If you’re anything like us and have gone from being the kids who used to eagerly count down the days to their birthday to turning into the grown-ups who can’t figure out why they’ve cried on this special day for the fifth year in a row, this article is for you. To start off we’d like to reiterate the headline because it is very important for you to understand that you are not alone. Every year, numerous people experience a time of sadness around their birthdays. It can be challenging for many different reasons and the triggers vary from person to person. Here’s everything you need to know about the birthday blues:
Although there can be multiple other reasons that can cause birthday sadness, here are some common ones:
You’ve turned 6? Oh my god, you’re growing up so fast!
18th birthday? Finally an adult!
37th birthday? Um…cool?
Lack of enthusiasm from the people around you as you grow older can make you feel less valued.
Social media breeds comparison. It can leave you feeling like you’re not enough, that your celebration isn’t grand enough, that your friends haven’t made it special enough. Furthermore, in the perfect world that social media has constructed for us, we don’t feel like we’re allowed to feel anything but unconditional joy and excitement on this day – which is worse, because that leaves us feeling sad about being sad.
Birthdays are special, and you may have certain expectations from other people about grand gestures, gifts or extra attention. When we don’t get what we expect, we feel hurt.
There are people who enjoy having a day dedicated to them and then there are others who can’t stand the awkward feeling of being pushed into the spotlight and have a room full of people sing happy birthday to them. If you’re the latter one, birthdays can put a lot of pressure on you to socialise, plan a party, answer phone calls etc which can be overwhelming.
Birthdays act like yearly reminders that we’re one step closer to wrinkles and walking sticks. The sadness can also stem from not meeting societal expectations of being like someone your age. Another reason could be that when we’re younger, we envision what our lives would look like at a certain age and when that age comes around and we haven’t accomplished the things we thought we would, it leads to birthday blues.
Reflection is a big theme during birthdays. Memories from the past years come to the surface and bring to light the situations and people that may no longer be in your life. This nostalgia can often lead to feelings of regret and unhappiness.
How To Overcome It?
Be realistic about your expectations to avoid disappointment. It’s your special day, don’t let other people’s actions dictate your mood. When it comes to social media, how is it right to compare your story to someone else’s cover page? Nobody’s life is perfect. Do the things that bring you joy, indulge in extra self-care, surround yourself with people that make you truly happy, or spend time alone with yourself and do something special. Celebrate what you have achieved rather than focus on what you haven’t. And if you’d rather treat it like any other day of the year, we support that too!
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