I am not a mental health practitioner in the slightest, but as someone who suffers from anxiety, ADHD, and owns a wedding planning firm, I can speak uniquely to how to handle the two. Here are my tips to manage your mental health while you’re wedding planning.
1. Forget Balance & Embrace Harmony
There are days a hyperfocus loop (ADHD) hits me and I use it to my advantage. I get ahead on projects that I know are coming up, handle administrative tasks, or work on creative projects. Why? Because there’s going to be a point I zone out for a day or am emotionally exhausted. Fatigue can set in easily because as my first therapist told me, “Your physical, mental, and emotional energy all comes from the same place.” If it was a taxing day mentally, I’m likely dragging in other areas too. The same can apply to you, as well. Some days you’ll have the energy to do more and some days you may have problems just getting out of bed. Don’t beat yourself up if you spent the weekend resting in whatever form that took instead of looking up caterers. There can’t be a wedding without you, so take your time taking care of yourself.
2. Create a Management Plan
If you’re currently in therapy, you probably have already come up with a management plan with your therapist. This can include medication, exercise, therapy sessions, changing your diet, and more. It’s a way to manage your symptoms proactively instead of reactively. You might want to work with them to create a special one just for the duration of your wedding planning. It can truly turn into a pressure pit and you’ll want to have some kind of guide to get you through it.
If you’re looking for tips to add to your management list, I offer one that I use for myself — an emergency call list. Have three people in your phone on speed dial that you can call if an event occurs. Anxiety attacks, suicide ideation, relapsing — they can sneak up on us if we let them. You’ll need someone to help you avoid, get through, or get out of one. Have the conversation with these people first and ask if you can put them on your call list. If it’s an enthusiastic yes, go ahead and add them. These are people you can contact at any time who have the tools to help you. Choose wisely and pick a word to let them know this is an event.
If a therapist is currently inaccessible refer to our guide below.
3. Know Your Triggers (and Be Patient as New Ones Pop Up)
If you don’t already have a list of your triggers you’re going to want to make one. Using your management plan, try and navigate your way around them during the wedding planning process. Since it’s a stressful event, there’s a chance new triggers can pop up or new experiences can trigger you in ways you didn’t expect. That’s okay. Have some kind of plan in place for these moments. Maybe it’s as simple as removing yourself from the situation. Maybe it’s a breathing exercise. It could also be calling your emergency contact. However you choose to handle it, having a plan, even if it eventually gets tweaked, will make you feel better when the moment happens.
4. Minimize Stressors
If you know certain people or situations are going to compound or accelerate negative symptoms, identify them now and set some boundaries. If getting calls from your mother five times a day is causing an anxiety attack, let them know you’ll only accept one call a week about wedding related things. Be relentless in saying what you do and don’t need. Some people may bristle, some people may yell, but at the end of the day the only person responsible for your mental health is you. The person who feels the effects of your mental health first is you. You’ve got to protect your zen. Don’t feel shame in setting some boundaries to ensure that.
5. Pay Close Attention to Blocks
Most of my anxiety stems from not wanting to address certain topics, like telling someone “No”. Sometimes the reason you’re constantly rescheduling things is because you don’t want to do them. This isn’t meant to shame or accuse you, but if you find yourself getting sick with stomach cramps, migraines, dizziness, fatigue, anxiety, and a whole host of other symptoms when it comes to your planning, ask yourself “Why?” Is the thought of a dress fitting giving you flashbacks to being bullied? Are you having second thoughts about marriage? Are you having doubts about your partner? Do you feel uncomfortable being the center of attention? Is a domineering family member being controlling and ruining the experience? Are you afraid to speak up for yourself for fear of upsetting someone? Whatever it is, you’ll want to get to the bottom of it so you can find peace.
Use these tips so you can navigate the daunting wedding planning process, and even enjoy yourself. If you have more tips, leave some in the comments!
Additional Therapy Resources:
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network. They offer a Mental Health Fund for prospective patients who can't afford therapy and a directory to help you find trained practitioners in your area!
Pride Counseling is an online therapy platform that connects you to therapists via text, phone, and video chat who serve the LGBTQIA community. Their fees range from $40-$70 a week.
Open Path Collective is a service that connects you with qualified therapists who offer discounted rates ($30-$80/hour) on sessions for those who can't afford the regular costs of therapy. Through the search function you can narrow down therapists in your area and those who specialize in issues affecting the Trans community.
Jordan A. Maney is a San Antonio-based wedding planner and owner of All The Days Event Co. She she started her company as a planning haven for all the couples the industry chooses to ignore. Instead of just making a brand, she's building a community. Find more of her sass, humor, and Southern hospitality at allthedaysweddings.com.