Celebrations are important because they give people a reprieve from the stresses and mundanities of life. A celebration can take the form of a party, a trip away, a special meal, engaging in a fun event or anything else that is enjoyable and helps people to take a step back and enjoy the moment.
As someone who studies how people work, I view celebrations to be very important from an occupational standpoint. The importance of taking time away from work is illustrated in one of my favorite animated films, “The Princess and the Frog.” In the movie, Tiana’s life’s goal is to open a restaurant, and she works incredibly hard to meet this goal. But she is so focused and determined that she never slows down to have fun. She is so consumed with work that she’s never even taken the time to dance!
Luckily, by the end of the movie, not only does Tiana achieve her dream, she also is able to let herself finally have fun and dance. Like Tiana, we must learn that there is a balance between having fun and the day-to-day activities that life throws at us (such as working).
Of course, some people, including myself, have found celebrating to be hard during the pandemic for a variety of reasons. With many individuals still working from home, it can be tough to hide gifts or even find the time to decorate for a family member’s birthday celebration. For example, this month I’ll be having a “milestone” birthday (I won’t say how old I’ll be, though several readers likely already know or could figure it out), but my celebration won’t exactly be like I would have imagined pre-pandemic. Before the pandemic, I envisioned myself going somewhere warm with my extended family, but doing so still seems unfeasible for me at this time. However, in many ways, a celebration at home will be just as good because I am looking forward to having some cake and being with family while relaxing in my own space. Regardless of the circumstances, we must make time to celebrate accomplishments and life’s important moments.
We need those breaks, in part, because we need to connect with others. In organizations, we sometimes see that celebrating can increase organizational effectiveness because people come back to work recharged. In many instances, they even discuss work during those celebrations. Sometimes, new and innovative ideas that are beneficial to an organization are discussed during these celebratory events.
It’s also important that we celebrate whenever any major (or even minor) milestone or commemorative event occurs, no matter how busy we might be. For example, I am so grateful that we got to celebrate my grandmother’s 94th birthday this August because she sadly passed away just over a week later. You never know when it will be too late to celebrate, so make it count now.
However, there is a bit of a caveat that I must address: knowing when to come back from our celebrations is just as important as knowing when to get back to work! Take, for example, the Super Bowl. It’s an event that’s widely considered kind of celebration, as many people throughout the US gather to watch the game (and commercials), and Super Bowl parties are big deals. Yet, in 2020, it was estimated that over 17 million US workers called in absent from work the day following the Super Bowl, seemingly because they celebrated too hard (Goodwin, 2020). So, while celebrations are good and necessary, we also must eventually resume our lives and return to normalcy; we must not let them interfere with our other duties and obligations.
Of course, we will soon encounter a time of the year filled with many reasons to celebrate. With the holiday season kicking off with Thanksgiving later this month and Christmas and New Years following soon after, I hope that you all find the time to celebrate in a safe and fun way and can return to work refreshed and recharged to start the new year. Enjoy yourself, and stay healthy, everyone!
I’m interested in what events or milestones you like to celebrate and how you observe them. Comment below to tell me about your celebrations, email me at email@example.com or reach out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Dr. Mike Urick
Goodwin, J. (2020). “Super Bowl Fever:” Millions of employees expect to ditch work Monday, survey finds. USA Today. January 29.