It’s Dr. Kelly Wood, your Balanced Living Health and Wellness expert. My mission is to help women who may struggle with their weight and experience one or more chronic illnesses overcome their limitations to achieve total wellness and balanced living: mind,body and spirit. I do this through my blog, speaking and individualized group and VIP Balanced Living programs.
My birthday was a few days ago. I love celebrating special occasions, so I’m usually intentional about making sure I have the absolute best time on my birthday. Last year, I spent the weekend exploring and enjoying New Orleans. This year, I traveled to my favorite country on the entire planet, Barbados, and spent the day with friends doing my favorite activities on the island- sailing on the ocean and snorkeling with turtles.
I had an amazingly happy day. However, my mood was down on the days leading up to my birthday. I was overly emotional and teary eyed. After I took a minute to sit and reflect on what was going on in and around me, I realized it was a combination of hormones, the end of Daylight Saving Time and the shorter days but more importantly, my impending birthday.
It turns out I’m not alone in feeling this way. It’s actually pretty common. Birthdays are supposed to be happy occasions right!? So, why do they make us sad?
Sometimes it’s as simple as being upset over getting older. We’re reminded of our mortality and this could be super depressing. Queue the new grey hairs, the joint pains, slower metabolism and then there’s the belly fat.
A birthday also signals the end of a year and this causes us to reflect on what we’ve accomplished since the last one. Maybe nothing has changed and this realization brings disappointment.
We’re also reminded of our life goals which have not been achieved. Many of us women expect to get married or have children by a certain age and when another year passes and it still hasn’t happened, it brings sadness.
Another reason why we get depressed on our birthday is if we weren’t appreciated like expected. No one gave a gift or took us out to dinner. We didn’t get as many phone calls, texts or Facebook posts as we wanted so we don’t feel loved.
Regardless of the reason, you can overcome and prevent sadness associated with your birthday.
How can you fight Birthday Blues?
1. Practice gratitude
It’s easy to forget the good that has happened to you and what you’ve accomplished during the year since your last birthday. To overcome this, focus on the positive! Write a list of the year’s highlights. Meditate on your list and give thanks. This will keep you from dwelling on what you don’t have or what you think you should have accomplished.
2. Throw your own party
No one else is responsible for your happiness. If you know there’s something that you want to do on your birthday, then go DO IT! Don’t wait around for someone else to do something special for you. Invite some of your friends but if no one is available, don’t be afraid to celebrate alone. There’s nothing wrong with this.
3. It’s OK to be disappointed
Allow yourself to grieve over dreams which have been deferred. Sometimes life deals you a hand that you don’t want. This is the time to practice some self-care. Cry if you need to; then dry those tears and go on living the life you do have.
4. Take action
If you felt you didn’t achieve your goals this year, why not? Can you do something differently? Maybe you need a new strategy or some accountability. Or maybe you just need to go easier on yourself. If you had no one to celebrate with, this might signal that investment is needed in your current relationships or that you need to go out and meet more people.
If you sometimes feel sad about your birthday, know you’re not alone. I do too! The emotions will pass. Until then, do whatever you can to make yourself feel better.
And remember you’re freakin’ awesome. You made it through another year. That alone is a pretty good reason to celebrate!
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