczema or hives. For me, stress causes me to break out more than usual, but not too much, so I am currently using a spot zapping range from Green People, a good Waitrose find. It's composed of a Gentle Cleanse & Makeup remover, Day Solution, Zap & Clear Serum as well as a Foaming Face Wash, your daily essentials. The range keeps my skin moisturised but not oily, and I like the fact that this is very gentle and chemical free so I can carry on using them even in case of pregnancy. Although pregnancy isn't in the plan pre-wedding, I'm minimising potential risks in case it happens. It's important to assess the impact that stress has on your skin and counterbalance it accordingly with the right skincare routine.

Try to go digital when disseminating information

A wedding website can actually be a good idea if you want to disseminate a lot of information to people all over the world. Even if you are sending out physical invitations, a website can provide supplementary information to your guests. This can be especially helpful if you're having a destination wedding. There are a lot of drag and drop websites that come with existing designs and templates so you don't need to write a single line of code. I am currently using a wedding site builder called Appy Couple which lets you send invitations, manage RSVPs and build several pages of information quite easily. The bonus was that the process of buying a domain name was really simple and didn't include any of the 'techy stuff'. There are a lot of wedding website builders, both free and paid, from which you can greatly benefit from.

Exercise and eat healthy

Exercise lowers stress levels and keeps your figure in check, so either continue exercising or start an exercise routine. Even once a week would help if you really can't spare the time or commitment. I only do exercise twice a week, but I pencil them in the diary and reserve a back-up slot to make sure I get to it. I also remain conscious of what I eat a few months before so I am not rushed into a crash diet a month before the big day. Part of this includes trying to get a healthy portion of fruits and vegetables daily and minimizing high sugar foods. During busy periods, it may be hard to squeeze in a meal, and I remember going through some Re: Active Skinny Shakes online from DesirableBody last year when it was crazy busy to make sure I didn't starve. I don't need to lose weight now but there was a time period where I did want to trim an inch or two off my waist and The Little Black Dress Diet from DesirableBody helped jump start the process as it kept my metabolism running and energy high whilst streamlining my food intake and introducing a new exercise routine. The best part is that it only lasted a few weeks and I transitioned into just a regular exercise routine and eating healthily. Don't go for unsustainable diet or exercise plans, but only use one to kick start a sustainable healthy lifestyle.

Don't minimize contact with your partner

Stress can make you less inclined to hug, kiss and cuddle your partner, but this shouldn't be minimized as oxytocin, an anti-stress hormone, is released during physical contact. To facilitate this, make sure you still engage in hydrating your skin and lips even as we approach summer time. I use Skinshop's Liquorice & Melissa Rescue Lip Gel to keep my lips hydrated as well as to prevent cold sores and it comes in a handy little tube that's easy to apply. I also use Skinshop's Defensil rescue serum to relieve my hands of dry skin as sometimes I skip applying hand cream or moisturiser due to being preoccupied with other things. The last thing you need is itchy and dry lips and skin to deal with on top of wedding planning. Also, don't be tempted to skip this routine just because the weather's warm outside.

Take a long refreshing shower or bath

So the temperatures might have changed but you still have to exfoliate your skin to suppleness. I like having a shower to calm down from the stresses with a scent that relaxes me. I use a Scandinavian Bath & Body Salt Scrub by Inner-Soul Organics when I feel like having a treat as it makes my skin feel really soft afterwards whilst having a nice scent while showering. However, every few weeks, I'll make an effort to run a bath and throw a bath bomb in, and my favorite is Lush's Frozen bath bomb which makes the water seem really magical. Alternatively, I'll spritz the room with Sasy n Savy's Lavender floral spray as the scent calms down my system. I also use this post-showering when not running a bath. I recommend making bath time enjoyable with nice scents that you enjoy as it can be a time when you can relax your body and mind.

Treat yourself once in a while

Even though the wedding will probably be a big financial drain, I recommend setting some funds aside to treat yourself after accomplishing a major wedding planning milestone task e.g. booking venue, catering and sending out invitations. I would recommend this to not be a food related if you're planning on losing weight. My definition of a treat is a fully body massage as it relieves all the tension in your body. As a treat, I went for a 3 hour treatment which includes a full body massage, palm reading and a lifted facial from Lush Spa called The Planets. It's not something I would do on a regular basis but it was quite different to a normal massage as the therapist invites you to talk about certain areas of tension and what they may relate to. So I would consider this a relief of not just physical but mental tension as well. Treating yourself can help relieve some of the stress and motivate you towards wedding planning productivity. It was quite honestly the best massage treatment I've ever had, and I left quite relaxed and very pampered.

Track your monthly cycle digitally

It might be useful to track your cycle now before even trying to conceive or when you want to avoid pregnancy. I use an app called Ovuview which has easy input methods for cycle tracking, and a back-up feature in case you lose your phone or data. However, it takes a couple months of data to accurately predict your cycles and when you are fertile, so it's best to start early. I mainly use it so that I know roughly when I will experience that unavoidable dip in energy every month, and try to avoid heavy wedding related or work related stress during that period. However, post-wedding I will have collected enough data to use for avoiding or increasing chances of pregnancy.

Make sure you get your beauty sleep

It may be hard to sleep when stressing about something, so it might be useful to engage in some nightly sleep inducing routines shortly before hitting the sack. As well as trying to go to bed the same time everyday, I use Deep Sleep Stress Less as well as Sleep Plus+ Pillow Spray from This Works. They are basically natural aromatherapy products to induce a good night's sleep, and are both pregnancy friendly. As soon as I smell the scents, my body pretty much relaxes and the Sleep Plus+ Pillow Spray lasts the whole night so when I wake up unnecessarily during the night, it helps me go back to sleep easily. I recommend taking steps to make sure that you don't lose sleep over the wedding planning process.

Do something fun/creative for the wedding

Wedding planning can seem like a laundry list of boring admin tasks after a while. To lighten the mood a little, do something creative or fun that you enjoy which can form an element of your wedding. It would be a bonus if it can incorporate one of your hobbies. One of my former hobbies when I had significantly less responsibility was singing and composing music. However, I've never been able to play an instrument to a high professional standard. Luckily, I stumbled upon Noteflight, an online music writing web application that lets you create, view, print and hear music notation to a professional quality. The Crescendo (premium) version includes a wide range of instruments, and I was able to create the music that I am walking down the aisle to with a violin, guitar, piano and cello without knowing how to play any of these instruments to a professional level. I really enjoyed the creation process and it took a bit of the wedding stress out. I would highly encourage you to do something DIY even if it's small to make it a more fun and personalised experience.