Happy new year! As we turn the page on one year, a new chapter awaits us on the other side. After a particularly bizarre year, it’s safe to assume that we’re all overdue for a little celebration.
January 1st officially sparks the start of Celebration of Life Month. Formerly called National Sanctity of Human Life Day, it was proclaimed by Ronald Regan in January 1984 as a way to honor the importance of human life in all its stages. It was also his way of solidifying his strong anti-abortion stance on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade landmark case court ruling.
While it’s had a rocky journey, today we recognize January as Celebration of Life Month. Despite its origins, January is synonymous with celebrating life and how precious it truly is. January 22nd is Celebration of Life Day and has come to symbolize all that’s wonderful about being alive.
Life has its ups and its downs — it’s easy to forget just how lucky we are to be celebrating another new year surrounded by those we love most. January is a reminder to sit back, take note of what you have, the people you care for, and take time to feel gratitude and express appreciation.
Here are some ways to make the best of this meaningful month:
Ways of Celebrating Life This January
Take a mental health day!
Unless you’re lucky enough to work in a school or university, gone are the days of two-week winter breaks and month-long Christmas vacations. If you aren’t retired yet, then you owe it to yourself to take some time off, reflect on the past year, and get ready for what’s ahead. Use Celebration of Life Day to do just that!
Some of the things you can do to get ready for the new year include making a list of things you want to accomplish, getting some spring cleaning done, or gearing up to start a new healthy habit like gardening or going on daily walks. Perhaps, your ideal mental health day consists of staying in bed binging your favorite series. There’s no right or wrong way to celebrate your life.
Get together with friends and family.
A huge part of celebrating life includes celebrating your support system and all the people that mean something to you. Use January 22nd as an excuse to get together with loved ones. Take a little extra time to deepen those connections and show your appreciation for each person that you care about.
Whether it’s a simple lunch date, a week away at the beach, or simply a phone call to let them know that you’re thinking of them — share your Celebration of Life Day with those who make positive contributions to your life. Express your gratitude for the support and friendship they add to your life.
Make a gratitude jar.
Some days are a little harder than others. It can be easy to put yourself on autopilot and mindlessly go through the motions of your day. Before you know it, it’s the end of the day, celebrating life is nowhere on your to-do list, and all you can think about is all the things you did or didn’t get to accomplish. On those days, reaching into a gratitude jar and reminding yourself of all the reasons you have to be grateful can completely shift your mindset and get you in a better mood.
This Celebration of Life Day, get started making yours. Start with an empty jar (mason jars or rinsed-out peanut butter containers work just fine). Write down all the things you’re thankful for on little pieces of paper and keep them in your jar. Every time you think of something else worth celebrating in your life, write it down on a new piece of paper and add it to your jar. Keep it somewhere that you can easily access daily. Next time life is getting you a little down, reach into your Gratitude Jar for a quick pick-me-up that gets you right back into a celebratory mood.
Indulge in a childhood favorite.
Since January 22nd started as a day to celebrate children, it’s only fitting that you take a little time to celebrate the child in you. Amidst all the seriousness and responsibility in our daily lives, making it a point to reconnect with your inner child reminds you of the playful, lighthearted side of life. Try celebrating life by taking yourself a little less seriously.
On this year’s Celebration of Life Day, give yourself permission to play, explore, be silly, and see the world with the curiosity and wonder of a child’s eyes. Take a break from grown-up responsibilities like paying bills or watching the news and read some funny jokes or play a board game with a loved one. Approaching life with a playful attitude can make all the difference.
Start a new hobby.
Our daily lists of things that need to get done often seem never-ending. At times, it can feel like the days are getting shorter and shorter. In the spirit of celebrating life, tack on one extra task that serves you and your wellbeing. This Celebration of Life Day, take the steps to start a new hobby that gives you an outlet to express yourself.
With so much on your plate, starting a new hobby can seem like just another thing you have to do. Instead, think of all the interesting things you wish you could do, but haven’t. Make this your year to actually do it. Whether it’s learning how to surf the web, taking a new class, or cooking new foods — whatever sparks your joy, do more of that.
Our Challenge To You
As one year ends and another one begins, we hope you remember to celebrate that the good far outweighs the bad in this one, short life we’re granted. We challenge you to make celebrating life a habit this year. Set apart a little extra time each day to practice gratitude and take note of all the reasons you have to celebrate your life.