The emotional impact of losing birthdays to lockdown

Hopefully lockdown birthdays will have been a thing of the past (Picture: Getty)

As pubs and non-essential shops opened yesterday, so did the chance for many to celebrate with friends on their birthday once again.

For some, two birthdays have now been spent indoors, with Zoom parties and quizzes becoming the norm.

According to psychologist and wellbeing coach Lee Chambers, the return to being able to mark these milestones will help to get people feeling back to normal after a period of social isolation.

He told ‘The celebration aspect of reaching milestones has been found to play a role in our overall wellbeing.

‘The celebration and recognition of transitioning to a new age in our lives is a ritual that has been part of human life for thousands of years. It allows us to reflect on our growth, lessons we have learned and provides stability in a dynamic world.’

Counselling Directory member Philip Karahassan adds: ‘The one day where you feel special. By missing that day you are not getting the sense of self-worth and self-esteem of having your birthday wishes and expectations met.

‘You might feel sad, upset and angry. When do I get to celebrate being me? When do I feel the love of others? When do I feel special? These expectations are justified just that one day a year.’

Pagan cultures traditionally lit candles and sang and made noise as it was believed that birthdays would bring evil spirits. The birthday person would have chants said around them to ward off these spirits.

Nowadays, however, it’s more of a chance to be selfish for just one day a year.

Because we place extra importance on ‘milestone’ birthdays such as 18, 21, 30, and beyond, missing these may sting a little more.

Party supply company Ginger Ray even created a range of ‘missed milestone’ balloons and decorations so people can still get what they need for 31st, 19th, 22nd, and 51st birthdays.

Thankfully all is not lost. You may have missed the day (or days, sorry Aries’), but a postponed celebration will still give you all those great social benedits.

Lee states: ‘The beauty is that the excitement and anticipation, the social connection benefits and the recognition and reflection can all be ignited by planning a new celebration.

‘It may not be on the specific date, but creating a flexible plan for future celebrations will start to generate positivity and gratitude for what will be possible.’

Philip adds: ‘As lockdown is slowly starting to unwind, maybe ask people for some safe physical contact (socially distanced walk) on or around your birthday.

‘Remember it won’t be the same as it might have been before but expecting it to be will make you feel upset. Try and create a new experience during the time which still allows you to get a new type of experience in the celebration of your birthday. It might be more fun than you expect it to be!’

The great thing about birthdays is you never have to wait more than a year until your next one.

Hopefully no one will have to have a third lockdown birthday, and the lockdown birthdays that have already been will get to party some time soon.

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