The road to the aisle can be a schizophrenic one. Some days it's filled with elation and happiness, other days it's a little, um, trying on your nerves. Here are 10 suggestions for what to do when stress takes its toll.
Get a Massage
Massage is the perfect way to relieve tension. Why not try a technique you've never experienced before? According to Kristen Haines, owner of NYC's Euphoria Spa, the hottest new technique (literally) is a Thai massage, in which hot herbal poultices (basically giant tea bags filled with detoxifying goodies, like turmeric, rice extract, and tamarind leaves) get pressed into tired muscles. It's performed in combination with more traditional deep tissue massage techniques for a totally invigorating result. Don't forget to drink lots of water on the day of your treatment; toxins are released during a massage and water helps flush them out of your system.
Take a Yoga Class
Or better yet, sign up for a package of yoga classes a month or two before your wedding. If you've never taken yoga before, choose a beginner class: The breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and postures will have you totally centered by the time you hear wedding bells. If you don't have time for class, or if one isn't offered in your area, try a yoga DVD like A.M. and P.M. Yoga for Beginners
or The All-Day Yoga Workout: A.M., Stress Relief, and P.M. Yoga for Beginners
. (Even though these aren't the newest DVDs out there, they're still definitely among the best -- and bestsellers -- for beginners).
Soak in the Tub
A nice, hot bath will relax your muscles and your mind. For optimal stress-quenching results, add a bath salt that'll moisturize your skin and help you loosen up with a soothing scent. We love Aromatherapy Hydrotherapy Skin-Conditioning Fine Sugar Soak ($20, Bath & Body Works stores nationwide). It's packed with skin-soothing ingredients like sugar, oatmeal, and marshmallow, and its heavenly scent (calming chamomile, rose absolute, and myrrh) will help you do some serious zoning out. As long as you're lying around in warm water, use a pumice on your feet and a loofah on your knees and elbows for extra polish. You'll step out of the tub feeling completely refreshed.
When you need to clear your mind, there's nothing like getting a breath of fresh air -- literally! Take a brisk walk or jog outside -- maybe some music, no cell phone, just you. You don't have to get off the beaten path. Even a circuit around your neighborhood will work. Tune out what's going on around you (but still watch out for traffic!) and concentrate on the rhythm of your strides. You'll find yourself feeling pretty Zen in no time. And besides, an extra prewedding workout never hurt anyone!
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 are headed on your honeymoon for an excellent sneakpreview?
Hit the Spa
Find a spa in your area that offers a day package (some even offer special bridal packages), sign up for treatments that you love or have never tried before, and enjoy a day of total relaxing indulgence. If you've never had a facial before, book your appointment at least two to three months before your wedding day (you never know how your skin will react, and the day of the rehearsal dinner is not the time to find out). A regular facial regime will leave your skin positively radiant.
Have Some H2O
When you're feeling swamped, it's totally natural to go for a caffeine fix. But coffee, soda, and energy drinks don't just jack you up -- they also dehydrate you, leaving you feeling even more worn out when the buzz wears off and you come crashing down later. Grab some water instead. If you're properly hydrated, you'll feel better overall -- less fatigued, fewer aches and pains, plus your skin will glow. For a soothing sip, make yourself a spa-style pitcher: Spike ice water with slices of orange, lemon, or lime.
In the weeks before your wedding, talking with the people you love most will keep you feeling connected and sane. So, even though you'll being seeing everyone in a few months, keep calling them whenever you feel tense. Trust us, you'll feel much better.
Start a Journal
The ideas and dreams racing through your mind right now are ones that you won't ever want to forget. There are books specially targeted to guide you and your partner with pages that prompt you to document everything from how you met to your shared future goals. But starting with a blank book is also wonderful and will encourage you to write in a stream-of-consciousness style.
Call In Sick
As naughty as it may seem, you deserve it. Use the day to get ahead on wedding planning that you've been putting off, or use it just to pamper yourself (see #1 to 9 above).
Resource: Kristen Haines, owner of Euphoria Spa in New York City EuphoriaSpaNYC.com