In just three days, I will be celebrating my 28th birthday. Despite all I have to be thankful for, I still find myself creeping into the birthday blues every year around April 26th. I find myself consumed with thoughts of “have I reached my maximum potential?” or “what more could I be doing?” So I’ve spent the past few weeks leading up to my birthday deeply immersing myself into activities to make me feel better about the fact that I’m not exactly where I want to be just yet. Birthdays are normally a cause for reflection and celebration but they can be difficult for the creative mind. Research shows that birthdays can cause disappointment and dissatisfaction due to not achieving expected accomplishments from the previous year. The deep reflection that particularly goes through the mind of creatives can make them wish they had done more to achieve their goals for the year.
This year I decided to make a conscious effort to combat my birthday blues using these tips:
1. Talk nice to yourself
The words you speak over yourself have power. Do not criticize yourself for what you have yet to achieve but praise yourself for what you have already accomplished. Look in the mirror and say something nice about what you see.
2. Confront your negative feelings
While you shouldn’t talk down to yourself, it is okay to acknowledge the feelings you have and why you’re feeling that way. Give yourself space to mourn over what you felt you could have done better but don’t dwell in it. Once you’ve addressed and made peace with those feelings, move forward in a more positive mindset.
3. Manage your expectations
Don’t let your expectations control you. Remember the journey that it took to get you to where you are. Reflect on how far you’ve come over the years. Realize that where you’re at now was once a goal. Let your thoughts be a motivating force that drives you to achieve more of your goals for next year.
4. Spend your birthday with the ones you love
Spending your birthday with your people you love doing an activity you love is a great way to cope with birthday depression. It also serves as a reminder of all the people who continue to root for you and your success.
Creatives should avoid using their birthday as a measuring tool for success but as a celebration of life and progression. Time is one of the most valuable assets to a creative. Therefore, every day you wake up alive is not only more time but another opportunity to take a step or a leap towards reaching your goals.