“It’s not your responsibility to try to make the whole world happy.”
For some, the holiday season offers a much-needed break — from school, from work, from stress. But for others, it’s not so simple; often the holidays can bring with them added pressures that can be difficult to manage, especially for those who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses.
That’s the message of an op-ed penned in TIME magazine by singer Kesha, who offers concrete suggestions on how to survive the holidays.
“It’s not your responsibility to try to make the whole world happy,” the singer writes. “It’s just another day — don’t put unrealistic expectations on it, and don’t beat yourself up.”
In the past few months, Kesha has been outspoken about her struggle with mental illness. She wrote an op-ed in Lenny, where she admitted that she had been “really, truly depressed” over the course of the past four years.
Her single, “Praying,” considers the relationship between mental illness and sexual assault.
She’s not the only celebrity who has spoken out about mental illness. Other celebs who have been vocal on the topic include Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga, and JK Rowling.
It’s estimated that roughly one in five Americans suffers from mental illness each year, according to statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Worldwide, that number is one in four.
Global Citizen advocates for the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, including goal number two: good health and well-being. You can take action on this issue here.
While it’s often said that depression can rise during the holidays, suicide rates are actually at their lowest during the months of November, December, and January, according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH).
That doesn’t mean the holidays can’t be a stressful — and sad — time for many. Seasonal affective disorder affects about 5% of the population, according to Mental Health America.
“In so many ways, the holidays can throw you off your game — and that can shake you,” Kesha writes. “When you have a routine, it’s easier to manage whatever mental struggles you may be faced with, and when that routine is broken, it can trigger things you may not be ready to face.”
The singer suggested several self-care routines that could help break the cycle, including taking walks in nature, talking to friends, and making sure to find personal time amidst the holiday hubbub.
“Trying to spend all of your time pleasing everyone else is not only exhausting — it’s impossible,” she wrote. “And you know what? If you take a little time for yourself, you will actually be much better company for those around you.”
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