Why You Should Stop and Celebrate

I come from a family that loves to celebrate. Birthdays are a huge deal, champagne is called for when someone buys a new car, Christmas sees a tree overflowing with gifts and I always get texts from family on pertinent anniversaries.

It’s what I’m used to and I’ve always felt grateful for that being how my family operates.

Celebration is something I’ve held on to as I’ve formed my own life away from my family.

I like to make a fuss over friends’ new jobs, new babies or new anything really, and my husband will attest that I smother him in birthday fun whether he likes it or not (spoiler alert: the answer is ‘or not’)

So why should we take time to celebrate?

It differentiates your life

Although I’m sure you all try to lead rich lives, it’s natural to feel a sense of groundhog day from time to time. Another day at the office, another meal being cooked for your family, the days can just bleed into the next.

By taking time to celebrate - whether that be a dinner out, rewarding yourself with a new candle or taking a day trip away - breaks up our lives and creates stand out memories.

It feels amazing to make someone else feel special

One of my favourite reasons to celebrate is to make someone else feel great. I’m not a cruel person who forces ‘Happy Birthday’ to be sung in a restaurant to a cripplingly shy friend, but I make sure my loved ones are made to feel special through words, gifts and somehow making their life easier on important occasions.

It points out how lucky you are

Not every person in this world has the resources to celebrate in the way we do. Along with that comes the fact that not every person has friends and family to celebrate with.

When I stop and celebrate my own and others’ special occasions, it gives me a chance to pause, look around at those close to me, and remember how truly lucky I am to have the life I do.

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Do you take the time to stop and celebrate? What’s the next milestone or occasion you can start planning a celebration for now?

 

How To Support New Mothers

I’m not a mother myself but have been around lots of babies in the last few years, as friends and family members start to procreate. Apart from my intense fear of holding babies until they can control their necks (who’s with me?!), I’ve always tried to be as supportive as possible as the women in my life go through this life-altering time.

Below are a couple of my tips looking in from the outside, and I also enlisted the help of a mother of three with this advice.

Bring food

My #1 tip is to cook for the new mum and dad. 30 minutes of your life making a lasagna, casserole or whatever dish can easily be divided and transported, will make a huge difference to the life of their family. I usually recommend cooking something that freezes well, but have had numerous testimonies from friends that they eat pretty much whatever I bring them that night, rather than saving it for a busy day. As every day is a busy day now right?!

Forgive them

New mums have told me that they no longer feel like their head is in it - that they’re being a bad friend, host, partner, sister etc during the first months of having a baby. I’ve found this really never to be the case, but even if they are being hopeless, just forgive them.

A new mum’s friend became irate with her because she was always so distracted and was never available to listen to her friend’s problems. And proceeded to tell her so.

Making someone who is going through an intense time feel bad seems pretty low to me. Wait it out and try some empathy.

And the visiting advice from a mother of three?

  • Offer to cuddle the baby while mum has a shower
  • Offer to help mum have a walk around the block or sit with the baby while her and her partner do
  • Run a vacuum over the lounge floor
  • Make her bed
  • Come for afternoon tea (but bring the coffee and the cake)
  • Play with any other children
  • Talk about the 'outside world'
  • Leave your small children at home if you can
  • Offer to pick up groceries for mum from the shops on the way to visit
  • Hold the baby!
  • Don't stay too long
  • Food, food, food!!! (especially for dinner that night) Ed: Supporting my theory above!

Are you a mum? Tell me the best help you’ve had after bringing your new baby home.

 

Do You Chase Change, Then Freak Out When It Arrives?

Despite sometimes feeling our routines are stagnant, change (or even working towards change) is pretty common in our lives. I’ve noticed during recent catch ups with girlfriends that there’s a lot of change going on around us. Babies, new jobs, moving house, renovating - all big and exciting life events.

Another common theme is the stress and fear that comes with these changes.

We work towards change, then feel overwhelmed with stress, and even panic, when it arrives.

So why do we chase change? And why can’t we handle it effortlessly when it arrives?

The lead up

Most goal-based changes involve a long period of planning or effort before they arrive. Job hunting can feel like it takes forever ... babies take 9 months, house hunting can take years and moving overseas takes a major amount of planning and packing.

During the lead up, we’re often stuck in what I call, ‘future thinking’.

We fantasise about when the change finally arrives, and often feel bored during the planning.

The danger of future thinking

Also common is the continual striving for the next goal or possession to fulfil us. I’m sure many of us have had these thoughts - “I’ll be happy when I get a new car / have an amazing new job / get engaged”.

The overarching message we’re drumming into ourselves is that when things are ‘fixed’, we’ll finally be happy.

Are you missing the moment?

Often these changes we long for arrive in an awful hurry. After feeling fed up with my last job hunt, I attended two interviews, received a job offer and accepted, all within 5 days. Although it was exciting, I was somewhat longing for the boring day-to-day of job hunting by the end of that intense week!

Remember - the change is coming so try your best to stay present. There’s no point wishing time away, so fill your days with a variety of activities to keep your mind occupied if you’ve become obsessed with your change. Spend time with friends, keep up with exercise and be certain things will shift before you know it.

Start your future list

One of my favourite tips is to start a ‘future list’ - whether in a journal or in your phone. Whatever that long term change is, if you can’t do anything about it in this exact moment, get your thoughts or 'to do list' down and out of your head now.

A friend of mine is moving back to her hometown in around a year and was talking to me about options on where to live and work when she returns. I totally sympathised with this future thinking but could also see that if the thoughts took over, she might miss out on the city she’s living in at the moment.

Write it down and remember, there’s a time for everything.

The post-change panic

One thing I’ve learned about change (and I chase change!) is that once it happens, you will be out of routine. It can feel stressful and unnerving. What I’ve also learned is that this time passes more quickly than you realise, and you’ll be back into a routine (and likely thinking about your next change!) before you know it. Again, try and stay present.

Give yourself a break and let your standard routine be as flexible as it needs to be while you adjust.

What big change are you chasing at the moment? Let me know in the comments below!