Monday, May 7, 2018

The Mindful Bride, Part 2: Self-care and Mindfulness

Excellent, you've made it to Part 2: Self care for the Mindful Bride. 

I had heard too many times that brides never really got the chance to enjoy the day. The day flies by! They warned me, and, You probably won't even see your partner for most of the day - you'll get split up all night! 

This was terrifying and not at all what I wanted from my wedding day. I wanted to enjoy and savour every moment. I wanted to move at my leisure, spend time with the people around me, and with my husband! How on earth could I enjoy my wedding if my husband was going to be torn away from me all night? 

So I made a plan. I made a plan to do everything in my power to soak up every moment. To ask for help when I needed it. To ignore those who were acting a little odd or crazy, to focus my attention on my love for my partner and what this day truly meant. 

First off, it doesn't hurt when you've done some prep work and you have a kick-ass bridal team. My bachelorette party was a yoga retreat at a cottage up north, complete with a nature hike, home-cooked food, colouring, a Footloose movie night, and dance party (among other activities). 

We had a schedule, but we also had down-time. And even more important to me, I asked that the entire thing be a complete surprise throughout.  I wanted to just go with the flow, and enjoy every part as it happened. I didn't want to be anticipating an activity or planning ahead. I wanted to be in the moment. It was incredible!

A few weeks before the wedding, things were definitely getting crammed into my schedule. Self-care was a must as there were so many other obligations in those weeks. 

First, I was terrified of getting sick for the wedding, so I loaded up on all my supplements, taking my adaptogens and antioxidants to prevent illness and help keep my energy up. I even gave myself a B12 shot a few days before the wedding to help with anxiety and energy.

Next, I worked on my gratitude journalling. 4-7 days before the wedding I journaled about everything I was looking forward to regarding the wedding. I put aside anything that was upsetting me, anything that was stressful and anything that could go wrong, and ONLY journaled about the positives. I even wrote out a list (several pages long) on everything I loved about my fiancé. The words just flowed out of me and it reset my headspace. 

I booked myself a massage a week before the wedding; A full 60-minute massage with one of the RMT's at my clinic, which included cranial work and really reinforced getting my shoulders back, not allowing them to hunch forward. She was an angel to me that day. She also sent me home with epsom salts and I got to take a nice hot bath with them. 

Use exercise to blow off steam or stress. Go for a jog, a bike ride, a swim, or maybe a kickboxing class; Whatever you need to physically let out any tension that you're holding onto. I personally found yoga to be helpful. Listen to what your body needs. 

I got some well-needed quality time with my fiancé during the week before the wedding. We were both insanely busy with work in addition to everything wedding-related, but he was incredible and made the time to scoot out for a couple sushi rolls while we listened to music together, sharing a single set of earbuds. We also practiced our first dance a few times in our living room, which had me in tears, and totally excited for our day. 

Being Mindful on the day of the Wedding

All of that prep work had me more relaxed on the day of, and I aimed to keep my morning routine the same with my breakfast, coffee and morning wake-up routine. I highly suggest eating in the morning if you can (especially protein)... it's a packed day and it'll help to keep blood sugar levels balanced. Pack a few portable snacks like nut/seed bars or a protein shake to give you a boost throughout the day. 

Have your packing list ready and leave early. The day of, I made sure that everything was organized, and I had my incredible team. We left early, and our hair and makeup team was running ahead of schedule. All 6 of us were done with an extra 30 minutes to spare. 

We took that time to sip on some champagne, chat with our photographer and my mom. We settled into our room, taking a few bites out of whatever snack I could stomach. I felt so relaxed and not rushed at all. Best of all, I could stop to take it all in. My flowers arrived and I just stared at them for minutes. I looked at my dress hanging up; gave my mom an extra hug; and just walked about in my sock feet. 

We took our time getting dressed and again, we were right on time to start photos. I highly recommend doing photos and a "first look" before the actual ceremony. It saved us from cramming in photos between the ceremony and reception, and allowed my fiancé and I to get more quality time together to enjoy the moments leading up to the ceremony. This day was about us, and I didn't care for a huge "reveal" walking down the aisle. I wanted that moment alone with my fiancé. I couldn't imagine seeing him for the first time that day and not being able to say anything to him. The point is, we got time together - exactly what I had hoped for. 

Don't dwell on the negatives. We ended up with the most perfect wedding ever; even though we were caught in an ice storm, even though we were missing about 10 of our guests, even though my sister (under the influence of alcohol and a huge passion for dancing) broke a glass during the reception; even though we had to change our entire ceremony set up the day before the wedding, and even though there were multiple issues with room bookings... Everything was solved. Every problem had a solution and it all turned out perfectly. 

If something is out of your control, it is out of your control.  I could have overreacted and gotten upset about anything at any point in the day, but there wasn't a point to any of it. I was blissfully happy because I finally got to wear my wedding dress, and I was marrying my true love! How can you not be happy? This is your day and it's all about your love for each other. 

Lastly, when you slow down, you get a chance to just take everything in. Remember the little moments, the details. I went to sleep that night replaying the entire day in my head. I didn't want to forget a single second. And with those memories I was able to write out our entire wedding story - the next journalling assignment I made for myself. 

Your goals and dreams for the day might be different than mine, and that's okay. But I highly recommend taking the time for self-care, stress management, and practicing mindfulness so that you can fully take in the day and reduce the feeling of being stressed, rushed, or disappointed by any surprises that come up. 

These same principles can be applied to so much more outside of a wedding, but a wedding is a special lifetime event and considering the time and effort you put into planning and executing this day, you deserve to enjoy it and savour it; Appreciate it for all that it is.