In case you don’t know yet… I’ve recently gotten engaged! As amazing as the moment of proposal was, the work that’s come my way in planning a wedding has been… insane?
To clarify… My fiancé and I got engaged on March 12, and our ceremony is planned for August 4th. That gives us about four solid months to plan out a full wedding ceremony and reception. Sounds a lot easier than it is.
A few times in the last couple weeks, my fiancé and I have just looked at each other and collapsed out of exhaustion.
Working full-time for him and going to university full-time for me on top of wedding planning is an exhausting mix. We were both super stressed. The essays started piling, the e-mails started increasing, the phone calls started multiplying…You get the picture.
My thoughts turned to daydreaming of a personal assistant to do all the work for me or hoping my professors would become sympathetic towards me and give me A+’s. Unfortunately, as of yet, none of this has happened.
Instead… My fiancé and I got in some tricky discussions, my Mom yelled at me more than once, my sister told me I wasn’t doing a good job, team members for group projects in school were coming down on me with demands that I do my parts better…I started to break.
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Seeing the caution signs popping up all around me, I decided to spend some time learning how to manage stress.
Here’s what I learned about managing stress from my search:
- Start a stress journal: I wrote down everything I needed to do, how I felt about it all, and in the end I felt amazingly better – relieved – and confident I could do it all.
- Step away from unhealthy habits: Don’t reach for a cigarette or drink and definitely don’t relapse into an eating disorder. Don’t take sleeping pills or zone out in front of the computer. Instead grab some lunch or dinner with friends and vent it all out. If working out is your thing, hit up the gym for a good weight-training session that will help you get some aggression out.
- Be open and honest: Don’t stay quiet and let the stress start mounting inside you, vent to friends, to your significant others, your family – tell them how you feel honestly. Everyone has been stressed and they will understand.
- Change the situation: If someone is specifically stressing you, step away from them. Give yourself some space and time to breathe. If you have to, avoid the stress and work on your self – it’s okay to be selfish when it comes to your health.
- Learn how to say “No!”: If you have too much on your plate, don’t let people pile more work on you. Time manage and organize and ask for help!
- Avoid hot-button topics: Don’t bring up topics that you know will get you emotional or in a heated discussion. If you’re busy, take time to complete your tasks and do NOT try and compete on political or religious issues.
- Be willing to compromise: I was beyond happy when my fiancé approached me and said: “Let me help you. You’ve done your part now let me do mine.” It was hard at first for me to give up control over the situation; however, I trust him full heartedly and letting someone else do the work for you doesn’t mean your weak or not efficient enough.
- Look at the big picture: On a piece of paper I wrote down my ultimate goal after getting through everything. Having that clear task set in mind gave me the motivation to keep going. Hearing my fiance remind me that the main reason for our wedding to create a celebration of our love also put everything into perspective for me.
- Look for the upside: My fiancé is awesome at seeing the upside of life and staying optimistic. Having him beside me through all the stress helped me move away from my pessimism towards optimism. Find someone who does this for you; someone who you make you laugh and realize there’s more to life.
- Let yourself relax: Every night I decided to set aside a couple hours for me, myself, and I. During this time I either worked-out, wrote, read, watched TV, did anything that helped me move away from what was stressing me out.
Following all of these steps in the past week has really really helped. My relationships have gotten better and I’m finding myself throwing out jokes and laughing more openly. I’ve made a schedule up for the rest of my week and am fully confident I can complete all my tasks and have a full day all to myself!
Most importantly, my relationships have stopped suffering. I’m speaking honestly, my family is and so is my fiancé and we are all more aware of who is and who isn’t stressed. In other words, we’ve learned to share the weight, not throw it all at one person.
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