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Carolyn Hax: How to stay calm and get your wedding things done

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

My wedding is in about six weeks, and I am feeling the crush of family, emotions, to-do lists and keeping up my regular life. Lately, I’ve caught myself feeling weepy for no good reason. Not just wedding things, but today, while listening through a couple of music samples, I became so overwhelmed and teary that I had to turn it off and haven’t gone back to it.

I haven’t had a lot of time to really examine the source of these emotions, so do you have any good thought or emotional exercises to help me get acquainted and comfortable with my emotions?

Pre-Wedding Blues

A few suggestions, since not everything works for everyone:

(1) Bring it on. Pick a time when you can afford to fall apart for a while, and play those music samples without turning them off. You were able to turn off the music today, and maybe tomorrow you’ll be able to walk away from something upsetting, and maybe the feelings will eventually recede on their own. But it’s more likely they’re going to find a way to break down any door you try to close on them. Big emotions rarely take no for an answer. You can either wait to see whether that happens at the worst possible time for you or you can choose the setting (see: Holly Hunter’s character in “Broadcast News”) and fall apart.

(2) Walk it out. Physical exertion is a proven mood regulator, but even better in this case, it can also clarify your thinking. Some therapists even walk or jog with clients to get them talking. Hint: If there’s something that feels unthinkable, that’s exactly where your mind needs to go.

(3) Find a touchstone from your past. The person you are right now is confused and overwhelmed, right? So spend a little time with someone who knew you well in a past phase of your life. People complain about regressing when they see childhood friends or stay a few nights in their old bedrooms, but feeling 14 again isn’t always a bad thing. A trip to Square One can help you understand.

Ideally the tears are just a manifestation of all the momentous things happening in your life (hardly unusual), but even if it is more, ignoring your feelings will only postpone, not erase, any problems. Let them have their say.

Re: Blues:

My wedding is in three weeks, so I’m right there with you. One thing to consider is exhaustion. Planning an event is hard, especially when you have to then keep the rest of your life going. If you’ve had any other major things going on, like other weddings, funerals or moving, it’s even tougher. It’s quite possible that even if you feel physically fine, your brain is just exhausted. Sometimes crying is a response to stress/exhaustion, so if that’s all it is, you’re almost there. Get some rest.

Anonymous

So persuasive I might just cry and take a nap. Thanks.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

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