How to Overcome Birthday Depression

This year we’ll be another year older! We’ll experience a day full of good wishes from our doctors, employers, various subscriptions and Facebook friends, then stage elaborate celebrations taking full advantage of the day. At least, that’s how it’s always been for my birthday. A month of extravagant eating, smiling and milking every second of the new age. This year, however, I am experiencing some anxiety about that unavoidable day.

I don’t know what I am celebrating exactly. Instead of exciting thoughts and planning as I normally would, I am stressed about what all I have sacrificed, how I’ve settled and what I’ve lost in this time of my life.

I haven’t checked ______ off the list…

Then there is the weight of expectations and pressure to reach milestones. One person thought I’d be married with children by now, another thought I’d be a millionaire, other’s are questioning when I will finish what I started nearly a decade ago. Being late into my 20’s, I haven’t yet achieved many goals that the average woman my age would. That reality is disheartening and makes it difficult to face another coming of age.

The cause of birthday blues may be different for you, maybe it’s a fear of getting older, or dying? Whatever the case may be, the ability to wake up and breathe is a gift, and worthy of celebration. If we are here, that means we have unfinished work to be released into this world.

This year, try acknowledging how you feel and take time to reflect on why it is you feel that way, what your birthday means to you and how you can make this day better for yourself. Then assure yourself that where you are in life is temporary.

5 Ways to Overcome Birthday Depression

  1. Sign up for birthday freebies: I don’t know about you, but words like SALE, CLEARANCE, especially FREE makes my spirit high! Many of us eat out quite frequently during the year, why not make the most of that buck spent? Prior to your birthday, sign up for the rewards incentives at your favorite places and when your birthday arrives, enjoy the gift however you choose!
  2. Be optimistic: Since avoiding birthday blues isn’t easy, plan ahead for positivity! If you don’t have a nightly routine I’d suggest you’d create one (note to self), and be religiously consistent with it! Then get to bed early. I will speak for myself and say any time I plan my bedtime and feel good prior to going to sleep, I wake up in a very positive and productive mood (idea for another post)! Throughout your day make a point to think positive thoughts, smile at the little and big things and be in the moment!
  3. Allow grief to visit: Some of us may have lost someone, something or maybe just time prior to our birthday. This experience may have changed the full dynamic of the day and what it means to us. Grief has a way of sneaking up at the most inopportune time, so rather than fight it, welcome it. It is OK to grieve! Grief is a natural human behavior, but after you’ve welcomed and acknowledged it, put it to the side and move on with your day.
  4. Celebrate what you HAVE accomplished: Despite the extent of the milestone, any achievement is praiseworthy. Find your reasons to be thankful and be your own cheerleader. After you’ve celebrated, you should feel motivated, this is a good time to write out reachable goals for the year ahead.
  5. Set sensible expectations: Keep your mind at peace knowing that not everyone is going to remember or acknowledge your day and things may not go as you thought. Things change like time changes, so let’s avoid disappointment by not harping on what you can’t control. Create your own happiness!

The bottom line…

Birthday’s shouldn’t be sad occasions. Despite everything going on or not going on around us, there’s always room for positivity around becoming a year wiser. Remember, your birthday is what you make of it and with the right preparations, I believe we’ll find joy in it again!

Photo: Adobe Stock

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