For life’s typical stressful moments, your go-to relaxation routines are go-tos for a reason, right? A glass of wine, a little retail therapy, or maybe a massage usually do the trick. But when wedding anxiety sets in, you might be facing a whole new level of stress—a kind intensified by family drama, self esteem woes, budget anxiety and beyond—which calls for some next-level relief which your favorite pinot may not be able to handle alone.
If you’re seeking advanced stress-busters to help overcome your level-11 wedding anxiety, look no further than these weird-but-worth-a-try experiences,
Sensory Deprivation Tanks
Imagine going from thinking about your table assignments, your hair extensions, your bachelorette party, your mother-in-law’s outfit, and your centerpieces all at once to thinking about… nothing at all. Sounds dreamy, right? And it’s possible, thanks to a new crop of “float therapy” boutiques popping up in cities around the country. Basically, you strip naked, hop into a pitch-dark room with a foot or so of tepid water in it, and lay down. The water is diluted with more salt than the Dead Sea, so you effortlessly float at its surface. From there, you do… yep, nothing at all. The idea is to achieve complete sensory deprivation—no sight, sound, even feel, since the air in the room and water itself are the exact same temperature. And while it may sound strange at first, science says it really works to calm us down: A study showed that the brain’s panic center essentially shuts down after just 90 minutes of floating. Bridesmaid drama? What bridesmaid drama?
Remember during the Summer 2016 Olympics when the swimmers had red welts all over their backs? They were cupping marks! Yeah: if this stress-relief strategy is good enough for Olympic athletes, it should hopefully be able to make a dent in your wedding anxiety. Think of cupping like a massage plus. First, a therapist will have you lay on a bed, then, they’ll place special glass or silicone vessels in strategic spots around your major muscle groups, focusing on pressure points. Using gentle suction, the therapist will create pressure that pulls your skin up into the cup, which can relieve knots and aches while helping the body eliminate toxins by bringing them closer to the lymph nodes, where they’ll be flushed out. Cupping is a great option for those looking for something a little bit more intense than a massage—but beware, it can leave red marks behind (a la Michael Phelps) for a few days, so don’t book any sessions close to your major wedding events.
Whether to get better at managing anxiety, or to help them stick to fitness and healthy eating routines, more and more people are turning to the mystical power of hypnosis than ever before. Before you dismiss it as a total scam, keep reading: There’s some science to back it up. Not unlike meditation and traditional talk therapy, hypnotism is based on the power of suggestion to help influence your state of mind. It also relies on simple actions like deep breathing and visualization. But don’t freak out—there’s no mind control involved as in the cartoons of yore. At your appointment, you’ll simply state your goal (maybe, to focus more on fitness as a way to manage wedding anxiety and tone up, too?), then you hypnotist will have you close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly, and visualize certain things on his or her command. During hypnosis, you may select certain colors or images that you’ll be able to associate with fulfilling your goal, so that, once you’re back to “normal,” seeing it will fill you with a burst of motivation. Or, instead of a color or item, it might be a simple mantra you can repeat to yourself. The idea is to slowly, gently change the way your brain associates thoughts and actions while you’re in a subdued, relaxed state, so when you’re back to your busy self, your state of mind is renewed. Not convinced? Hear this: One study reported that adding hypnosis to a weight loss program boosted its effectiveness by 97%! Imagine what it could do for your wedding anxiety reduction program.
If prenuptial stress is affecting you so deeply that you’re losing sleep (not that you needed this reminder, but, lack of sleep makes every bad mood 20 times worse), invest in a luxury sleeping pod to optimize your naps. In some major cities like NYC, you’ll find drop-in clubs that specialize in high-octane napping complete with cozy bed in a private room outfitted with amenities like luxe mattresses, twinkle lights, aromatherapy and more—and members pay by the minute. So you can grab a quick snooze before meetings with your vendors, or stay for an hour-long zonk after a particularly exhausting bridal boot camp. If you don’t live in a city with a napping club, you could spring for a state-of-the-art nap pod for home, offering a space-age, weightless sleep experience scientifically engineered to help you max-out every nap. Only catch: At around $8K per pod, you might lose sleep over the price. On the other hand, there’s nothing lovelier than a well-rested bride. (Wink!)
Violence is never the answer. Unless someone regretfully informs you at the last minute that the wine glasses you wanted to rent for your reception are suddenly out of stock. In that case, breaking something (safely) could actually make you feel amazing. Enter: wrecking clubs, the hot new thing for people who just need to hit things. At these membership-based clubs, you get your own room, a set of safety gear and something heavy, and a room of your own full of smashable stuff plus 30 or so minutes on the clock to bring the house down. Pretend you’re the beloved Chip Gaines and it’s #demoday. Pretend you’re smashing the wedding industrial complex. Pretend whatever you want! In these unique clubs, getting out your frustration in the room, rather than by having wedding anxiety attacks or bridezilla tantrums on the ones you love, is the name of the game. If you can’t find a wrecking club near you, or are intimidated by the idea, try one of these physical stress relievers instead: boxing or kickboxing, chopping wood (seriously!), or even just snapping an elastic. It works! But take note: If you’re feeling angry all the time, it might help to talk to professional, because you deserve better.