How to stay healthy during wedding season
Can I start this blog post with a confession? I let myself go during wedding season. I manage work/life balance very poorly, and one of the first things to go is caring well for my body. Ironically, it’s the very thing that enables me to do flowers, so I finally wised up to start taking care of it. I know I’m not alone in my struggle with this but over the years I have found some tips to combat my neglectful ways. If you can relate, I hope you find some hope that you are not alone and that healthy habits are possible!
Disclaimer: I am a florist and obviously not a doctor, so this is not medical advice in any way, shape or form. This article is my experience and opinion based on my journey. Please seek professional medical advice (preferably from a good naturopathic doctor) on what your body needs to keep you well during wedding season!
For starters, drink water. As you know, we work really, really hard and have a physically demanding job. I am usually focused on the task at hand, and that often means staying hydrated feels pretty unimportant. The real deal is that dehydration is a serious problem and it happens more often than we think. If you feel thirsty, it’s a good sign that you are already pushing it and you need to get hydrated. The best way to do this with is room temperature water and bonus points if you add some liquid minerals or a little sea salt to get you back to normal.
So how much water do you need to drink? The rule of thumb is to take how much you weigh, divide it by 2 and drink that number in ounces. If you drink a lot of caffeine and are working hard, plan to drink even more water. I know this sounds crazy during wedding season to minimize caffeine, but instead of using caffeine for energy, use food to provide energy. More on that later…
Do you workout? If you do, hooray! If you don’t, keep reading. My thought for many years has been that my job feels like a crazy workout so why bother? The problem is that even though our job requires that we bend, twist and lift, we aren’t building real strength with short bursts of activity. In fact, the movements we make can often cause problems such as strain on our wrists, hands, and arms by repetitive motion. We can develop or aggravate back, hip and leg problems with standing on hard surfaces all day and lifting heavy items.
I'll share a quick story. I did a lot of freelance work last year, and it would often take me to cities two hours away from home. I started noticing a pattern where I would do a wedding setup and the next day I would be incredibly sore. My amazing chiropractor finally asked me about my work patterns and told me “Amy, you have to move after you move.” This might be basic information to you, but this was radical to me. It wasn’t that I couldn’t handle the intensity of wedding installs, but the problem was going from intense activity to sitting for two hours in the car and then being sedentary again when I got home.
Setting up a wedding is often like an intense workout and moving afterward is cool-off time for the body. You can choose any quick “cool down” exercise but what has worked best for me is immediately after a setup, I take a short brisk walk, and a do a few simple squats. I do this before I get in the car and again when I get home. I also do some very quick and straightforward neck, wrist and shoulder stretches as those always take a beating as well. Admittedly I don’t work out during wedding season, but these small additions to my routine have made a huge difference. If you are comfortable with chiropractic care, I highly recommend finding a good one. I have used chiropractic care my whole adult life, and it has been essential in keeping my body well on and off wedding season.
I am the first to admit that during wedding season all of my good intentions with clean eating go right out the window. I find myself reaching for whatever is quick and will give me energy. This reality usually means carbs, sugar, and caffeine. I still too often turn to quick foods that cause more harm than good but here are some tips that have helped me attempt to make better choices.
Just to repeat, I am obviously not a doctor or a nutritionist, but I have an excellent naturopathic doctor who has helped me put some great practices into place regarding eating for energy. First, eat a good breakfast! I know this is not new, but I have finally learned that what I eat for breakfast makes a huge difference and sets me up for energy throughout the whole day. Do your best to ditch the grains (i.e. cereals, oatmeal, bagels, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos, etc.) unless you go without the carbs. These are good to avoid because they are a form of quick energy that metabolizes into sugar in the body, so you get a spike of energy but then a hard crash.
Instead, eat a combination of protein, a healthy fat and a good carb. This power-packed combo provides tons of slow burning energy that is sustained for hours. A quick example of this is a smoothie with almond milk, grass fed Bulletproof collagen protein powder, a capful of Bulletproof MCT or XCT oil and some frozen fruits and/or veggies. I make a large one in the morning and save some to drink later for a snack. This works brilliantly when I need a boost and helps me ward off cravings for caffeine and sugar. For snacks, I stick with beef jerky, sweet potato chips, and bulletproof protein bars to keep me going.
Most importantly, to keep doing what we love (flowers!) we have to take care of ourselves if we don't make it a priority, it won't happen. We are the only ones that can improve these areas — so whatever you do, do something!