“Moving forward, I want to put my energy into my music and my advocacy work.”

By Allie Strickler
Updated September 10, 2020
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John Shearer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

There’s no question that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a spike in mental health issues, including anxiety and grief. But Demi Lovato is reflecting on the ways in which this health crisis has actually improved her mental and emotional wellbeing.

In a new essay for Vogue, Lovato shared that, like many people, her anxiety “skyrocketed” at the beginning of the pandemic. “I was suddenly confronted with all these questions: ‘When are we going to go back to work?’ ‘Are more people going to have to die?’ ‘How bad is this going to get?’” the singer wrote. “Everything was so suddenly out of my control and not just for me individually, but for us as a global community.”

But quarantining for COVID-19 also led Lovato to ask herself important questions about her mental health, she continued. “I started to ask myself questions: ‘What’s important to me?’ ‘What’s going to get me through this?’ ‘How can I remain positive?’” wrote Lovato. “I knew that I wanted to learn something from this time that could actually better my life, my mental health, and my emotional wellbeing in the long term.” (Related: How Quarantine Can Potentially Impact Your Mental Health — for the Better)

In seeking answers to these questions, Lovato said she found herself embracing mental health practices such as meditation, yoga, journaling, painting, and spending time in nature.

In her Vogue essay, she credited her fiancé, Max Ehrich for helping her stick with these practices, but Lovato also clearly had the intrinsic motivation to commit to the work. For instance, when she started having a tough time falling asleep during quarantine as a result of her anxiety, she “got into the habit of doing a nighttime ritual” for her mental health, she wrote. “Now I light my candles, put on an affirmation meditation tape, I stretch, and I have essential oils,” she shared. “Finally, I’m able to fall asleep easily.” (More here: Demi Lovato Says These Meditations Feel “Like a Giant Warm Blanket”)

Establishing these rituals and practices hasn’t just benefited Lovato’s mental wellbeing. In her Vogue essay, she opened up about 2020 being a “year of growth” for her advocacy work as well.

“There has never been a more crucial time to spread awareness about issues that matter,” including not just mental health, but also the Black Lives Matter movement, wrote Lovato. “Having so much downtime during quarantine has given me the space to realize there’s so much more I could be doing to help other people,” shared the singer.

While Lovato said she hasn’t attended Black Lives Matter protests because of asthma and other health issues that put her at an increased risk for COVID-19 complications, she’s been finding other ways to use her platform and raise awareness. Nearly every day, she shares actionable ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement, from calling local representatives and law enforcement officials about racial injustice to registering to vote to effect meaningful, systemic change.

Lovato also recently partnered with the activism platform, Propeller to auction off a collection of items from her closet to benefit multiple causes, including the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19 relief efforts. From July to August, fans earned bidding points for the auction by completing different social actions each week, such as signing petitions, donating to Black Lives Matter organizations, and pledging to vote. (Related: This Company Is Making Affordable Medical-Grade Masks to Benefit Social Justice Efforts)

In her Vogue essay, Lovato said the downtime during quarantine, including the renewed focus on her mental health, allowed her to gain a better perspective on how to be a supportive ally to the Black community. (Related: Why It’s Okay to Enjoy Quarantine Sometimes — and How to Stop Feeling Guilty for It)

“After taking some time to educate myself, what I’ve learned is that to be a good ally, you need to be willing to protect people at all costs,” she wrote. “You have to step in if you see something happening that’s not right: a racist act, a racist comment, a racist joke.”

That said, Lovato knows that she — and the rest of the world, for that matter — have a long way to go in effecting systemic change, she continued. “When it comes to advocacy work, when it comes to implementing change in society, there’s always room for improvement,” she wrote. “I wish I knew all the answers, but I know that I don’t. What I do know is that inclusivity is important. Creating environments where women, people of color, and trans people feel safe is important. Not just safe, but equal to their cis, white, male counterparts.” (Related: Why Wellness Pros Need to Be Part of the Conversation About Racism)

As part of her advocacy for mental health awareness, Lovato recently partnered with the online therapy platform Talkspace to help inspire people to take action in support of their mental health.

"It's important for me to use my voice and platform in a meaningful way," Lovato said of the partnership. "My journey to becoming an advocate has not been easy, but I am glad that I can help people out there struggling gain access to resources that could help to improve or even save lives."

“Moving forward, I want to put my energy into my music and my advocacy work,” Lovato wrote in her Vogue essay. “I want to continue to strive to be a better person. I want to inspire people in many different ways to do the same. Above all, I want to leave the world a better place than when I got here.”

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