It's been months since he popped the question, and you've never been happier...more exhausted. While it's easy to write it off as an inevitable part of life for a bride-to-be, feeling tired all the time isn't normal, says Woodson Merrell, M.D., the chairman of the department of integrative medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. "And it can take a huge toll on your well-being, kicking up food cravings and even weakening your immune system." But needing more shut-eye may be only part of the problem. Research reveals that the food we eat, people we interact with, and decisions we make can also influence our energy levels.
We asked experts how to tackle some of those hidden drains so you can have all-day stamina.
Wedding Stress: You're faced with too many options
From which coffee you order in the morning to the TV show you watch at night, you're confronted with hundreds of choices every day. (And that's before you started planning this wedding!) Weighing your options takes work, which can lead to fatigue. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who made a series of shopping decisions at a mall reported being more tired—and were less able to think clearly—than those who only browsed. What's more, "being overwhelmed can lower your confidence levels and make you feel stuck," says Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Yale University. So if you've spent your day tasting wedding cakes and negotiating with photographers, you may want to hold off on making any major life choices.
To get through the day without becoming bleary-eyed, avoid weighing every possibility, says Judith Orloff, M.D., the author of Emotional Freedom. For less important decisions, like which entrées to serve at the reception, zero in on two top contenders—the first dish that catches your eye and a standby—then consider the benefits of each.
For weightier issues, such as selecting a wedding venue or buying a home, make a list of the pros and cons of each option. Then sleep on it to allow your intuition to kick in. "Give yourself some time to process your decision," says Orloff. "Your gut instinct, which draws up unconscious memories, can help guide you."
Next Page: De-Stress Yourself