Tips for Men's Health Week 2021
It’s Men’s Health Week 2021 (14-20th June)!
Perhaps that makes you think of all things green, lean, and heavy to lift…. but just as you look at tips to improve your physical health, you should look to prioritise your mental health as well.
1 in three men in the UK has experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of stress. Suicide rates are higher in Northern Ireland than all of the Uk, with Men being the worst affected. In fact, suicide is the leading killer of men under 50 in Northern Ireland.
Many men would admit that they struggle to talk about what is going on inside their minds and that they find it difficult to communicate how they are feeling and why. This is worsened by the fact that there are still negative connotations attached to the topic of mental wellbeing, and many people feel too embarrassed to admit they need help in this area in their lives.
At AWARE we work every day to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic of mental health so that more people will feel encouraged to access the support services that are available in Northern Ireland. One of the ways we do this is by opening up our platforms to share people’s personal stories and journey’s with mental health so that they can be read by those members of the public that needed to hear that they are not alone in what they are going through. The more people who find the courage to come forward to share their story with mental health, the less fear there will be in others admitting that they too experience this and would like to access support. It is a powerful movement! For Men’s Health Week we are platforming both Stuart and Chris’s stories - keep an eye out for these, read and share!
If you would like more information on the support services that AWARE offers then please visit our www.aware-ni.org/lets-talk Or if you have a story that you would love to share to encourage other men in their journey then please email email@example.com.
Tips for MEN this week:
Sometimes with working full time, or balancing work with family life it can be hard to take time to consider adding in activities that are good for your mental health. But as it is Men’s Health Week why not use this week to start introducing healthy practices into your routine. Such as these tips below:
- Call a male friend or a family member to check in on how they are doing. Ask them open ended questions that will not result in a ‘yes’ ‘fine’ or ‘no’ answer. This could allow space for a more in depth conversation and a closer relationship to be formed. For example “How was your weekend?” could be changed to “What all did you get up to this weekend?” If you sense they are not ok, or if you yourself feel like you are not ok, then offer to go for a walk with them to get outside and to meet in person. Sometimes a powerful question to ask or be asked is “How are you, really?” as we often don’t tell each other the truth when asked the first time around. This can encourage someone to open up if something is going on. Connecting with a friend in this way, being there for each other, can really help. The first and most important step to take towards better mental health is to be honest with both ourselves and those around us about how we really feel.
- Is there an activity you used to really enjoy doing but haven’t found the time to take part in anymore? Such as five-a-side football, golf, going for a jog or even walk the dog by the sea? Could anything be moved from your diary this week to make this a prioritised activity in your life again? Perhaps asking your partner is there anything they would like to do this week as well so that you both can take it in turns to put the kids to bed and get out to your selected activity. Being active produces endorphins which is the ‘feel good’ hormone that adds to positive mental health. Why not double up with point one and make it a social activity as well if you wish?
- Keep stretching your mind. No matter what age you are it is the perfect age to keep learning more. Perhaps instead of playing FIFA this week, or binge-watching that TV show, why not take an hour a night to read that book you enjoyed but never finished, or try an ambitious recipe from a cookery book, or watch YouTube videos and build a bench out your back garden? Keep on adding to your list of skillsets and knowledge and find things to be proud of yourself for! AWARE offers lots of interactive courses and programmes to help you improve your mental health and wellbeing. Why not sign up to one? Click here to find out more.
- There are times we can feel in a bit of rut in life when we feel we don’t tend to enjoy life as much as we used to. If you feel like that, then start to allow yourself the time to pause and take notice of the things that make you happy. Make a mental note of them in your mind and reflect on them later. For example, your child’s laughter when you play with them, that plant that you water every day and is now looking healthy again, holding your partners hand and going for a walk together. Really take notice of the things that make you smile and think about them often. This is a mindfulness practice and can be hugely beneficial for our mental health. If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness practice, AWARE Board Member and Life Coach Helen McDonnell is offering free drop-in sessions. Click here to find out more.
- There are seasons in our life where we can perhaps feel like we don’t have much to offer to others. Perhaps we are tired from work, family life or from an illness, and we don’t feel like we have the energy to be there for others. But being there for someone else can make you feel energised and sometimes it doesn’t require much effort at all. Perhaps it could be volunteering for a charity, or dropping off groceries to someone you know needs them, or simply even calling a friend to ask them out for a coffee when you know they are feeling lonely and going through a tough time. Helping out others helps both you and them feel better and is extremely good for your mental health.
We hope that these tips have helped you this week and are things you could include into your daily routine more long-term!
If you feel like you are in urgent need of help then please contact one of the emergency helplines below:
LifeLine (0808 808 8000)
Samaritans (116 123)Tags: anxiety | AWARE | bipolar | depression | health | Mens health week | mens health week 2021 | mental health | northern ireland | tips for mental health