Planning a wedding should be fun, but the reality is that many couples find it stressful. What should be a time for celebrating your relationship can easily become clouded by stress, especially in the immediate months beforehand. Many brides and grooms-to-be will no doubt choose to adopt a healthier lifestyle in the weeks leading up to the big day. If this is you, here are some top tips to help you de-stress and incorporate a healthier lifestyle into your everyday routine.
1. Make small incremental changes to your daily routine
We all lead busy lives, so fitting in exercise can be difficult. That’s why we encourage people to make small changes that can be incorporated into existing routines. Taking small steps today can have a big and positive effect on later life, whether it’s getting off the bus a stop early, taking the stairs rather than the lift, or walking the dog an extra 10 minutes a day. Small changes on a daily basis will soon add up. It is a journey, rather than doing everything in one go.
2. Eat well
Eating well does wonders for your health and but can also make you feel happier in general. Many studies cite a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, legumes and fish as a sure fire way to lead a healthier, and consequently happier, life. It helps to place fruit and healthy snacks in a convenient place so you have it to hand.
Start by incorporating small changes into your existing diet rather than adopting an extreme crash diet. A good way to do this is by choosing lean foods, such as chicken and turkey, and making sure you reach for an apple rather than sweets. It’s important to maintain a balance, however, and remember to treat yourself every now and again.
3. Get active
Running, swimming, yoga, time spent at the gym, or even walking, are great ways to de-stress relax and get healthy. Swimming can have a positive impact on your health as water is 12 times as dense as air so it’s a far more effective way of toning your muscles than any other form of cardiovascular exercise that you can do on land, and can be relaxing when done at a slow place.
4. Workout with a friend
What better time to call on the bridesmaids than for a lunch-time jog or an after work walk around the park. Not only will it benefit your health while making the experience more enjoyable, but it will also serve as extra planning time for the big day.
5. Set realistic goals and celebrate your success
It’s important to recognise success and remember that you don’t have to be a marathon runner to be active, but you can be an everyday athlete instead. Don’t be too ambitious when setting targets - remember slow and steady progress is key. It's better to set a goal and reach it slowly rather than increasing the chance of getting injured, for example don’t set a goal to run five miles one week if you’ve never run that distance before. Setting achievable and attainable goals that can increase over time will help towards leading a happier and healthier lifestyle.
6. Use a wearable device
It can be difficult to keep track of the activity you’re doing, so using a wearable device such as an Apple Watch, Garmin or Fitbit, can help you measure your progress and reach your goals. There are plenty of free apps you can download onto your phone as well. Not only will you be able to see the distance you’ve completed and steps walked, but you might also be motivated by the results.
7. Don’t give up
Getting fit isn't always easy, especially if you’re not noticing the results straight way - but don't give up. Even if you don't initially see a difference, it doesn't mean you aren't getting healthier. As you reach your goals, gradually increase them and you'll start to notice the results in no time. The prospect of the wedding day and honeymoon to look at the end of the line is a great way to stay motivated.
8. Try to get more sleep
While it can be difficult to get seven hours of sleep a night in the weeks leading up to the big day, it’s still important to get as much as you can. Sleep is a big driver in preventing anxiety and recovering from exercise, and it helps you perform at your best every day. VitalityHealth’s Britain’s Healthiest Workplace research shows that the optimal level of sleep is between seven and eight hours a night. People who sleep less than this lose nearly four additional days of productive time each year.
9. Take time off before the big day
Planning a wedding can be stressful and certainly take its toll. Try to take some time off in the days leading up to the big day, so that you can relax and prepare for the event. It will also allow you to work through any last minute issues which have the potential to surface.
10. When it comes to the honeymoon, switch off… literally
Constant connectivity to mobile devices has become a large part of the modern day office environment, and many people find themselves checking e-mails even while on holiday. One of the best possible ways to de-stress when on honeymoon is to turn off your work mobile, switch your mind off completely from what is going on back home, relax and enjoy the experience and time spent together.
Andy Magill, Wellness Coach at VitalityHealth