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  • Writer's pictureBelinda M

Take Your Birthday OFF

Rush rush rush. Adrenaline pumping. Will I get out of the office in time to find a park and meet Kelly for lunch? Oh no, the phone is ringing… “Yes, OK, I’ll get on to it this afternoon.” Quick, duck out now. Ahhhh…relief. Jump in the car, now where am I going? OK. Oh no, the traffic. Right, there it is. Where am I going to park? I should have grabbed an taxi! Ok, I’ll just squeeze in here. One hour parking…I won’t be longer than one hour. So much to do so I won’t be staying long. Just a quick drink and entrée then back to the office. Great…here’s the restaurant. There they are…air kisses…sitting down…ordering drinks … Relieved to be here but must remember to leave within the hour….

This was the story of my corporate life. How on earth could I fit my life between my work commitments? Every year, one of my dear friends, Kelly, celebrated her birthday by having a lunch and I really wanted to attend, but it was such a hassle, and I was always the first to leave. The other women didn’t work or if they did, like Kelly, they would take the day off, to ensure their lunch was a long leisurely one. But not me - I was needed at work! I was responsible and had a strong work ethic, plus I loved my job even though it was becoming all-consuming and my social and family life were suffering.

It was my very first coach who challenged me that I was not indispensable. It was hard to be realistic and not be a martyr. I wanted to break the habit of ‘presenteeism’. After discussing my concerns with my coach, I started to see that indeed I did have a choice, and we made an actionable plan. I put in my annual leave form early and told my manager. Sure, it was months away but that was our plan. No matter how urgent, important or crucial the work was, on my birthday I was not going to work.

So that year I celebrated my birthday differently. I slept in and then enjoyed breakfast with Kelly at a local café. We relaxed, read the papers, chatted and had fun. Off to my hairdresser’s to unwind as my head was massaged, my hair was washed, cut and styled, I flicked through magazines and drank good coffee. A leisurely window shop before lunch with some other friends at new café on the park. That afternoon I walked the dogs and then had a snooze on the sofa. My husband came home and cooked me a delicious birthday dinner and we spent quality time together. What a wonderful day.

Our birthdays are special days. Acknowledge yourself and celebrate the success of turning another year older by spoiling yourself for the day. Taking your birthday off is an act of self love.

It’s is a day to reflect and recognise progress from this milestone last year. A day to rejoice, rejuvenate and recreate.

“When celebrating success becomes a habit, success becomes a habit.”

Here’s an idea bank if you are stuck for ideas:

breakfast with friends, day spa, buy a new piece of clothing, rent a sports car/motorbike, get someone to look after the kids for the day, get the kids to cook all of the meals and clean up, play golf, read a book, go to the cinema have a massage, listen to your favourite music, watch your favourite movie, connect with nature, indulge in your favourite hobby, do a jigsaw, spend the day with a loved one, spend the day in bed, send yourself a big present, go to your favourite café….

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