Celebrating stuff is my thing. I celebrate a professional success, such as a new client's contract, as well as I celebrate a residency permit (I once threw a party when I got my Swiss C Permit. This is basically the equivalent of permanent residency in Switzerland, but not like citizenship, which by the way I will celebrate this coming November), and with the same gratitude and intensity I celebrate someone else's achievement, birthday or even a small thing like having managed to rearrange my kitchen cabinets after months of having a mess.
I think this is something natural to me, it comes from my mom's family as well (especially my joyful aunt Anna), but it is just recently that I realized the immense positive potential of celebration for our mental wellbeing. I want to list some of the reasons here and make some practical examples:
IT ALLOWS US TO BE MORE GRATEFUL FOR SMALL THINGS
I know people who only celebrate big things, like anniversaries and birthdays, which is good, but when it comes to celebrate a new "smaller" achievement, some of us we might think we are not enough and think "what is the big deal" or "well, I will find some time to celebrate later on", but then life happens, and we don't take the time to acknowledge that something remarkable has happened to us. And this is just not right for our self-respect. You deserve to pause and celebrate. Furthermore, there is also some interesting literature on the importance of a gratitude practice for our mental health.
CELEBRATING HELPS WITH SELF-CARE AND SELF-ESTEEM
When we take the time to celebrate something, we are carving this time out of our potentially busy schedule, which means we are setting time aside in a healthy way to say to ourselves "well done". Some celebrating acts such as a nice spa day or a good movie with our favorite food is an act of self-care, because in that moment we are listening to what we like, want or need. Self-care practices increase our own self-efficacy, which in turns increases our self-esteem. I like this article's take on it.
"When you avoid things that make you feel mentally and physically well, you deplete your self-worth", the author says.
Also, when you are taking care of yourself, you are treating yourself as your best friend, which boosts our sense of self and give us positive feelings.
EMBEDDED IN OUR BRAIN: CHEMICALS RELEASED WHEN CELEBRATING
In the last couple of years, I have been researching a lot on the power of celebrating and the neurochemicals release, like serotonin and dopamine, and their effects on our wellbeing. Plus, your brain's reward system with automatically help you with this. And even Forbes is backing me up on this one.
IT BRINGS BACK OUR PLAYFULNESS
Being playful helps us relativize experiences, allows us to be less strict with ourselves and boosts our creativity and imagination potential. It is also a good antidote against perfectionistic tendencies.
IT HELPS US STAY PRESENT
It is important to remind ourselves of the importance of the present moment. Celebrating helps me stay present and live the current moment of joy, instead of always thinking about the future and what else is there and going after the next challenge (which is also typical of an entrepreneurial mentality, which sometimes truly stresses me out). I love the ability of JUST BEING. In fact, I love the Italians for that (but also other cultures which I believe are more prone to be in the moment).
AND NOW.. DRUM ROLL BECAUSE WE ARE CELEBRATING THIS ARTICLE TOO..
HERE SOME IDEAS ON HOW TO CELEBRATE!
Some people don't celebrate enough because they simply don't know how to do it, and they feel it needs to take a very long time to organize any kinds of celebration, which it doesn't have to be the case. I am happy to give you some ideas here, and you can steal all my practices as much as you want, as long as you are feeling the celebration vibe inside of you:
- I take a glass of my favorite drink, Prosecco, and order a pizza to enjoy with my husband. If I am celebrating alone, I eat that pizza on my sofa while watching a funny series;
- I take a warm bath with candles and my favorite music and don't look at the time;
- I do a "celebration" dance, where I just let myself do some funny steps and I clap my hands as if I was a kid (talking about playfulness);
- I call someone in my family and I allow myself to just be with them on a long chatty call;
- I buy a new book or accessory I like (I am keen on accessories, books, cosmetics; it is a personal thing of course);
- I write down on my journal the reason why I am celebrating, the date, the hour and I describe how that achievement is making me feel. It helps me to truly staying connected to myself;
- I invite my friends to have a small celebration, either at my place, or invite them for a meal or a drink.
Also, please remember: if you feel that celebrating is not your strength, ask your family, friends and community to help you with this. I am sure they will be delighted to support you, plus they get to celebrate with you. It's such a win-win.
So, what can you celebrate today, this week, this month, this year? I wish you a great celebration moment.