First, we need to raise awareness
In April 2018, Tim Bergling died. Don't know who that is? He was better known as Avicii, the Electronic Dance Music Superstar. To be honest with you, I didn't know a thing about him until he was found dead during his holiday in Oman.
But all the news and public grieving about his death made me wonder: "Who was this guy?" I watched the documentary about his rise to fame and his subsequently stressful lifestyle. It was a portrait of a really shy, introverted and innocent young Swedish guy, who didn't fit into the music industry. Unfortunately, it was pulled from Netflix since. Here's the trailer (at least).
Health issues, depression, anxiety & burnout
His long-time friend and videographer Levan Tsikurishvili documented his life for 4 years. The outcome left me utterly speechless and profoundly sad. The documentary shows Tims' deep struggles, battling seriously troubling health issues and trying to overcome his panic attacks and anxiety, that he'd get while performing live on stage. Nonetheless, his management pushed him mercilessly, although it was clearly visible, that Tim couldn't go on like that anymore. He performed 813 shows within eight years (that's on average one gig every 3.5 days!!!), until he finally decided to part ways with his management and retire at age 26 to focus solely on producing music. This was in 2016.
It seems that his decision came too late. His family published a statement shortly after his death, which implies that Tim took his own life:
"Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions. When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most - music. He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace...Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed."
May his soul rest in peace.
Other tragedies happened only a few months later: In June 2018, Kate Spade committed suicide, and only a few days later, Anthony Bourdain, the famous travel documentarian and celebrity chef took his own life as well. It is said, that both were struggling with mental health problems.
Why our personal well-being needs to be a priority
I'm aware that those seem like extreme examples. And that the majority of people struggling with their own demons day in and day out are not famous but our neighbors, strangers on the streets, colleagues, friends, and loved ones. Those examples simply show in the most heartbreaking way, that we really need to choose ourselves first to be truly happy (success, money, fame won't do the job).
If we don't make that choice, other people will decide our lives for us. If we don't focus on our personal well-being and make that a priority, if we don't take care of ourselves, but sacrifice our lives for other people's well-being/ success/ happiness, we won't be able to go on like that without facing serious issues. At one point, we will burn out. At one point, our mental health will suffer so much, that our inner demons will take the reins.
It's important to raise awareness about and to understand mental health problems better in today's society. This post by the ADAA (Anxiety & Depression Association of America) is a good start for educating oneself. Someone close to you, or maybe even you, might be struggling and might need help. Don't hesitate to ask for any kind of support - and if something doesn't feel right, don't hesitate to ask your friend/ sister/ father/ or even the devastated stranger crying her eyes out, if you can help them in any way. If you are concerned, that someone close to you is at risk of committing suicide, please read this article about prevention methods by the ADAA and take action.
Often, talking about problems with someone helps a ton and lifts the burden of ones shoulders - at least momentarily. In the end, it is hard work to get out of the funk and the darkness. But nobody has to do it on her/ his own; we're not alone in this. There's no shame in reaching out and to ask for help. There's no shame in admitting that life is overwhelming or too much sometimes.
We're actually doing our society a disservice by neglecting our needs, because we cannot function properly in a state where we suffer, no matter if physically or emotionally. Only if we take care of our body, health, mind and feelings first, only then we're able to help others in the long-term. It might sound selfish, but it's far away from that. So here's to choosing yourself first! Wondering where to start? One way to do that, is to set healthy boundaries.
This week's list full of thought provoking inspiration to read, listen to, watch and create is about "choosing yourself first".
- Read this: Choose Yourself First by Jamelle Sanders. Really great and honest post of the Thrive Global Community by Arianna Huffington about making yourself a priority. The author also features 4 practical steps you can take right away to implement self-care into your daily life.
- Listen to this: In honor of this modern day music genius, here are two tracks I LOVE, that Tim Bergling aka Avicii produced for Coldplay (which I didn't know until I watched the documentary): 'Hymn For The Weekend' with some stunning vocals from Queen Bey & 'Sky Full Of Stars'.
- Watch this: Choose Yourself! by James Altucher. This one is a hilarious yet wise TEDx Talk. James speaks about his personal life and how not choosing himself drove him into some depressing moments. He also shares with the viewer five mind shifts, that helped him to get back on track (about 12 minutes long).
- Create this: Creamy Butternut Squash Carrot Coconut Soup. It's been a while since I've shared one of my plant-based recipes with you. This soup is amazing! I especially love it, because it helps me not getting a cold every time I fear that I'm about to get one. I really hope you enjoy the recipe, this soup is quite simple to make. All together it takes about an hour until it is ready to eat.
Are you choosing yourself first regularly or is that an area in life that could use some improvement? What's your opinion on that?
If you’re looking for practical ways on how to be more mindful in your daily life, I’ve put together what I call ‘The ultimate beginner’s guide to a mindful lifestyle’ incl. a 30 day planner to keep track on your habits. And the best part? You can download it for free now!