When was the last time you celebrated something? Big or small – it doesn’t matter.  

Birthdays, religious and cultural holidays, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, even National Tell an Old Joke Day (It’s a thing.  Really.  July 24th!). If there is one lesson last year’s lockdown taught us, it’s that taking time to celebrate – within our homes, our communities and even in our workplaces – is not just fun, but indeed, critical to our overall health and well-being.  

According to author and social psychologist Dr. Fred Bryant, stopping to enjoy and celebrate the good things in our lives enables us to build resilience to stress and can help us better manage the daily challenges that can cause it.  

Think about how celebrating something or someone makes you feel.  When I asked my clients this question, their responses included happy, joyful, free, unstressed, relaxed. Personally, I love a celebration. The notion of taking time out to recognize and enjoy a tradition, an accomplishment, or even just a moment, enables us to weave so much pleasure and appreciation into the fabric of our busy lives.  

Yet, from my perspective as a coach to high achieving women, there is another aspect to celebrating that we don’t often consider: How often do you celebrate YOU? When I posed this question to my clients, the replies included: “Almost never.” “It makes me uncomfortable.” “I don’t know how to talk about my accomplishments without sounding like I’m bragging.” “It’s more natural for me to celebrate my friends and family.”  

Titi Shodiya and Zakiya Whatley, scientists and founders of the Spotify podcast, Dope Labs, say, “Celebration is actually a necessary act of self-care”.  I say celebrating ourselves is a necessary act of self care, and something that we, as women, need to do more often!  

The social desire to share our good news with others is a process known as capitalization. The person(s) to whom we tell our news are the responders.  (Peters, et al,. 2018).  The positive outcomes are equally beneficial no matter which role you play in this process.  In other words, sharing good news leads to mutual feeling of elation which enhances both the capitalizer’s and the responder’s sense of positivity. 

Think about how great you feel when you achieve even a small step along your way to a bigger goal – maybe its losing the first 3 pounds when your goal is to lose 10 or you landed an interview for a great job or a meeting with a potential client.  You haven’t lost all the weight, gotten the job or brought in the new business – yet.  But you’ve achieved the first steps toward your bigger goals.  And you know how great that feels.  It’s amazing and you’re elated!  

When you share that incremental success with those around you, your excitement creates a positivity cycle that benefits you and everyone around you.  When you are in a positive zone, you think more clearly, act more confidently, and make better decisions. In essence, you are empowered to show up as your best. 

Enjoy the summer! Invest in yourself.  Celebrate your successes, however big or small and take that highly necessary act of self care.  A better you makes everyone around you better, too.