The other week it was my Birthday.
Writing that alone gives me a little bit of anxiety. You see I have had ‘birthday anxiety’ since I was around 6 years old. I’ve always found it incredibly hard to celebrate the ‘day of my birth’ since childhood and a lot of it is linked to my PTSD and events that occurred around that date when I was younger. My birthday blues are something I’m actively working to shake every single year and while I definitely have not mastered the art of celebrating it without a hitch, I’ve come a long way.
I feel like my birthday is always a test to see how well can I keep it together… I’ve had some years where I’ve totally fallen apart. I think around my 22nd Birthday was a bad one. I remember locking myself in my mum’s apartment in my tiny room for a week, crying daily, binge eating, throwing up, then not eating, then crying some more and that’s only the half of it.. I remember countless birthdays isolating myself and being strange to everyone around me. Birthdays where I would just cry and others where I would hide or make up crazy stories on how i was feeling super sick, so people would understand I was not well, even if it was mental rather than physical.
This year (2017) I made it a BIG goal of mine to celebrate my birthday in an indirect way. Having an actual Birthday celebration still doesn’t feel right to me, so I decided on the 17th of October, a day when I would usually run away and hide, to instead launch Mindspo’s (my online meditation school) new E-book ‘Mindshift- 50 ways to upgrade your vibration’, which I co-wrote with my partner Chris.
Launching a product on my most personal stressful day of the year in hindsight probably was not the smartest idea for my mental health, but it did bring me a lot of light to what is usually a day of darkness. I also committed myself to publicly posting about my birthday on social media, something I never ever do and find really hard. Making both these leaps on my Birthday highlighted to me just how many of my community members and followers share and suffer from severe birthday blues. At 27 I’ve now done a fair amount of Bdays and I’ve definitely learnt what works and doesn’t work to help raise your vibe on a low vibe day, so here are some of my Vibration raising birthday hacks to help you find a bit of happiness if you’re ever struggling to feel that jolly feeling everyone expects you to have.
– Tell people how you REALLY feel.
Communication is key, especially when it comes to getting real about mental health and how you really feel. I went years without truly explaining to people in my life that I had an ongoing underlying issue with celebrating my birthday and it made the whole day worse and worse each year. When we don’t communicate about what is really going on, but instead suppress our feelings and then act out of character, people will come to their own conclusions. I’ve found most people assume that if you’re not a birthday person they think you’re ashamed or uncomfortable about getting older, which for me personally is far from the root of the issue. This mistake has happened to me any number of times and left me annoyed that I didn’t better explain that the issue lies much deeper than a vain obsession with age. Through this I’ve learnt that communicating with a few key people in your life as to where your true issue with birthdays lie will not only help you have a better day but also ease the stress for those around you that probably just want to make sure you have the best day possible. Don’t stay silent, speak up.
– Plan what you REALLY want to.
Your birthday is YOUR birthday, so naturally it makes sense for you to be the decision maker on what you actually want to do. If you have family friends or a boy/girlfriend in your life that is being a bit of a control freak on your birthday and trying to run the show, my advice is to speak up and be clear on what you actually want. Don’t live the day to please other people, please yourself.
– Spend the day offline.
If you’re anything like me, the last thing that’s needed on your day is a sea of never ending notifications from everyone who ever added you on Facebook wishing you happy Birthday. Remember you’re in charge of your life, so that means you can choose to go offline anytime you want and if that’s on your birthday then go for it! While i took the opposite step and decided to go ONLINE this year after many years of going offline on my Birthday, I feel both can be constructive depending on how you are feeling. Your social media, your choice.
– Re-claim the day
We all deserve to celebrate something. If the classic birthday celebration is too much for you, then no worries, re-claim the day and celebrate something entirely different. There’s no rules here, you can turn your birthday into an international celebration of your cat Coco and theme everything around you and Coco having the chillest day ever together. Reclaiming the day is actually something I specifically did this year for my birthday in bringing out my first ever E book Mindshift. While I won’t say that launching a new product on a stressful day was my brightest idea ever, it did offer a lot of distraction. Reclaiming the day just means you can celebrate in your own way. If your celebration is Netflix and chill all day, do that! Want to jump out of a plane? You can do that too. Your day, your rules, you choose.
– Get away – Don’t run away.
My old approach to my birthday was RUN AWAY! Far away. Anywhere but here, away and while running away may seem like a good idea at the time, whatever we don’t deal with will just keep coming back until one day we deal with it once and for all – trust me on this one. I now take the getaway approach on my birthday but rather than running from family and friends and loved ones I just CHOOSE to getaway with my other half. Essentially getting away has the same effect as running away a.k.a being away from everyone and in your own space, but it has a much more positive vibe to it. Getaway don’t run away.
Meditation gets me through EVERYTHING. I meditate daily for my own sanity and it’s a practice that I preach and teach because for me it’s been life changing and life saving. If you’re a regular meditator, then you’ll know what I’m talking about and I’m sure you know how much meditation can help when you have the blues. If you’ve never tried meditation then WOW what a perfect day to start and DIVE into a practice, that won’t only get you through birthday blues but also through LIFE. You can check out my free 5 minute meditation at Mindspo.com to get you started 😉
– Write yourself a note
I saw this idea online and while I forgot to do it this year I’m going to make sure I try it next time. Before your birthday, when you remember, write yourself a loving, supportive, beautiful and kind note. In life I’ve found that the best person to help me has really always been myself, you know what makes you smile, what makes you tick, what makes you feel LOVED, so do yourself a favour and write yourself a birthday note reflecting on how proud you are of your progress and where you are in your life. Pour your heart out and write what you are grateful for. Once you’ve written yourself a love note, set a reminder in your phone for your Birthday and hide the note to be opened on that day. I can only imagine the calming and loving effects this idea would have and I can’t wait to try it myself.
– Get out in Nature OR at least out of the house
I remember my 21st Birthday, I locked myself inside all day and then was dragged outside to a cafe by my mum in the late afternoon. I thought that I would want nothing more than to turn around and run back into bed and lock my door, but then, shockingly being outside actually made me feel a little better, not great, but better. You’re always going to feel at your worst when your all cooped up in your room or house and while I know going outside and being around people can seem like the last thing you want to do, it can be extremely beneficial and the first step to shaking the blues. I never lock myself away on my birthday anymore, because I know too well that it doesn’t help anything. Getting outside and in fresh air may not take all the pain away, but it sure will make a difference, so just do it.
– Have your cake and eat it too
This year was the first year I have had a birthday cake since my teens. Due to my negative reaction to Birthdays up until this point, anyone close to me in my life has been very wary of how much they celebrate or make plans to celebrate the day around me, which has lead to no one ever daring to buy me a cake, because birthday cakes are well, as festive as you get and I make a point of not being festive. This year however I was fortunate enough to stay at an amazing resort who knew it was my birthday and behold the first thing in the morning the door to our room rung and I was greeted with a Happy Birthday Rochelle Cake and french champagne. Now I would NEVER ask for a birthday cake, but being surprised by one and just going with the flow actually felt really nice. I had my cake this year and ate it too and you know what, I want a cake next year now too.
– Go Volunteer for the day.
My other option for this year if I had not launched my E-book on my Birthday would have been to spend the day helping others. When you help others you help yourself, you get out of your ego and focus your energy on other people who need you. There are 100’s of possibilities and ways to volunteer all over the world, it’s just up to you to choose who and what you want to help out. Personally I would love to spend my Birthday teaching meditation at a children’s hospital ward one year or walking rescue dogs. Make your birthday special by making someone else’s day special. You get what you give.
-Remember to let go, this too shall pass.
The quotes ‘this too shall pass’ and ‘let go’ are two of my favourite go to healing affirmations, that help me greatly around my birthday. What ever you are holding onto, let it go and remember these emotions and feelings you’re having will pass. Everything passes, nothing lasts forever. You are in control of your reality, so let go, let it pass and let your life flow.
If you’re anything like me, birthdays bring on a lot of negative self talk. One way I like to drown out the inner bitch in my brain is to of course meditate but then also READ. Reading helps me escape and raise my vibe, it allows me to get lost in someone else words and allows my imagination to FLOW. Find a good book that makes you feel inspired and sit in the sun and read, turn off your phone, soak up some rays or run a warm bath and just get lost in the mind of another soul. I love the idea that if your mind is going wild, calm it with the words of another soul.
I hope those help. If all else fails remeber today is a new day and your not alone so don’t be alone, call a friend, ask for a hug, be kind to yourself this too shall pass.
Love your friend,