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How Wedding Planning Burnout Can Affect Your Mental Health
Are you at risk of wedding planning burnout? Find out if you’re experiencing signs of burnout, and how to cope with the chronic stress before it affects your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Although wedding planning is a full-time job like any other large-scale event planning, many couples take on the bulk of wedding preparation themselves. The huge amount of work involved can bring on a lot of stress, and with the new regulations and uncertainties surrounding COVID-19’s affect on weddings, that stress is compounded for an indeterminate length of time. Besides the typical stressors of vendor decisions, guest management, and scheduling, you are now also burdened with multiple rescheduling, uncertainties, and no clear end point in sight. The extended stress can put you at risk of wedding planning burnout, which can take a toll on your mental and emotional health.
What is wedding planning burnout?
The term “burnout” is often used to describe the result of chronic workplace stress. The World Health Organization characterises the syndrome with “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.” Replace “job” with “wedding planning” and you have a definition for wedding planning burnout. Licensed mental health counsellor Landis Bejar elaborates, “Wedding planning burnout is a state of emotional, mental and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress surrounding one’s wedding. The key difference between burnout and stress is that burnout is an extended period of stress that feels as though it cannot be ameliorated.”Hui Min and Tiong Li’s Modern and Intimate Wedding at Si Chuan Dou Hua
Are you at risk of wedding planning burnout?
Many couples take a year to prepare for their wedding, but with the coronavirus forcing many weddings to be rescheduled, you may be facing more prolonged stress about your wedding, and reach a point where you feel you just can’t deal with it anymore. If you are experiencing the following signs, you may be at risk of wedding planning burnout:
- Wedding planning feels never-ending
- You feel apathetic and hopeless about your wedding
- You feel lethargic
- You feel mentally exhausted
- You have a sense of dread about wedding planning
- You’re frequently angry or irritable
- You’re cynical about the effectiveness of planning your wedding
Experiencing any of the above? You’re not alone. Wedding planning burnout is becoming a more common phenomenon in light of COVID-19. After spending months or a year preparing for their big day, couples are having to spend even more time on planning their wedding, especially if they have not decided when to reschedule.
What causes wedding planning burnout?
Burnout is caused by prolonged stress, in this case, stress from wedding planning. Stress doesn’t take a toll only on your mind, but elicits physical responses as well. The National Institute of Mental Health, U.S., explains that stress signals the body to prepare to fight or flee from a perceived threat. Physiologically, your heart rate increases, you breathe faster, your muscles tense, and your brain increases activity in response to the threat. Stress provokes these high-alert responses from your body as a survival tactic, but what happens when the threat doesn’t go away and stress is prolonged?
With long-term stress, the body never receives a clear signal to return to normal functioning, and chronically heightened physiological reactions can lead to disturbed immunune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep, and even reproductive systems. Physically, you might develop headaches, sleep poorly, have muscle tension and aches, or feel run down, as if you’re catching a cold. Mentally and emotionally, prolonged stress can take the form of constant anxiety, irritability, over-analysis of events, or feelings of isolation and being misunderstood.Jayne and Anand’s Fairytale Multi-Cultural Wedding at Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa, Singapore by Dapper Pictures
Treat wedding planning burnout
Chronic stress can have a very negative impact on your mental as well as physical health. To cope with the stress of wedding planning, it’s important to practise self care. Self care isn’t isn’t selfish; you need to take care of yourself before you’re able to give to others. Take some time to do these simple things to practise self care:
- Do something that makes you happy
- Laugh out loud
- Get adequate sleep
- Eat healthfully and drink enough water
- Exercise regularly
- Allow yourself to feel upset
- Spend quality time with your partner
- Hang out with people who make you feel good
- Get a massage
- Engage in deep breathing or other relaxation techniques
Once you’ve recharged, you can tackle your wedding preparation again, but this time, be sure to do it mindfully. Hit pause on planning if you can’t set a date yet, and take it up again when the situation is more certain. Lean on your partner, discuss your plans together, and take the time to enjoy your engagement. If you’ve postponed your wedding, use the extra time to find the fun in wedding planning again. Think back to when you hadn’t started worrying about the nitty gritty of itineraries and budgets, and pick up those DIY projects, write those personal wedding vows, or dream about that perfect wedding dress design again. Remember, your wedding might be postponed but it will happen, and we promise, it will be the happiest day of your life.
Feature image from Janice and Glen’s Stunning Pre-Wedding Shoot in Cappadocia, Turkey by White Grandeur
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