Even if you’re trying to not be that person who talks about their wedding all the time, it’s likely still the first thing friends and family ask you about. So how can you plan your wedding without feeling like it’s taking over your entire life? Practicing mindfulness—a concerted effort to be more aware of how your thoughts, actions and emotions affect you as they’re happening—is a smart way to focus on the right now, not just your wedding date, and even put anxiety at bay.
Plus, multiple studies show that mindfulness can also strengthen your relationship with your partner by helping you be more compassionate and better at resolving conflicts (which, no surprise, can crop up a lot during wedding planning). “The gateway to being more present is through your breath,” says Heather Peterson, chief yoga officer at CorePower Yoga, which has studios all across the country. “If you get better at breathing deeply when life gets tough and staying present rather than worrying about the future, regretting the past, or thinking about your to-do list, it’s going to make a real impact.” Ready to get started? Here are seven ways to be more mindful as you plan your wedding.
1. Set boundaries.
We get it: Wedding planning can feel like a full-time job, but it doesn’t need to become all-consuming. Carve out a little time each day, or every other day, to handle wedding-related tasks. Although there may be some exceptions, try to limit your wedding-focused convos and decisions to this time slot. Keep track of to-dos with The Knot All-In-One Wedding Planner App; it features an interactive checklist and message inbox, so you can talk with your vendors without a constant flood of wedding emails in your personal account.
2. Practice yoga.
Doing an exercise like yoga that focuses on the mind-body connection is a great way to break a sweat and release tension, while also reaping the benefits of mindfulness. But it takes more than holding a strong Warrior II pose to achieve that last part—you have to make breathing a priority. “If you have conscious, focused breathing while doing hard things with the physical body, your mind will become more present,” Peterson says. It can be tricky (particularly for beginners) to focus on breathing, especially when flowing into a difficult pose. Setting your intention at the beginning of class, and bringing your focus back to that intention after every series or flow, can help you have a mindful practice, she says. Not to mention, training yourself to breathe through difficult moments will definitely come in handy outside the studio (more on that below).
3. Trust your intuition.
If you have trouble making decisions (or find yourself doubting the ones you’ve already made), Peterson suggests asking yourself yoga-esque questions like: “Does this feel right for me? Do I feel good about these decisions?” Instead of obsessively scouring Pinterest for more DIY ideas or second-guessing your wedding dress choice, practicing mindfulness in this way can calm your mind. “Getting better at staying present and breathing deeply when life gets tough can help when it comes to worrying about the future or regretting the past,” Peterson says.
4. Write things down.
When frustrations pop up during wedding planning, they can make you forget the small victories and happy moments. To bring your attention back to the positive, Peterson suggests keeping a gratitude journal in your bag (or as a note on your phone)—a place to keep a list of things you’re grateful for, you’re delighted about or just excited for that day. “It only takes 30 seconds to do, but can completely change your perspective,” she says.
5. Schedule date nights.
If you’re constantly multitasking, it can be tricky to concentrate solely on what’s in front of you at the moment—like that person you’re about to marry. To help the two of you stay in the present, book regular date nights where you both agree to go screen-free. Whether you set a recurring weekly date or make more impromptu plans, setting aside time with the intention of simply enjoying each other’s company will keep your bond strong and your stress levels in check.
6. Choose your battles.
Whether you’re dealing with an overbearing mother-in-law, a vendor who’s pushing their vision, or your maid of honor who just doesn’t get your bachelorette party idea, Peterson suggests taking a one-minute break to decide when it’s worth pulling your “I’m the bride” card and when to just let it go. “Doing something as simple as six counts of deep inhale/exhale breathing can help you get out of ‘flight or fight’ mode and make critical decisions with ease,” she says. Bigger-picture or persistent issues you feel strongly about are always worth tackling directly. But chances are, if your mother-in-law’s dress doesn’t match the rest of the wedding party, or the caterer serves an hors d’oeuvre that’s not your favorite, it won’t make a noticeable impact on your day. In those cases, you’re better off letting them get their way and moving on to more important decisions.
7. Remember why you’re doing this.
Repeat after us: Your wedding day isn’t the end, it’s the beginning; it’s one day that symbolizes the official start to your life together. A simple mantra like that can give you perspective when plans go awry. (And remember—no matter how much time and energy you put into planning your wedding, your guests won’t be laser-focused on every tiny detail.) So just take a deep breath, and enjoy the moment.