There are so many things worth celebrating, especially as we embark on a new year. You might celebrate reaching a specific goal, like furthering your education or saving a certain amount of money. Maybe you’ve landed your dream job or a well-deserved raise. Even little things are worth celebrating, like discovering a new hobby. New homes, paying off debt, overcoming fears, and starting a business are all worthy reasons to celebrate.
Celebration of Life Week (January 1–7) reminds us not only to usher in a new year but celebrate life to the fullest. It’s about taking time to focus on the small things, on the big things, all the important people in your life, as well as yourself.
Celebratory energy has a way of making us feel alive. Think about when you have a special occasion to look forward to. You receive immediate joy through anticipating the fun you’ll have. We experience an elevated feeling of hope and excitement for what is to come. But what if our big occasions don’t happen often? We shouldn’t have to put our excitement on hold.
Truth is, we have been conditioned to wait for an external reason to feel excited and energized about life. Unfortunately, when we wait for a reason to celebrate life, we waste precious opportunities to enjoy life right now. There is power in realizing we can feel excited in the moment without actually being in the midst of a special event. All we really need to do is give ourselves the gift of celebrating more often — simply because we can.
I have discovered that joy is a choice. I can have it whenever I want. Even if I find myself in an unfortunate situation or circumstance, I can still have joy. I’ve learned that I can celebrate my small wins each day. I can also celebrate the wins of others.
How to Observe Celebration of Life Week
In an effort to remind ourselves to celebrate life without having a reason, here’s a list of ideas to add more celebration this week and every day:
Start Each Day with Gratitude
It’s natural to feel gratitude when we reach a goal or celebrate a milestone. We can also experience gratitude in the midst of tragedy, realizing how precious life is. Sometimes our wake-up calls remind us of everything we do have to be grateful for. But what about the kind that doesn’t need a reason?
Idea: The moment you wake up, see what feels different when you say: “Thank you for another day. I’m excited to celebrate whatever the day brings.” Then carry that energy around with you throughout the day. You’ll be surprised the difference it makes when you set intentions.
Make the Ordinary Extra
Some days can feel monotonous, for sure. Maybe it’s the amount of work before us, or the weather, or many other reasons. When life feels blah, celebrating is the last thing on our minds.
Idea: Something that always boosts my mood is music. If I’m writing, a little jazz can be relaxing and help the pen flow. If I’m cleaning or working on a difficult task, a little ’90s old-school rap never hurt anybody. Adding music can be a fun way to pass the time. When we set the mood to enjoy the process of whatever we are up to, it can become enjoyable.
Get Moving Outdoors
There’s something about nature and how it gives us everything we need to feel good about life. The outdoors gives us evidence that life is a gift. Even though we know this, sometimes we might forget how much better we’ll feel after spending even a little time outside. It’s important for our well-being.
Idea: If you’re like me, most of your day is spent indoors. If you can, eat outside for lunch or have a meeting while you walk. Breaking up the day with sunshine and fresh air adds a sense of freedom to our day. If you can’t get outside, open the curtains or the window. Go to the mall for those New Year deals, while getting your steps in.
Another Fun Way to Celebrate
Have a Zoom party to celebrate yourself and the important people in your life. Play music and even have games. I have actually done this with my girlfriends, and it’s so much fun. We all live in different cities, so Zoom allowed us all to be together at once. We wore the same color, had our favorite drink, shared what we’ve all been up to, and celebrated our wins. You can use the time to celebrate a birthday or other special event too. Best part, it’s free!
Don’t forget to take time for yourself. Take a spa day or a mental health day. Go on a well-deserved vacation or stay-cation. Watch your favorite movie, or read that book that you’ve been meaning to get to for weeks. Reconnect with a friend. Make a list of all the people you are thankful for and tell them how much you appreciate them in a hand-written note.
Use the hashtag #celebrationoflife on social media to share how you are celebrating all week long.
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Archuleta is an author, poet, blogger, and host of the FearlessINK podcast. Archuleta's work centers Black women, mental health and wellness, and inspiring people to live their fullest potential.