Photography courtesy of Corina V Photography.
Hands up if you’ve been off balance during the pandemic. We are all feeling not quite ourselves and striving to keep a sense of mental wellbeing takes a conscious effort. Your relationship also takes constant effort and chances are the two of you may also be feeling not quite yourselves. Add wedding planning (postponing and replanning!) in an uncertain climate and you’ve got a recipe for unrest.
To help restore a sense of calm in yourself and your relationship we spoke to Carolyn Plater and Stephanie Kersta, both psychotherapists and owners of Hoame meditation studio in Toronto (they just launched a podcast which landed on Vanity Fair’s list of must listens for 2021). Here’s how they suggest getting your groove back in a very trying time.
Many engaged couples are facing cancellations (both those scheduled for 2020 events and now 2021 events) and all the stress that goes with that. What are your tips for controlling stress and maintaining balance in the current climate where we are all so mentally tapped already.
“It’s been a really stressful year and for those who have had to face wedding cancellations, and everything that comes with a cancellation it is common to feel angry, frustrated, and sad. When things feel overwhelming, we like to encourage people to go back to basics: focus on getting enough sleep, get in some deep breathing, and focus on getting some movement (we know cardio exercise like walking can be deeply impactful for mood). Above and beyond that, what we would encourage would a daily gratitude practice. With so many things being taken away from us, it is easy and common to place our focus on that. Gratitude is an excellent tool to counteract the negativity we feel. A practice stemming from the positive psychology movement, by taking some time each day to focus on three things we are grateful for, and WHY we are grateful for those things, it encourages us to start seeking out those moments of gratitude and can have transformative impacts on our overall outlook and mood."
What are some great ways for couples to maintain balance together?
“We like to encourage rituals for couples. With “date night” becoming a thing of the past, and the increase in time we are spending with our partners at home, it is easy to fall into a rut. Couple rituals can affirm the partnership, bring some playfulness into one’s week, and give us something to look forward to when things feel bleak. Rituals should be meaningful to each couple so have fun deciding on them, but it could be starting to not have your phone over dinner and asking each other what the best and worst part of your day was, spending Saturday morning going for a hike followed by an indulgent breakfast or having a self-care night one night per week (restorative yoga, meditation, and face masks maybe?!). "
What are your top three suggestions for being more mindful in a day to keep any life anxiety at bay?
“First and foremost, notice where your shoulders are throughout the day, when we are starting to feel stressed or anxious our shoulders tend to creep up, so check in with yourself a couple times per day and do a few shoulder rolls and deep belly breaths. Next up, incorporate mindfulness into something you are already doing: drink your coffee mindfully, walk the dog mindfully, even washing the dishes can turn into a wonderfully mindful task. Start to look at chores or tasks as opportunities for mindfulness rather than mundane. Lastly, before you grab your phone in the morning, set an intention for your day. With so much out of our control right now, intention setting and living intentionally can help us have a more active role in how we are feeling each day. Take a moment to note how you want to feel today and what will your interactions be like. You could even share your intention with your partner as one of your morning rituals!”
Tell us about your new podcast. What can a listener expect and how you are hoping to help people manage their daily living right now.
“We are so excited for our new podcast! Each week on The Hoame Podcast we explore a different alternative healing method and speak with people who are revolutionizing the world of mindfulness, health and wellness. We both have an approach that is rooted in science, but we are open to healing modalities that help achieve well-being. Every episode we break down a different modality and learn how they can make a difference and improve the way we feel, mentally and physically. We hope that week over week listeners leave with strategies to try to help ground themselves and with a new outlook when it comes to trying alternative therapies."
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