The most recent celebrity apparent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were terribly sad and had me wondering about their lives that seemed perfect in many ways. They both had young daughters, extraordinary wealth and access to travel and powerful acquaintances that most of us will never experience. What would drive them to decide life was no longer worth living and their loved ones would be better off without them? We’ll probably never know.
I listened to a newscast about Kate Spade. She had sold 53% of her company to Neiman Marcus in 2006. That was 12 years ago. So from that moment, I’m assuming she no longer had control of her company and her brand. She had to answer to others. In many ways, that can bring a lot of security, but it also stifles your creativity. Supposedly, she had battled deep depression for 6 years.
I’m not a doctor and I know nothing really about Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain. I just can’t help but wonder about them moving away from their true passions that made them famous in the first place, hers, creating fabulous designs, and his, creating fabulous food, took away their purpose and creativity. She went on to create other brands and he went on to do other jobs with food, but maybe it just didn’t have the same joy as their initial projects.
What can we take away as a lesson for ourselves?
- Don’t go through life on autopilot. Many of us get up, get the kids off to school, go to work, come home exhausted, cook dinner, go to bed and do it all over again. We stifle our creativity and we don’t take the time for real joy. Instead: Be conscious of the joyful things in your life. Create joyful times if you need to. Be present with the ones you love instead of spending time watching TV or attached to your phone.
- Find something to be passionate about. Think back to when you were a kid. What did you love to do? Paint, play sports, swim, acting? Whatever it was, find a way to do it in your grown-up life. It may look a little different, but you can enjoy it again. It could also be a new hobby. Maybe you liked to paint when you were younger, but now you like to refurbish a great furniture piece.
- Be in service to others. If you think about it, depression is really just being focused on yourself and how you are feeling. If you take that energy and give to someone less fortunate, it can really help lift your mood. Volunteer at a shelter, help out at church functions, deliver food to the elderly, or volunteer at a school. There are so many ways to help other people.
- Feed your mind with things that inspire you. Limit the amount of time you spend watching the news. There is mostly negativity reported there. Instead, read something that inspires you, find stories on social media that are uplifting and comment on posts that bring joy. Facebook shows you more of the posts that you interact with, so ignore those “friends” that are always complaining and going on political rants. Like and comment on the posts that share valuable, uplifting information or stories. When you read a book, find something that helps you be the best version of you. Bring the things in your world that make you feel happier.
- Have a gratitude journal. Write down all the things that you are grateful for, including the small things that you often take for granted. The person that let you go ahead in line, the quarter you found on the sidewalk, the lunch you shared with your loved one, or the rainbow you saw on your way home from work. These small things add up to a wonderful day.
- Take care of your body. Overall health determines overall happiness. You can’t feel good about yourself if you are drained of energy or feel sick. Eat whole, real foods and exercise regularly. Reduce stress and practice mindfulness.
- Connect to a higher power. Those who have trust in a higher power and look to that higher power in times of distress, are much happier overall and have a sense of purpose in their lives.