Birthday Blues: 3 Steps to Fighting Sadness on Your Special Day

Pink birthday cake with candle shaped into the number 16Birthdays are a time of celebration. But for some, it’s a time of dread. Psychologists call it birthday depression, in which a person feels extremely sad on the day and in the days leading up to it. Sometimes, there’s also anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and an urge to avoid people.

It’s important to acknowledge that such a feeling is real — and it shouldn’t be easily dismissed. But be sure not to wallow in it, as well. Here’s who you can tackle those birthday blues:

Keep expectations in check

A common reason people experience the birthday blues is that they have high expectations for the special day. They’re probably eyeing on a particular gift, a surprise, or something grand on their day that when it fails to come through, the thinking is people just don’t care enough about them.

Check your expectations. Birthdays are special for what it is: You were born this day. All the other things, the presents and the surprises, are just bonuses. Revel in the true essence of this special day.

Don’t depend on others for your happiness

It’s never a good idea to rely on others for what makes you happy. People would disappoint, in one way or another. Instead, give yourself the happiness you think you deserve. Treat yourself. Get that dress you’ve been eyeing for weeks. Or, build a cake online for yourself. Do something special. This will not just put you in good spirits, but also distract you from the negative feelings.

Remember: Birthday or non-birthdays, take charge of your happiness. You’re the only one who can define that for yourself. Go after it.

Reflect on your past achievements

A lot of people get the birthday blues because birthdays mark getting older. With an increase in age comes a heavier pressure, perhaps in getting married soon, having kids, or owning a house. It can be really frustrating if you’re not there yet. But the way to tackle this is to focus not on what you don’t have, but on what you have accomplished.

You may be unmarried now, but you’ve made strides of progress in breaking out of your shell and putting yourself out there in the dating world. Or, you may not have a house right now, but you’ve landed a stable job that will soon reach that dream. Focus on what you have, rather than what you lack.

Birthday depression is a miserable state to be in. Acknowledge the sadness, but know when to pick yourself up.