It's a month before the big day, and the mounting responsibilities of a busy bride are no doubt starting to get to you. Your maid of honor may forgive you for leaving her on the phone with a dial tone over a wedding-related disagreement, but threatening to sue your caterer when the dinner menu isn't up to your impossibly high standards means you've gone too far. A never-ending bridal to-do list can take a toll on your psyche, and the stress of planning a wedding can transform even the sweetest, most mild-tempered girl into a monstrous bridezilla. While those around you might suggest you get professional help, all you really need is a time-out to calm down and regroup. It's important to take a day to pamper yourself during your engagement -- not only for the sake of your sanity, but to better your overall health, too.
A couple of weeks before you tie the knot, play hooky and spend a day at a spa -- away from work and wedding hoopla. You may feel a little guilty at first, but a day of indulgence is something every bride needs in order to de-stress before walking down the aisle. Schedule an appointment for a mani-pedi with a manicurist, and meet with a masseuse for a deep tissue massage. An experienced massage therapist will use his hands, forearms -- even elbows! -- to relieve pain, lower your blood pressure and break up the lactic acid in your muscles. Before you leave the spa, sweat out any lingering tension inside a sauna for 15 to 20 minutes. A sweat bath's dry heat will cleanse your body and clear your mind, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. However, remember to drink at least two glasses of cool water afterwards to rehydrate and keep from feeling faint later in the day.
When reserving a spa day isn't in the wedding budget, set aside a little time to pamper yourself on your own. Yoga is a wonderful way to center your body and relieve anxiety and fatigue. Play soft music and watch a yoga DVD to practice stretching, meditation and breathing techniques in the comfort of your own home. When you're particularly stressed and are in need of a simple indulgence, quickly soak in a warm bath before bed. Add bath salts to the water and choose a pleasing scent that will calm your senses, like lavender or chamomile. Dead Sea salts are especially good for you; add them to a bath to relieve minor aches and pains, soothe skin ailments like acne, dry skin and psoriasis, and prevent wrinkles. While Dead Sea salts can be a little expensive and hard to find, Epsom salt is inexpensive and can be purchased from your local pharmacy or grocery store. The magnesium sulfate found in Epsom salt can reduce inflammation and pain and even detoxify your body.
Finally, never underestimate how beneficial a little fresh air can be for your health. Pour a tall glass of water or iced tea, go outside, sit in a chair and take a break. Flip through a fashion magazine or trashy tabloid, or get lost in a good book for an hour or two. You may even find that you're so relaxed that you nod off and take a cat nap -- a great way to recharge your mind and body. You're sure to wake up with a burst of energy, ready to tackle the rest of the day -- and the remaining bullets on your wedding to-do check list.
No matter what obstacles you face before the big day, remember to pause and take a deep breath whenever you're stressed. Taking time for yourself is essential in feeling and looking your best. Above all, take comfort in knowing that when the wedding is over, you'll have a marriage and a better half, someone who will hopefully pamper you with tender loving care for the rest of your life!
- Columbia University. "Go Ask Alice! Benefits of Sauna." Oct. 1, 1994. (Sept. 4, 2012) http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/benefits-sauna
- Herbert, Sophie. "Soak Up the Benefits! Yoga Off the Mat." Whole Living Daily. Feb. 14, 2012. (Sept. 4, 2012) http://wholelivingdaily.wholeliving.com/2012/02/soak-in-the-benefits-yoga-off-the-mat.html
- Mullett, Suzanne. "The Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage." Holistic Community. (Sept. 4, 2012) http://www.holistic-community.co.uk/articles/the-benefits-of-deep-tissue-massage.html
- The Knot. "Refresh Your Spirit: 10 Tips to Relax and Unwind." (Sept. 4, 2012) http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-beauty-tips/wedding-pampering-relaxation/articles/10-tips-to-relax-and-unwind.aspx#ixzz25bD3IH1U
- Ultimate Weight Loss. "Pampering yourself to weight loss." (Sept. 4, 2012) http://www.weightloss.com.au/articles/healthy-lifestyle/pamper-yourself.html
- Yoga Art and Science. "Restorative Poses." (Sept. 4, 2012) http://www.yogaartandscience.com/poses/restpos/shavas/shavas.html