It’s actually very normal to feel anxious or depressed on your birthday. There’s a term for it: ‘Birthday Blues’. Stewart Shankman, a psychologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago explains that it can be normal for the day to trigger depression, because birthdays force people to examine their identity. ‘Birthdays can be one of those events, particularly a milestone birthday. If I’m no longer in my 30s, now I’m 40 years old, what does that mean for who I am?’
But moments of joy and celebration are also important in a time of uncertainty and crisis, so that’s worth bearing in mind.
So, if you’re birthday is around the corner, here are some ways to make the most of it in the time of COVID-19, in case you need them too:
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Spend As Much Time Under The Duvet As You Want
Breakfast in bed. Done. Lunch and dinner also in bed. Also fine. The good news is – if your birthday is around the corner, you don’t even have to get dressed if you don’t want to (especially not on your bottom half, thanks to our new video conferencing life).
Equally, there is no such thing as being overdressed at home, so if you’ve been looking for an excuse to wear that Cecilie Bahnsen dress or Gucci-esque gold lamé shirt, well, wait no more. ‘My housemate and I hosted an isolation party on Saturday night,’ says ELLE’s Feature Assistant Becky. ‘We got super dressed up, I even wore a gown. We had the best night. I danced so hard I broke the strap on my favourite heels’.
Download House Party And Digitally Mingle
The one comforting thing about birthdays is that they come for everyone. I’ve come to realise a problem shared is always a good solution. Download Houseparty, the social media app du jour in the age of Corona.
The joy of Houseparty is that it offers games – a night of Heads Up for your birthday? Win. Also, the app only allows eight guests so you won’t feel overwhelmed having to invite too many people. Best of all, the app allows you to gate crash other people’s parties so even if you haven’t organised your own, there’s still a chance to celebrate with others.
Do The Things You Love Most
Love Timothée Chalamet? Plan a movie marathon of Call Me By Your Name, Beautiful Boy and Lady Bird (maybe dodge The King)… Feel your best in the bath? Have three, one for each meal, and use different bubble and aroma mixtures for each one. Enjoy nothing more than a pub quiz? Ask one of your friends to host one for you and your friend via Zoom and ensure you have a few cold beers in the fridge ready.
ELLE’s Fashion Writer, Daisy celebrated her birthday last week by making Pancake Day – her favourite national day – happen all over again in March. ‘My boyfriend also made a playlist of all my favourite songs,’ she says. ‘And then later we did a zoom call with my family and all watched the same movie together at the same time and messaged each other. It was brilliant.’
Make A Meal Of It
Cooking has great therapeutic powers on the best of days, so why not host a Zoom dinner party for your family or best friend? Each of you cook a meal, lay the tables in your respective houses, light a candle, pour the pinot noir and prop up the laptop and enjoy a delicious meal together.
Head over to Laura Jackson’s #MakeAMealOfIt Instagram to get inspired. Each night she’s making delicious recipes from crab gratin to rhubarb tarts and making her dining table look like an artist’s canvas.
Do Something Nice For Someone Else
Want to make your birthday a bit more meaningful? Well get inspired by US site – The Birthday Project. Their aim is to create a shift in the way we celebrate our birthdays by encouraging us to do acts of kindness in our communities and help make the world a better place – all on our special day. The idea was started by founder Robyn Bomar who on her 38th birthday chose to do 38 acts of kindness for others – one for each year of her life.
Now, more than ever, lots of vulnerable people need our help. Why not try spend this birthday checking in on some elderly neighbours, sending a friend in need a card, or doing a food shop for someone that can’t leave their home…
If All Else Fails, Enjoy The Cake
Because all cake, no matter the day of the year, is great. As is, of course, all the love, kindness and generosity that all my family and many friends give us on our birthdays. I try to remember all that. But mostly I just enjoy the cake. And the best thing about being in isolation? I don’t have to share.
This article originally appeared on ELLE US.