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Men’s Mental Health: The Problem
One of the most important things for me in participating in Movember is that it not only focuses on physical health, but men’s mental health as well. Look back at my old blog HERE for how I got started with Movember.
Unfortunately, most Men don’t deal with their mental health well. There is a stigma behind opening up and sharing, as if it’s not “manly”. This leads many men to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking alcohol, doing drugs, overworking, or other escapist behaviours.
The unfortunate reality is that roughly 3,000 Canadian men take their lives on a yearly basis. Of course, this is just an estimate, and doesn’t factor in how self-destructive behaviours can contribute to other incidents or illnesses.
Personally, I’ve had my own struggles with mental health. Quick story time…
Back in 2014 I was riding a high. I recently became a General Manager of my own personal training studio, I had just moved to Edmonton (the big city to me), and I was in a great relationship. Life was going very well!
Within just a few short months however, I was miserable. I had no idea why I felt the way I did. I had reached my goals, and still felt awful. I began to self-destruct. I sabotaged my own relationship, I let work consume my life, and felt my life spiraling out of control.
I’m fortunate enough to have come out of that, and realized what was happening before it was too late.
Through some self-discovery, I realized that my stress levels were through the roof, and I wasn’t coping with it well outside of exercise. I wasn’t sleeping much, I was drinking a lot, and I didn’t have much of a social life outside of my girlfriend at the time. I can tell you that you can’t out exercise your emotions…
I started to take action to establish better routines for myself, and got back into playing basketball again in a rec league for a weekly social activity.
Now I know how important it is to take care of yourself – not just physically, but emotionally, mentally, and socially as well. I am by no means an expert at the subject, and if you do find yourself where you are struggling with these aspects, I highly recommend seeing a therapist to help you out.
However, I want to help with some different strategies for dealing with these types of stress to help with your mental health. I could list a hundred things here, but I’m going to focus on some of the ways that helped me and some of my clients along the way.
1) Eat quality foods
We are what we eat, and the food we consume can affect our mental wellbeing both psychologically and physiologically. Eating high quality, nutrient foods that help our body reduce inflammation can be a wonderful way to help us feel better. This can help us have more energy and feel more confident. Reducing alcohol consumption can do wonders for our mental and physical well-being too.
2) Get outside
Connecting with nature can be relaxing in many ways, but can also help organize our thoughts. With so many distractions and stimulations in the world right now it can be hard to not feel scattered. Getting outside for a walk can be a great way to break free of that and clear your mind while also getting vitamin D, some low stress exercise, and some fresh air.
It might sound silly, but journaling can be an amazing way to confront yourself. Whether you need to vent, you want to celebrate personal wins, or you want to dig deeper into why you feel certain ways about different situations, journaling can help. Personally, journaling has helped me tackle a lot of my insecurities, let go of bitter feelings towards people from my past, and talk myself down when life is feeling overwhelming. I highly recommend reading “Think Like A Monk” by Jay Shetty for some great writing prompts to help illuminate some limiting self-beliefs.
4) Learn To Relax
Stress is all around us these days. Pressures are all around us to work harder, be better, look a certain way, or make more money. These stresses can play a harmful game on our mindset, and our body. Finding ways to relax your body and mind can be extremely beneficial to your mental well-being. Taking a bath, doing some stretching/yoga, or finding a creative outlet like painting, writing, or music, or allowing yourself time to read can all help us relax from the stresses of life.
5) Get Social
Talking with a family member or friend can be one of the best ways to manage your stress. It can be tough to open up, but doing so can make a world of difference. You want to make sure you’re opening up to the right people (a whole other article in itself), and ask someone if it’s okay for you to open up to them before just venting.
Also ask yourself, are you looking for advice? Are you looking to vent? Or are you looking to problem solve together? Communicate this to the person you’re chatting with, and it can make this conversation easier for both of you.
Realistically though, you don’t need to have deep intricate conversations every time you’re with your social circle. Getting out for a walk together, playing some hoops, or going to do a common-interest activity can be a great way to relieve stress, and help people feel like they’re not alone.
Remember, stress is a normal part of life, but we want to have plans in place to manage it so we can keep our mental health in a good place.
My big recommendation is to brainstorm the ways that you like to de-stress, or help you feel better when you’re feeling down. Make a list of these actions – maybe it’s reading a book, going for a walk, talking to your dad, playing a sport, or having a bath. Have this list written up and put in a prominent place like your fridge.
If you need further resources for help with your mental health – please CLICK HERE
I hope you found these tips valuable, if you want to help contribute to Movember to help with Men’s Mental Health Initiatives donate here: https://movember.com/m/rshill
Live Life To The Fullest With RK Athletics
Rich, RK Athletics Owner