10 Things to Do on Your Birthday Alone

Spending your birthday alone might leave you feeling lonely. Birthdays are generally fun when you are a child. As you grow older, birthdays become a nuisance for some in that they are a reminder that you are getting older. For people who live with social anxiety disorder (SAD), they can also be a reminder of the difficulty that you have with social situations.

On the other hand, if you've never enjoyed birthdays, this day of the year may bring back bad memories. As a way of starting a new tradition, even if you find yourself alone on your birthday this year, try to make it a special day. If you start planning now, you will find it is not that hard. There are lots of possibilities.

What to do when you're alone on your birthday
Verywell / Nusha Ashjaee

Start Fresh

Use this opportunity to start fresh in some area of your life. Go the traditional route and do a makeover on your outside. That might mean a new haircut, new outfit, or even something a little riskier like a tattoo. Choose styles that give you confidence and a new outlook.

Or, go the less traditional route, and treat yourself to an internal makeover. Read a self-improvement book, take a workshop, or start writing in a journal. Read books to work on coping with social anxiety so that you will not be alone on future birthdays.

Create Something

Even if no one is coming over, you can still have a birthday cake. If you're not into baking, buy a store-made version. However, if you really want to enjoy your day, don't take this shortcut. Take your time and enjoy the process of baking a cake.

Feel proud of what you have accomplished. Share leftovers with a neighbor and consider it an opportunity to make a new friend.

Be Generous Toward Yourself

If you aren't expecting anyone to give you gifts, treat yourself to something new. Choose a gift that might help you with your social anxiety, such as chamomile tea, or buy an item for your home or bedroom to spruce it up.

Exercise Outdoors

Exercise helps to clear your mind, and being outside gives you a chance to connect with nature. Get outside and go for a hike, a walk around your neighborhood, or a stroll along the beach (if you are so lucky to live near one).

Feel proud about spending your birthday out of the house and being proactive about your physical and mental health.

Take in a Movie

Treat yourself to a night out at the movies even if you will be going alone. Lift your spirits with a comedy. Go at a time when you know the theater is likely to be full. Laugh out loud and don't worry what others think. Consider it a behavioral experiment to see whether people are really paying as much attention to you as you think that they are.

Volunteer Your Time

Consider offering your services as a volunteer. Spend time chatting with people at a retirement or nursing home, or offer to walk dogs at an animal shelter. You might even make new friends and become a regular volunteer.

This is a perfect way to challenge your social anxiety and build social skills. Be sure to call in advance to learn about any requirements prior to helping out.

Read a Book

Your birthday is the perfect time to sit down with a book you've been dying to read. Start that novel or non-fiction book you have had on your list. Curl up with a good book and you might be surprised how quickly the day passes.

You could even read a self-help book or try an online therapy program to work on overcoming your social anxiety.

Go About Your Routine

Make your birthday just like any other day. Go about your usual routine. Don't mention to anyone that it is your birthday. This strategy works best if you are not much into birthday celebrations anyway.

Plan a Party for Next Year

Start thinking about next year if you don't want to be alone on your birthday again. Are there relatives you could visit or friends that you could invite over for dinner? Take the year to make new connections so that you don't find yourself alone again this time next year.

Be Appreciative

Birthdays are a reminder of how much time has passed and potentially how much time we have left. Take the time to appreciate the positive things in your life, even if you are alone on your birthday.

If you have a roof over your head, food on the table, access to education, and running water, you are actually ahead of a good portion of the world's population. Over time, this type of gratitude will become a habit and will serve you well in improving all aspects of your life.

A Word From Verywell

Occasionally finding yourself alone on your birthday should not be cause for concern. However, if this pattern repeats every year, and it is distressing for you, consider whether reaching out for help might be a better option. If severe social anxiety prevents you from making and keeping friends, treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication may help.

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2 Sources
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  2. Goldin PR, Ziv M, Jazaieri H, Hahn K, Heimberg R, Gross JJ. Impact of cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety disorder on the neural dynamics of cognitive reappraisal of negative self-beliefs: Randomized clinical trialJAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(10):1048-1056. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.234