Wedding season occurs at different times in various parts of Australia, and we know that a lot of those working in the wedding industry start to show signs of fatigue during the busy months.
As the Queensland Local Leader, I’m well aware of this. With 50% of my ceremonies for the year being delivered in a three month period, I’ve discovered that this can start to take a toll on my body and mind. I’ve hurt my back lugging my PA on rough terrain, put on weight by eating anything I can find at the fuel stop in the middle of nowhere whilst on the road, have had a lack of sleep from late nights and early mornings, and generally have felt like a shell of myself by the end of the busy period.
This year though, I’m much more prepared, and have taken steps to look after myself. Alongside my fantastic trainer at the Institute of Physical Culture, Becc, we’ve come up with some hints and tips to help you stay healthy and safe during this time.
LET’S GET PHYSICAL
As mentioned, I hurt my back a couple of times lugging my PA, my bag of tricks, my microphones, and my PA stand to various locations. Consequently, I’ve done the following to help this ol’ back of mine:
- For the past six months, I’ve upped my gym-game and am stronger, fitter, and therefore more able to pick up my PA without hurting myself. However, I appreciate not everyone loves the gym.
- Becc ( my personal trainer) suggests the most important thing to do when aiming to pick something up that is a bit heavy is to ensure you brace your core – (huh? what does that mean?) Think of it like this, if you wanted to knock down a wall, what would be more effective? Using a pool noodle or a sledgehammer? Bracing your core makes you sturdy as it requires you to engage your entire trunk – abdominals, pelvic floor etc – which in turn creates the stability you need to lift something safely (strong, like a sledgehammer not floppy like a pool noodle). To brace your core, you want to pull your rib cage down and your pelvis under so that they’re stacked (tucking your bottom under). Take a big deep breath in and hold it and tense your bottom (squeeze those cheeks!) while you bend to lift anything and aim to hold it until you are upright again. Make this movement controlled, when lifting something heavy make no sudden movements. A few other movements that are low risk and can help improve your strength and stability include:
- Squats – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider with your feet turned out slightly to open the hip joint. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor or to just above seat height. Pause, then return to the starting position. 3 sets of 10 reps are a great start and can easily be done while waiting for kettle to boil.
- Kitchen Bench Push Ups – Place your hands on the edge of the bench a little bit wider than your shoulders. Align your feet so that your body is nice and straight (like a plank). Bend your elbows to slowly lower your chest to the bench then press up to where you started with the arms nice and straight. Aim for 3-4 sets of 10. As you get stronger, and these get easier you can lower the height you push up from.
- Planks – From kneeling place your forearms on the floor with elbows stacked under the shoulders. Extend your legs behind with toes tucked under and press into a plank by engaging the abdominals and quads and squeezing your glutes to maintain the position. Don’t forget to breathe on this one and aim to hold even for just 20-30 seconds if that timeframe is easily done, challenge yourself to a minute or maybe even 2!
I know this might not be the most riveting to do list however a little can go a long way in helping to avoid injury and increasing your longevity in the busy seasons in particular!
- I bought a cart – I’ve named her Kelvina – and now pack my kit in her when I have a distance to walk from my car to the ceremony location. You can find these carts at various retailers. I got mine from Kmart.
- I can be in the car to get to a wedding and back for seven to eight hours on some days. I try to take at least one break on the way there and back, to get some fresh air and have a stretch . Becc has suggested that the following stretches are really get that ‘ooooh, that felt good’ feeling throughout:
- Cross body shoulder stretch: bring your right arm across your body, with your right hand at your left shoulder. Use your left hand to push your elbow closer to your body. Activate your core to sit up straight and drop your chin, then hold for several seconds. Repeat on the other side.
- A standing back bend: arms overhead reaching back letting the hips move forward then bending forward like you are going to touch your toes and just letting the arms hang down for a few seconds.
NOM NOM NOM – FOOD
When on long journeys in my car, I tend to stop at petrol stations and grab a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar, or even a pre-packed sandwich. However, Becc has some great ideas around food prep and nutrition that can be easily eaten in the car.
- Protein bars
- Fruit like apples or pears can give you a great little energy hit and don’t require refrigeration.
- Snacks that are high in protein ( Carman’s bars, cheese sticks, jerky) are greatly satiating and can help you recover from muscle soreness and fatigue after you have been on your feet all day.
Equally, when I get home, I’m usually too tired to cook something, so will grab the nearest thing and shove it down my mouth in order to fill the gap in my stomach. This is where a bit of preparation can really save the day and aim to have a meal in the fridge ready to go the day before or even keep some cooked protein (tinned tuna or some cooked chicken for example), a microwave rice pouch from the pantry and a steam veggie pouch from the freezer can all be a nice quick throw together meal that will help replenish you after a big day without any arduous cooking.
Fatigue, mentally, is real during this period. I know it’s going to happen, yet each year I’m always surprised just how badly it hits me. However, there are some things I do now which helps me a little with this. My suggestions are:
- Let family and friends know that you are entering a busy season and ask them to give you as much support or leeway as possible.
- Learn when to say ‘no’ to socials. I love a party, but during wedding season, I do turn down invitations for get-togethers when I know that my body and mind is aching for some downtime.
- Learn to say ‘no’ to bookings too. Work out how many you can do each month/week, and stick to it. I know it’s hard – this is a lesson that I need to learn myself!
- Use the TCS Facebook Group, or reach out to a member or your Local Leader if you’re struggling. We’re a supportive bunch, and there’s always an ear to listen.
- I listen to podcasts when driving, and find this distracts me from my internal ‘to do’ list and gives me a bit of a mental break.
- I prepare as much as I can way in advance. I try to never leave anything till the last minute, predominately because if something goes awry elsewhere in my life, I know that I don’t need to worry about my weddings as they’re all good to go. Certificates, thank you cards, envelopes, ceremonies, vow cards – all ready!
What are your best tips for staying healthy, mentally and physically during high wedding season? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any tips you have.