The wedding has finally come and gone, and you figure it's smooth sailing from here on out. You've got your honeymoon to look forward to, and you can't wait to just get away and enjoy some much-needed alone time with your new hubby. Then bam! Mid-trip you come down with a nasty cold and you're stuck in bed watching movies for the rest of your vacay. Um, so not cool.
According to health and lifestyle strategist Kara Martin Snyder, founder of Vital Corps, this scenario is, unfortunately, all too common. Wedding stress, real or perceived, sends your body into fight-or-flight mode. "As part of that process, energy gets redirected from vital systems that will help you fight or take flight at the expense of, oh say, your immune and digestive systems," she warns. "Before a wedding, this could happen a ton of times, and when that chronic stress is eventually alleviated (i.e. post-wedding) you get sick." Yikes!
To avoid being bedridden on your honeymoon or simply feeling like total crap once the wedding festivities are over, put these expert-approved tips to the test and you'll stay healthy.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Dehydration can lead to horrible headaches and sickness, so ditch those sugary drinks and caffeinated beverages and stock up on water. About a week prior the wedding, if not longer, start to increase your intake, advises health and wellness expert and yoga therapist Jillian Guinta. "Aim for 10 ounces of water per hour, and you'll come out around a gallon by the end of the day, giving your skin a gorgeous glow. Our bodies need water to clean out waste from our cells so we can feel and look our best," she tells us.
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Take steps to control stress
Like it or not, good stress is still stress and the mind and body have to work with it. To combat the negative effects, Guinta suggests setting aside daily time in the months preceding your nuptials to decompress. "Listen to a relaxing guided meditation, see friends or blow off some steam in the gym or park, preferably the latter." You can try outdoor yoga, go for a romantic stroll with your partner or sit quietly and watch the sunset together. Snyder also recommends making a list of everything that's stressing you out one month before your wedding date. "Examine the list and see what you can control, what you can forget and what you can delegate and ask for help with. Repeat weekly if necessary."
Maintain a balanced diet
While it's a great goal to get healthy for your big day, extremism never pays off, cautions Guinta. "Make sure you're consuming a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins and fats, particularly in the weeks leading up to the wedding, as your body needs all of these types of fuel to function at optimal capacity." In other words, eat foods that will make you feel good in the long term (after the wedding), not just in the moment.
Boost immunity with a daily probiotic
A probiotic a day keeps the doctor away! Health expert and registered nurse Karen Katsirubas, RN, says probiotics provide live and "good" bacteria for your immune system and, in turn, offer a slew of health benefits including an immunity boost. "By taking them even a month prior to the wedding and/or honeymoon travel, brides can keep their immune system in tip-top shape so they can relax and enjoy what's really important, which is their new married life."
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Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night
We all know how exhausting planning a wedding can be, especially in those last few days and weeks. Sleep deprivation increases your susceptibility to sickness however, so despite your determination to stay up to finish that DIY project, it's best to just get some shut-eye. Your body will thank you later.
Ease back into real life
If you're not going on your honeymoon immediately, consider taking a few days off work to unwind on a mini-moon anyway. "Don't make any lunch dates or big plans the first week you're back, and try to turn off your phone at 7pm each night," advises relationship expert and author April Masini. "It's a wonderful way to reduce stress and actually forces you to relax." Remember that those thank you notes and gift returns can wait at least a few weeks to get around to as well.