If one speck of gold could be salvaged from the Great Garbage Fire that was 2020-2021 and the empty months accumulating on the calendar in which Covid-enforced lockdown came to govern our every waking hour, it was an assessment of our lifestyles. As offices closed and we traded a desk for a home living space, we came to be confronted with a startling reality: health is wealth. And when it comes to health, it encompasses far more than just those physical gains perceived in the reflection of the gym mirror.
Rather, in the pause afforded to us by a world gripped by a pandemic, we came to see just how much we’d neglected those facets of health that are so important. In what felt like the first time for many, conversations of mental and emotional health were pushed into the mainstream and we found ourselves opening up to friends and colleagues alike about just how tough we were finding not only present circumstances, but those we had been operating under for some time. Things like burn-out became a term that wasn’t just thrown around but also paid due attention to. Lunch hours were to be respected and physical activity and daily movement came to be sacred.
As the world slowly began to open up, these conversations have all but been pushed to the sidelines once again and for many, it’s been a return to the daily grind where the phrase “I’m too busy” is worn like a badge of honour. But for others, lockdown afforded an opportunity to reassess and enact change. But if you thought you were alone in such feelings, it turns out that even celebrities aren’t immune.
Back in June of 2022, a powerful statement posted to Shawn Mendes’ Instagram stories saw the singer announce that he would not be continuing his Wonder: The World tour. Mendes instead revealed that he would be taking a break from performing and touring life in order to prioritise his mental health.
Mendes wrote: “This breaks my heart to have to say this, but unfortunately I’m going to have to postpone the next three weeks of shows through Uncasville, CT until further notice.” He went on to explain that he has been struggling with the demands of touring throughout his extensive career and finally has “hit a breaking point.”
“I’ve been touring since I was 15 and, to be honest, it’s always difficult to be on the road away from friends,” wrote Mendes.
In a recent interview, Mendes has since opened up about how he navigated the last few months, particularly when it comes to honouring his mental health while still feeling the weight of fans’ disappointment at news of the world tour cancellation. Speaking to Wall Street Journal, the singer explained, “The process was very difficult. A lot of doing therapy, a lot of trying to understand how I was feeling and what was making me feel that way. And then doing the work to help myself and heal. And also leaning on people in my life to help a little bit.”
Mendes added, “It’s been a lot of work, but I think the last year and a half has been the most eye-opening and growing and beautiful and just healing process of my life. I’m also really grateful for all the people that were so accepting and loving and kind and understanding.”
“It just really made me see how culture is really starting to get to a place where mental health is really becoming a priority.”
It’s a powerful message that stresses the importance of mental health and ensuring such conversations continue to be had. Not surprisingly, it’s also one that resonates. After revealing the initial tour cancellation, fans were quick to applaud Mendes for coming forward, while also wishing him nothing but the best. “Many prayers you return to your full self when you are ready. Again, when YOU are ready,” wrote one follower. Another added, “It’s very smart to set these boundaries for yourself when you are young. Good for you!”