The Importance of Celebration

Now more than ever we need to take time to appreciate the small things and to celebrate milestones, occasions and traditions—even if we have to wear a face mask while doing so!

Whether it’s birthdays, Halloween, Christmas or Kwanzaa, carrying on traditions and celebrating milestones is important. Not only does it mark the occasion, but it can diffuse stress and spark much-needed joy.

Especially now, amidst the pandemic.

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With Thanksgiving and Halloween creeping up on us and then all of the winter festivities right around the corner, it’s hard to know how celebrations will look this year.

When it comes to Halloween, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry recommends staying outside, only hosting small groups, not asking trick-or-treaters to sing for their treats and pre-packaging candies so kids can approach one at a time for safety. And, of course, masks are encouraged.

But don’t wait for the “official” occasions to celebrate.

In “Why You Should Celebrate Everything,” an article for Psychology Today, author Polly Campbell says any celebration is really about taking time to notice the good stuff in your life—big and small.

So high five the clean room, eat ice cream in the bath, celebrate the raked leaves.

According to research conducted by professors Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael McCullough, people who cultivate a daily attitude of celebration and gratitude have more energy, less stress and anxiety, are more likely to help others, exercise more frequently, sleep better, have improved physical health, and make better progress toward achieving personal goals. Simply making a weekly list of things that make us grateful can help.

You don’t need decorations or presents to celebrate a great moment, insists Campbell. Just follow these three steps:

1. Notice the moment.

Notice what is working in your life, what’s good, and you’ll find something to celebrate.

2. Move out of the routine and set the scene.

Go to a special place in your home, or to a beautiful location outside and give your attention to the moment of goodness or achievement. Whatever you celebrate, set the moment apart by stepping out of your routine for just a few minutes.

3. Commemorate the moment.

Make a toast, prepare a special food, high five, light a candle, dance.

“Animate the moment with a powerful, celebratory action that fires up positive energy,” says Campbell, “and enjoy the goodness that you have in your life.”

Sue Fast

Vancouver Island's Parenting Resource