As someone who lives a high-stress life, between the stresses I put on myself (grad school, part-time job), and the stresses that can’t really be avoided (stressful full-time job), coping with stress is a major issue that impacts your mental and physical well-being. I’ve always lived a pretty busy life, and my jobs have pretty much all been stressful, so it’s something I have just grown accustomed to. As you can imagine, though, adding wedding planning to the mix is a whooooole lotta crazy. One way I’ve dealt with this, as you already know, is by having a long engagement to spread the stress out and make it more manageable.
And since I’m sure you’re wondering, “What’s the other major coping mechanism that you use for stress management, Miss P?”
Now, before you start thinking I’m some hippie dippy, Lululemon wearing, yoga mat toting, vegan-preaching maniac, let me explain myself. (and FWIW, I have nothing against any of those things, and I actually am a little bit of a hippie)
A few months before I met Monsieur P, I was totally into a running regimen. I lived in the city, I ran even though I hated it, because it’s the only thing that shrinks my thunder thighs, and I was pretty happy with my fitness. And then, I developed asthma. Even when my asthma is well-controlled with my medication, I’m still unable to run for any significant distance, and I was struggling to find a workout that wouldn’t be a trigger for my asthma.
I came across a community fitness program that offered a really reasonably-priced power yoga class, which was $60 for 12 weeks of classes. I was pretty concerned that I was going to walk into something really weird, and there would be a lot of awkward humming and strange people, because that’s what I thought yoga was. Before my first class, I tried out some yoga on my wii in the safety of my own home, just to get a basic idea of what I was looking at here. Then I put on my big-girl pants and ventured to try my first yoga practice in front of other people.
I was completely blown away by what a workout I could get, without being really winded (though there are still times that I get a little winded), and how not-weird it was. The instructor was fantastic, the people in the class were normal, and it was pretty fun. I giggled a little inside during the OM’s, and I didn’t quite understand the concept of a third eye, but I felt amazing afterward, so I went back again. and again. and again.
Years later, I can tell you that when I’m not consistently practicing, I can tell the difference, not just because my pants fit a little tighter. I’ve always had back pain, and when I’m practicing, that pain is seriously reduced. Being in an office job has cursed me with frequent pinched nerves (no matter how much I try to have good posture), but when I’m practicing, it’s much less likely to happen.
Most of all, taking the time out of my day for yoga is great for my mental well-being. It’s pretty much the only time that I actually take just for myself, and focusing on yoga and my Ujjayi breath is a great mental release from everything else that I have going on. I never learned about meditation techniques or anything of the sort when I was younger, so practicing yoga and finding that peace and quiet within myself has been amazing when everything else in my life is so loud and busy all the time.
If you would’ve told me 10 years ago that I’d be preaching the benefits of meditation and talking about being obsessed with yoga, I probably would have laughed at you and rolled my eyes. I understand that yoga may not be for everyone, but for me, it was just what I needed, physically and mentally.
Some days I still have to drag myself to yoga, but once I’m there, I’m always glad that I did. For me, it’s about relaxing and taking some quiet time to myself. No one in the room matters but me, I’m just there to do my personal practice, and I leave feeling lighter (physically and mentally). Yoga has been absolutely crucial to my sanity over the past 6 years, including those 2 years of wedding planning. And of course, it has the added benefit of also helping me to get and stay in shape, so I won’t argue with that either.
How do you manage your stress with wedding planning? Are you obsessed with yoga or another workout? Do the OM’s make you giggle too?