Birthday depression also known as birthday blues or birthday sadness is often caused by fear of uncertainty, or fear of aging.
Using softer terms like these can undermine the difficult reality many people experience whenever their birthdays is approaching. The transient nature of birthday depression makes it even easier to brush off.
Regardless of whether birthday depression arises from that specific date or chronic depression, it is significant and can increase feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and other negative emotions, possibly evolving into a depressive episode.
This is why it’s important to take birthday depression seriously and approach it with kindness and understanding.
Birthday depression can be a struggle for some. Fortunately, there are ways to live with your birthday depression and cultivate positive experiences for yourself without denying or ignoring your authentic, true self.
Society expects you to be happy on your birthday, and if you are not, then there must be something wrong with you. However, there is no specified way you are supposed to feel or act on your birthday.
Having birthday depression doesn’t make you ungrateful. In fact, a lot of people who experience birthday depression live otherwise healthy, productive lives. You simply just need to evaluate why you are feeling this way and what can be done to help you alleviate these symptoms.
Here are 10 some simple ways Nigerian women can deal with birthday depression:
1. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself
It’s easy to be hard on yourself, but on your birthday and especially if you’re feeling depressed, it is important to be gentle with yourself. Yoga, spa appointment, or a massage can be a wonderful way to relax and enjoy your birthday.
2. Plan ahead to help yourself overcome your depression
If your birthday is usually a time of anxiety and depression, plan ahead to ensure you’ll get through this experience safely and responsibly. You might consider getting professional help from a licensed and certified therapist in the months leading up to your birthday to help you prepare.
3. Be responsible for your happiness
Society has already laid out its expectations of what your birthday should be, but what will make you happy? What will make your birthday something worth looking forward to rather than something you wish you could skip? Only you know the answer to this. It’s up to you to create opportunities for positive emotions.
4. Focus on what you have accomplished
You might not have kept your resolutions, earned that promotion, or hit other milestones you expected, but focusing on shortcomings will only result in negative feelings. Instead, focus on what you’ve done. Count both your big and small accomplishments and feel proud of your strengths and capabilities.
5. Keep your birthday to yourself
This one’s a bit tricky if you use social media, but if all the birthday attention stirs up feelings of depression, consider keeping your birthday to yourself. Instead of sharing your birth date with everyone and anyone online, share it only with the people who lift you up and who are going to make an effort to let you know you are loved and appreciated.
6. Stick to your routine
As appealing as a break from routine is, the change can be hard to cope with and may throw us off rather than relax us. If possible, stick to your routine, especially if it includes activities that make you feel good, such as regular mealtimes, sleep patterns, and exercise.
7. Be kind and generous to yourself
You might want others to pamper you and make you feel special, but why wait when you can do that yourself? Do you have a favorite restaurant? Is there something you have on your wish list? Now’s the time to treat yourself to a little TLC for your birthday and relieve some of that birthday depression.
8. Exercise and eat a healthy diet
Many of us know that exercise is one of the best ways to battle depression but will skip our daily workout due to lack of time or motivation. When you are fighting depression, however, exercise along with a healthy diet is necessary to make sure your mental health is on track. A walk in the sunshine for 30 to 45 minutes a day can do wonders for your state of mind.
9. Engage in activities that make you happy
Depression can take the enjoyment out of activities you love, but you cannot let that discourage you when you are facing a potential episode. Do your best to engage in activities that typically bring you joy, even if it takes a little more effort to do so when you are feeling so down and depressed.
10. Create social time with family and friends
As social creatures, interacting with other humans is vital to our happiness and allows us to work through issues with the right support and perspective. If you are feeling down during your birthday as well as before and after, make sure to schedule plans with friends and family to keep yourself looking forward to something as you overcome your birthday depression.