How to Handle Stress When Planning Your Wedding
Today we have a guest writer, MaKenna, sharing some of her wisdom stress management. Hope you enjoy!
MaKenna Stevens is the founder and owner of Perfectly Planned Moments, a wedding planning business on the California-Oregon Coast. For more information, check out her website.
As a wedding planner, stress is something I manage on a regular basis. In fact, if I didn’t keep my stress-levels in check, I don’t think I would be able to handle my job in a healthy, sane way. Over time, I’ve noticed myself repeatedly using the same methods to manage my stress, and have found these methods to transcend just wedding planning and work to handle other kinds of stress as well.
Stress Vs. Worry
One of the first things I must define is the difference between stress and worry. For these purposes, I’ll define stress as the uncomfortable feeling of urgency for certain circumstances to work out desirably. This connects stress to specific circumstances, which tend to come and go as circumstances change. Worry, on the other hand, is an emotional state of mind that rarely comes with specific circumstances; rather, it is a contagious attitude that will leak into every aspect of your life and compromise your mental and physical energy. It isn’t productive, and worrying or not worrying will not change whatever it is you are worried about. However, it will change how you live, and how happy you feel.
I’m not discussing worry when I mention stress in this blog post. Stress is something you can react to, whereas worry is a reaction someone exposed to stress often responds with. Please read below thoughtfully!
Stress Can Change Your Life (In a Good Way!)
What if, instead of an exhausting addition to your life, stress became a tool: an emotional indicator that there is work left to do to resolve whatever you are stressed about?
This opinion stems from a positive outlook on stress. Typically, we hear phrases like “I’m so stressed!” and react as though the stress is a negative thing. However, with a healthy outlook on what stress is and how it can positively impact how we function, stress can be a useful tool. There is a wonderful Ted Talk that discusses the body’s physical response to stress, and it actually shows through studies that the way stress physically impacts us depends on how we emotionally feel about it. If we feel that stress is a bad addition to our lives, it will begin to break down our mental, emotional and physical well-being. Amazingly enough, when we view stress as extra energy to aid us in solving a problem, it will serve only to drive us forward, with no physical side-effects! Don’t believe me? Take 15 minutes to watch that Ted Talk.
Much like physical pain indicates to our bodies that something is wrong, circumstance-related stress often flairs up when we feel unprepared to face the related circumstance. When we listen to this indicator, we can learn from it exactly what it is we can do to alleviate the stress we feel. As a wedding planner, when I feel stressed, I take the time to write out a To Do List of what is left to do for the issue or wedding that I’m stressed about. Almost every time I complete the list, I feel suddenly relaxed, because if I am able to complete each To Do, I know that all should go well. In this way, I have used my stress to tell me where my work stands on the “Complete” meter. It helps me keep my priorities straight.
Stress Is In Our Heads
Don’t worry, you’re not crazy. But I’m a firm believer that stress is something we develop in ourselves over time. Because each person is different, different things cause more stress than others, and the way we are prone to reacting to stress will also be different. This can be broken down to the concept that stress is controlled significantly by our attitude toward it, which means we can often talk ourselves out of feeling stressed by telling ourselves “everything will work out in the end.” It sounds too easy, I know. If you think about it, it’s just as reasonable as the other ridiculous scenarios we create in our heads to rationalize the things we stress about. “Everything is going to go so wrong!” is probably even more ridiculous—in retrospect—than hoping that everything will work out as planned.
Typically, we are stressed about the possibility of something going wrong, as opposed to simply happening. When things have a possibility of going wrong, our stress gets us wound up thinking about the worst things that could happen. If we ask ourselves what those—often abstract, unrealistic—worst case scenarios are, usually we will realize that the chances of those terrible things happening are slim to none. Certainly, there are more realistic, still unideal, possibilities; however, they will probably not be the end of the world.
Stress can help detect these unideal possibilities and guide us toward trouble-shooting them ahead of time to ensure even those things don’t happen.
Stress Will Help You Troubleshoot Your Life
To trouble-shoot, first write out a list of the terrible things you feel could happen that are causing you stress, for instance, “I’m worried that on my wedding day my cake will fall over!”
Then, come up with responses to each scenario that could help eliminate or resolve your problem. For instance: to eliminate the falling cake problem, get cupcakes instead! If you must have a tiered cake, order wide tiers, fewer tiers, and place the cake on a wide table out of the way of the guests. This kind of planning ahead should help relieve the stress you feel about it.
During the day of the wedding, should the cake fall anyway, you’ll need to have a Plan B in place. Plan B could be to have backup sheet cakes in the kitchen, to have a dessert bar as well as a cake, or to scout out bakeries near your venue that you could potentially buy out on the day of your wedding if anything happens to your cake.
Notice that each solution means that everything will work out at the end of the day. However, even if the cake does fall, you must reason with your stress and tell yourself that in the end, you’ll still be married, and it’s NOT the end of the world if your cake falls. If you don’t come to this conclusion, over time, your stress can really compromise your health.
Stress is never a fun feeling, but it is definitely useful. When you allow stress to become your solution-finder instead of an extra emotional burden that chips away at your emotional and physical well-being, you will be transformed.
One last pro-tip: when faced with stress, approach someone in your life you feel will give you an objective point of view, and process your stress with them. Explain your situation, your fears, and ask them for possible solutions. It’s always better to face your problems with someone beside you!
For more blog posts like this, visit www.perfectlyplannedmoments.com/blog/.