In Australia alone, 2000 men take their own lives every year by suicide. Between the ages of 18-50, the most common cause of death is suicide. These are huge and shocking numbers that could be prevented should we all understand that asking for help is not a failure but hope.
Your life matters
There is nothing embarrassing about talking about mental health. We are all affected by it in some form or another. The stigma that men should be masculine, man up, and not share is bullshit, we deserve to be heard no matter the situation. Below we have highlighted some tried and tested methods we have discovered ourselves that play a huge role in aiding our mental health.
Our bodies can hold and store a lot of stress, a great way to reduce that stress is to get the body moving. The endorphins will flow and hopefully, your mood will also be lifted. If you have a favourite sport take time out of your life to invest in that sport, even if that means taking time off work! If you don’t have a favourite sport and don’t know where to start? Just run! Buy some new running shoes so you have invested in yourself to get out and run. Challenge yourself, you will be surprised by the results.
We have spoken about this a lot and for good reason. Setting aside time for yourself whether it be 5 minutes or 30 minutes have significant effects on your health and wellbeing. Don’t believe the bullshit of hums and ahh's, it's easier than that. Guided meditations on apps such as Insight Timer are as simple as headphones in, lie down, and breathe. Starting the day with meditation could really impact how you see the rest of the day.
3. Talk to someone
I’ve been in many situations where I have had to talk to someone about how I’m feeling, a partner, a parent, a friend, fuck it, even the dog. Just letting someone know how you’re feeling really feels like you have got a load off your chest! Most of the time when I express my feelings, that person also expresses their anxieties and worries and we talk them through together, helping one another. There is no shame to being honest with someone, relationships grow from deep honesty.
4. Admit burnout
It is easy to get burn out in this day and age. I am guilty of this. Last year I had burnout with my old job and told my manager I needed some time off. It was one of the best things I had ever done for my health and wellbeing while at work. No one will judge you for being honest about your performance at work, in fact, your boss will respect your honesty in addressing a serious situation. Remember this simple saying, I work to live, not live to work. Taking time off is natural and healthy.
5. Try something new
We can get stagnant as we grow older and stick to routines with little room for leeway. Over time we can lose that thrill/chase of trying something new because we tell ourselves we are ‘too old’ or that ‘we will suck’ at trying something new.
First, you are never too old to explore new hobbies, age should never be a reason to not pursue a new passion. Second, yes, you are going to suck at the new thing you try but ask yourself this, when did you ever try something for the first time and mastered it? You haven’t, you are supposed to suck. That’s where the thrill and excitement come from exploring and getting better at said new hobby.
6. Surround yourself with great company
Your social life plays a huge part in both how you act and how you feel. When you hang out with that guy who constantly makes you laugh it's near impossible to not walk away feeling elevated by their presence. Surround yourself with people who fucking inspire you and have genuine connections with. Plan time for your mates, it’s so important! Make dates in your calendar and do something together. Go to the pub or if you are cutting back or concerned about your drinking, go to the local bakery for lunch, haircut, climb a mountain, literally anything.
7.Cut back on social media
Social media is the pinnacle of today's stupidity. We can easily get sucked into the vortex or scrolling aimlessly through social media and drowning in FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Social media is a waste of time and endless to keep you scrolling. Cut back on social media the same way you would on sugar, in small amounts. If you can delete apps then great, the distraction is gone. If you can’t, most phones settings allow timers so allow yourself 30 minutes of social media a day.
I am no dietician, but there is a clear link between what we eat and how we feel. We learnt this in school. Consume a poor diet and your health and wellbeing will suffer. Change how you eat/drink and you will feel the difference. I am not saying turn your diet upside down and eat nothing but whole foods, that is setting you up for failure.
Small steps have a big difference, try a smoothie for breakfast, limit takeaway to once a week, drink water, and slowly implement more changes that you feel could benefit your health. Unsure where to start? I highly recommend This Is Not A Diet Book by James Smith, this guy is knowledgeable and has a well-centred approach to both exercise and nutrition.
Hopefully, this article may have given you some suggestions in looking after yourself. There’s no one size fits all, and as individuals, we have our own rituals/routines that bring us comfort and joy. It’s important to speak up should you really find yourself struggling, don’t suffer in silence. As always, look after yourself and check-in with one another, not just during Movember but all year round.
*These suggestions are not to be taken as medical advice, nor are we, medical professionals. These are some suggestions to bring to your attention. If you feel suicidal and need some help, call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 and HopeLine UK on 0800 068 4141.