Birthdays - a time of reflection, self compassion and celebration

Birthday cake and card

Birthday's are a strange time, some people love them, some hate them. They mark another year and sometimes that's difficult if life hasn't quite turned out how you wanted it to. This is my birthday cake and card from my children from a few months ago, my birthday this year was one of my favourite, not because I got the most expensive presents, not because I was winded and dined in fancy restaurants, or had a surprise party, or anything big actually at all. It was my favourite birthday because I was able to take time to reflect on my life, and that made me smile. My day started with a catapillar cake with my 2 daughters, lots of laughter and I spent the next few days with friends and family I love, having picnics, BBQ's and generally chilling out. When I think about my weekend (and yes in my life birthdays last at least a weekend!) I still smile 6 weeks later. I smile because it was exactly what I needed it to be, an affirmation that I am surrounded by love.

I am always honest when people ask if I have had therapy. My answer is yes absolutely and I still do. As a therapist I have learned that I need to take care of my emotional health just as much as my mental health, so I work with a personal trainer, a nutritionist and a therapist/mentor to ensure that I am in the best possible physical and mental health. This year I have upped my support team, and I believe that this is why my birthday was the best ever. Delving even deeper into my own psyche, looking after myself, investing in myself and really taking care of myself has meant that I am able to be the best version of me. It has meant that I don't need expensive jewellery (not that I'm adverse to it you understand, I like a diamond as much as the next person), I don't need fancy restaurants (I admit to slight social anxiety so a picnic is more my style).

Some tools to help you use your birthday to feel good about yourself:

  • Before the day take time out to think about what you have achieved in the past year
  • Think about who you want to spend your birthday with, who makes you genuinely feel good and loved, and warm and fluffy
  • Think carefully about what you want to do, plan your birthday around what you enjoy, not what you think you should do
  • Buy yourself a birthday present (I do this every year, sometimes its big other times its small, but its always something I really want that makes me feel good inside)
  • If you're really up for embracing the self love, go one step further and write yourself a lovely card or note, you could do this in preparation for next year too so you have something lovely to look forward to
  • Take some time out either on your birthday or the day after to journal about what you want your life to look like on your next birthday, this might be what you want to achieve, where you want to be living, what job you want etc, or keep it simple and focus on how you want to feel this time next year and make a commitment and plan around how you are going to do this.

As you make know, we now have centres in Welwyn Garden City and Hoddesdon. If you would like support with anything mentioned in this article, or your emotional wellbeing in general, please get in touch on 01707 527990 or contact@hertfordshiretherapy.org

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