Looking after yourself ahead of wedding planning is often something we can forget how to do...or at least put aside when it comes to entering potentially stressful periods of our lives. Bridechilla Tracy is a CPC-I (Clinical professional counselor Intern) in Las Vegas, NV who contacted us, keen to share her experiences as a Bridechilla and a mental health professional.
I am so happy to share this episode and Tracy's excellent blog post and hope that it inspires you to step back from the stress and be mindful of your own health and wellbeing, something that will continue, I hope, long after your wedding!
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE
I am a Bridechilla! I am also a therapist. I was trained in a special type of Cognitive Behavioral therapy called DBT, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. DBT is a skills based therapy approach that aims to decrease emotional vulnerability. In other words, its main goal is to train you to regain control over your emotions. The best thing about DBT is it puts you in control over yourself. Now that I am getting married, DBT seems like a savior in times of stress. Besides, DBT becomes a way of living life, as it is very difficult to not practice the skills as you train clients.
One of the main components of DBT is mindfulness. Through mindfulness, you become more aware of yourself, how others react to you and how you react to others. As a Bridechilla, I want to be authentic and in the moment on my special day. I was struggling recently with how much I am focused on others, rather than what my fiancé and I want. I was starting to forget myself in the excitement and stress of wedding planning. I realized that the process of planning was becoming the focus, rather than the future we would share. This is when I, as they say, put my money where my mouth is, and went straight to DBT skills. I composed a self-care checklist for myself. I wanted to make myself, the amazing woman my Groomchilla has decided to spend the rest of his life with, a priority once again. Below you will find my list, with a quick explanation of the DBT skills they have been pulled from. I hope they help my fellow Bride and Groomchillas become their own priority.
Based on DBT Please skill, which seeks to focus on maintaining your health, diet and exercise as part of the holistic approach to mental health. I also included Self-Sooth techniques with the treats part, sometimes a piece of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream can do a gal some good.
- Did I drink enough water today?
- Did I eat something in the last 4 hours?
- Am I getting enough sleep? If not, what can I do to add a few more minutes?
- Am I eating a balanced diet?
- Did I exercise today? Do I want to?
- Am I allowing myself some treats?
The following list is a mix of DBT based skills. The first is mindfulness, being in the present moment non-judgmentally. The next is the simple DBT skill of Take a Break. Knowing when you need a break and actually taking it can prevent a major breakdown. Finally, I took a portion of the DBT Give skill, speaking gently to yourself and others. Being gentle can make a HUGE difference with yourself, others and that vendor who is driving you nuts!
- Did I laugh today?
- Did I take a break?
- Have I been mindful today? Am I in the moment or constantly thinking of what I need to do?
- Am I speaking nicely to myself?
The following list is a mix of DBT interpersonal effectiveness skills. These are based on the concept of balancing independence and support. You need to know when to delegate, ask for help or handle it on your own. It’s important to be aware of how much
you are taking on. The second is relationship mindfulness, specifically cultivating our supportive relationships. Without these, we are alone. Often, the most supportive relationships are the ones we forget to pay attention too, letting a few nights go by without connecting. During the biggest event of my life, I want to make sure that supportive and caring friends are there, and they won’t be if I let the relationships slack.
- Did I snuggle with my FH today?
- Did I say something kind to my FH today?
- Have I connected with my friends today?
- Did I put my to-do list ahead of time with my FH or friends or family?
- Was I in the moment with my relationships or thinking about everything else I have to do?
- Did I ask for help today?
- Did I thank those that are supporting me today?
Keep these questions in mind if you are feeling stressed or pressure from wedding planning, or simply life in general. Being mindful of your mental health, physical health, and the support you have around you can help you get through the wed-stress when it hits.
About the Author: Tracy is a CPC-I (Clinical professional counselor Intern) in Las Vegas, NV. She has been training in DBT for three years. She runs DBT skills groups for adolescents and teens, as well as does individual DBT therapy.