8 ways to actually enjoy your birthday without freaking out.

Image: iStock

Here’s an embarrassing fact: I get into a terrible mood every birthday because it never lives up to my expectations.

Check out this pissed-off selfie I uploaded on my birthday, a few weeks ago:

Birthday brat, much? (Image: Instagram, @carlaandthegoodstuff)


The problem with my birthday is... me. I expect it to be the best day ever, while doing nothing to make that happen. It's time for me to tackle my birthday like a grown-ass woman. I've got a year to get my next one right, so I asked around the office for tips to make sure it's as sparkly as possible next year.

1. Take control of your day.

Our number one tip for enjoying your birthday? Take charge.

If you want special food, fun activities and friends around you, you need to organise it yourself. Or at least drop enough hints and breathe down your friends' or partner's neck as they type out that Facebook birthday event invite (which you will of course dictate directly into their ear).

Yes, it is lovely when people spontaneously remember your special day, but let's face it: everyone is too boringly busy to for that. Why be disappointed when it's your birthday? You are responsible for the magic in your life. Once you kick off your own celebrations, then your festive spirit will be infectious.

2. Tell people it's your birthday.

Don't be shy! I learnt this the hard way. A few years ago, I went to work on my birthday and then got into an extremely bad mood because no-one said "happy birthday" to me. This wasn't because I worked with assholes; it was because no-one knew it was my birthday. They weren't mind-readers, and this was pre-Facebook birthday notifications.

I've noticed that the happiest birthday people are the ones who mention their birthday with subtle hints as the big day looms. So start your nattering now, whether it's a casual mention that the eighth of June is your favourite date ever (because it's when you were born, duh) or  pondering aloud how you will organise a party. Just don't forget to invite the person you're talking to, otherwise it's just awkward.



Watch: No time to bake yourself a birthday masterpiece? This delicious mug cake will deliver a mini dose of cheer. (Post continues after video.)

3. Make it delicious.

Party food will instantly add birthday flair to your day.

Remember, though, that the days of a table laden with fairybread, lollies and chips magically appearing in your backyard (thanks, mum!) are over. Sorry. So,either the night before or the morning of, gather together a few of your favourite birthday treats — or even better, begin the day with a festive start by organising breakfast with someone you love.

If it's a birthday cake you truly want, make or buy it yourself - or enlist your favourite domestic goddess to help you out. My friend Teeg's mum made her this giant version of an Australian Women's Weekly cake for her 21st, which proves that you are never too old for a princess castle cake.

The birthday cake of everyone's dreams. (Image: Supplied.)

4. Bottoms up!

Not only is party food a must, so are birthday beverages. Get your buzz on with champagne... or your favourite barista special, if you're a non-drinker like me. And if H20 is the way to go, then shove a cocktail umbrella in your glass or water bottle, and when people ask why (especially if it's during a work conference call) tell them that IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY AND YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT.

5. Make it a birthday festival.

Stretch your birthday out over a week... or more! Have a birthday breakfast with your work buddies, birthday drinks on the weekend with your friends who like to party, and a chilled birthday lunch on a Sunday with family. That way, you will have something to look forward to, plus you'll get to celebrate your birthday with everyone you treasure.

Who says you can't do brunch, dinner AND cocktails? (iStock)

6. Wear a party outfit.

Hey, it's your birthday - dress up for it! There's nothing like a special outfit to make you feel extra celebratory. Or, use it as an opportunity to wear whatever the hell you want, because it's your birthday, damn it! Party dresses not your thing? Wear pajamas. But if that's not possible, maybe Cookie Monster underwear under your office suit can be your secret interpretation of "birthday suit".

Get some birthday hair inspo from our Grammys 2016 gallery. (Post continues after gallery.)

7. Sharing your birthday? Make sure people know about it.

There's few things more awkward than sharing your birthday. Some people may share their birthday with Jesus or the Queen, which means their special day always gets forgotten amongst the public holiday cheer.


Or, like me, you may share your birthday with your husband and then face having a fight every single year because one of you wants to go to Sephora for their birthday, while the other one wants to play Final Fantasy on their Playstation all day, and then you both remember you have a kid and that ultimately she runs your life. There is never an easy solution.

If you share your birthday with someone, whether with a deity, regent or friend/partner/enemy, then don't be subtle about it: tell people it's your birthday too. And do something just for you, even if it's 5 minutes spent hiding in the pantry scoffing a Ferrero Rocher. If you're going to be selfish on one day it should be your birthday, right? Just don't forget to wish that other person a happy birthday, too. Queen E appreciates it, truly.

Yeah, I share a birthday with my husband. (Image supplied)

8. Get over it.

A crucial part to enjoying your birthday is to let go of any feelings of preciousness and importance. It's a very zen idea and one that's difficult to master. But once you do, it actually frees you up to truly enjoy the special parts of your day.

Here's a fact: you're special, but so is everyone else around you. You're not the centre of the universe. You are but one tiny piece of glitter in a huge bucket of it at Lincraft. Now repeat that to yourself a million times, and it should both cheer you up and depress you. But it will sure dispel those birthday blues that "no-one cares about me, I have no presents," right?

What are your tips for enjoying your birthday?