Beat the Bridal Blues: Navigating Mental Health Challenges Before Your Wedding
The months leading up to your wedding day can be a whirlwind of emotions; excitement, anxiety, and oh, the anticipation! Still, while for some these may be primarily good feelings, for others, the stress and pressure of planning a wedding can lead to mental health challenges – often referred to as the “bridal blues.”
Pre-wedding jitters are normal, but, when not carefully managed, they have the potential to escalate into more serious issues.
“Celebrating your love through marriage is akin to embarking on a journey of recovery; it’s a path where each act of self-care and the unwavering support of loved ones become the stepping stones toward a brighter, healthier future. Just as recovery teaches us to embrace life’s imperfections, so too should we embrace the beautiful imperfections in the journey to your wedding day, cherishing the moments that truly matter,” says Michelle English, LCSW, of Healthy Life Recovery.
Without further ado, I now pronounce that it is time to explore some strategies to help you navigate mental health challenges before your wedding, ensuring a happier and healthier path to your big day – and a dreamy honeymoon that isn’t spent recovering from the wedding! We talked with the experts at Healthy Life Recovery – and these are their tips and recommendations.
Recognize the Signs
First and foremost, it’s crucial to recognize the early warning signs of mental health challenges; these can manifest in various ways, such as increased anxiety, mood swings, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, and even out-of-the-ordinary physical symptoms, like headaches or digestive issues. It’s crucial to remember that everyone experiences stress differently, so it’s important to pay attention to your own body and mind.
One of the most effective ways to combat the bridal blues is through open and honest communication with your partner; you’re getting married, after all, so this shouldn’t be too tricky, although it’s important to remember that they are likely feeling a heady mix of emotions too. Share your thoughts, worries, and fears with each other; having a supportive partner in your corner who understands what you’re going through can be incredibly comforting.
Set Realistic Expectations
Often, the pressure of creating a dream wedding alone can contribute to mental health challenges; it’s essential to set realistic expectations for your wedding day. Understand that not everything will go according to plan, and that’s okay! It’s more than ok! The stuff-ups are often the source of the most memorable moments. Embrace imperfections as part of your unique journey, keeping in mind that your wedding is only but one day in your lifelong journey together.
Seek Professional Help
If you find that your mental health challenges are becoming increasingly overwhelming, don’t hesitate to seek professional help; a therapist or counselor can provide you with strategies to manage stress and anxiety, and the sooner you get some support, the better the outcome will likely be. These professionals can also help you to work through any deeper issues that may be surfacing due to the wedding planning process – cold feet is common! Don’t be scared of it – be curious and willing to uncover what’s really niggling at your subconscious.
Self-Care is Key
Taking care of yourself is crucial (especially) during this time, so be sure to make self-care a priority in your wedding planning schedule. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, or simply a quiet evening with a good book or movie (preferably not centered around a wedding disaster), find activities that help you to relax, unwind and recharge. Remember that self-care isn’t selfish; it’s necessary for your well-being, so run a nice, hot bath, and indulge in some of those scrummy wedding popcorn samples
Delegate and Seek Support
Wedding planning can be a massive undertaking, and it’s okay to ask for help, so get your (polite and kind) bossy boots on and delegate tasks to trusted friends and family members; they will likely be happy to lend a hand and share the burden. Building a support network can alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling, and most people love weddings and are happy to have a role, so never feel that it’s all on your shoulders alone.
Approach wedding planning mindfully; instead of obsessing fastidiously over every micro-detail, stand back and focus on the bigger picture. What truly matters is the celebration of your love with your partner and the presence of your loved ones; keep your priorities in check and don’t let minor details overshadow the joy of the occasion – it’s supposed to be the best day ever, not the most productive and stressful!
It’s easy to get consumed by all-things wedding planning, but it’s crucial to take breaks – you simply have to step away from the wedding checklist from time to time. Spend quality time with your partner where wedding talk is strictly off the table; a little distance can work wonders, helping you to return to the planning process with a fresh perspective.
Remember Your Why
Lastly, always remember why you’re getting married in the first place! Your wedding is a celebration of your love and commitment to each other first, and an event second, and must remain that way. When the stress starts to stand out further than a puffy 80s bridesmaid frock, remind yourself of the love that brought you together, and of the life you’re about to embark on once the wedding day has come and gone.
The bridal blues are all-too common, but they don’t have to overshadow the excitement of your wedding. By recognizing the signs, communicating openly, seeking support, and practicing self-care, you can navigate the mental health challenges that may arise during the wedding planning process, and, by-and-large, avoid them spilling over. Remember that your wedding day is just the beginning of a beautiful journey, and your mental and emotional well-being should always be a top priority.