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Wedding planning and the holidays? Yep, a combo for mega stress. Brides, we know for certain that it's not all fa-la-la-la-la (la?) this time of the year, and if you're feeling overwhelmed, try these strategies for dialing down your stress:
1. Sing! Whether that means belting it out with a fake mic in your shower or grabbing your bridesmaids for a night out at a karaoke bar, researchers have confirmed a link between singing and improved mood, even higher self-confidence. And don't worry if you can't hold a tune, either. The effect, say experts, has nothing to do with singing skill. Even the tone-deaf can benefit from the stress-blasting effect of song. Try it!
2. Give (or receive) a rub-down: Of course, you already know how mellowing a good massage can be, but did you know that giving someone else a massage can also lower your stress level? Really, in a study of elderly people, experts found that those who gave massage had less stress and anxiety, even medical complaints, than those who simply received massage. Why not try out the theory on your fiance tonight?
3. Get crafty: While going 100% DIY could have the opposite effect (especially those elaborate wedding favors that take about 47 minutes each to assemble...no thank you!), experts tell us that getting crafty can not only improve your mood, but also reduce your stress. It's what's known as art therapy, and the concept is that whether you're sketching, drawing, creating or crafting (scrapbooking, anyone?), working with your hands and your creativity can help blast stress.
4. Get outside: Numerous studies have linked fresh air and sunshine with improved mood. And we know, it's cold outside! But even in the chilly fall and winter months, getting outside (sometimes even for just 10 minutes) can zap stress in surprising ways. Grab your maid of honor and go for a mid-day walk. You'll soak up some mood-boosting vitamin D and boost your endorphins, a win-win for stressed-out brides.
5. Think happy thoughts: While this one is both a no-brainer and difficult to do when you're actually not in a happy place (and who is when their dream honeymoon is just a wee bit out of their budget)? But, if you can harness the power of positive thinking, it can go a long way in the happiness department. Harvard researchers say that when people are able to project a positive outlook on a stressful situation or time, the outcome is not only better, but stress levels in the body drop.