A Message to Men, ‘It’s okay to not be okay’.
ExploringModern Man’s Mental Health and Wellbeing
‘Men don’t show weakness!’
‘Big Boys don’t cry!’
Some men may have heard these terms growing and even in the modern day, these terms continue to get thrown around in the media. But what truly makes a man “a man”?
Men are often told that they need to be Alpha Males with a clear emphasis on being dominant, powerful, strong, and protective, in charge, the breadwinner, the provider.
Men are often told to ‘hide their feelings’ as to not show weakness. Men may feel that if they show any signs of ‘weakness’ that there may be a potential that love interests will not see them as being potential mates if they do not fit this definition of masculinity or the traditional role of a man.
Emotions are traditionally stereotyped as being a ‘feminine trait’ in which men would rather avoid emotions than face them head-on. But does showing emotions make a man less than a man? Or does it show that men are capable of expressing that they are comfortable enough in themselves to demonstrate emotional availability and vulnerability?
Since the annual ‘Movember Movement’ across the world, there are appears to more awareness being raised about tackling the issues of men’s mental wellbeing. There is no denying that a stigma exists which suggests that men have more difficulty opening up about their own struggles in comparison to women. Just from speaking to the men I know, it appears that they are still faced with outdated macho stereotypes which leave little room for them to show any signs of poor mental health as this may be viewed as a sign of weakness.
Here are 10 tips to tackle your mental well being:
- Talk to somebody you trust. This maybe your partner, a close friend, a family member, a work colleague, professional (for example your doctor, therapist).
- Read up about Mental Health. There are plenty of websites that can offer guidance and support about mental health conditions which are becoming more accessible. You may be able to find case studies that will help you understand what other men have been through.
- Find a Support Group. Given the current pandemic, this may be harder but they do exist! Online support networks can be useful and there may be support groups in your area that may resume once the lockdown relaxes.
- Look into self-help and professional psychological support services. There are so many different types of therapies out there that it can sometimes be daunting especially if you don’t know where to start. If you are interested in any services which My Family Psychologist offers, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us and we will see how we can support you. We offer a range of services including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Anger Management, Relationship Therapy, Meditation, Acceptance, and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Solution Focused Family Therapy to name a few.
- Engage in social interaction when you can. Even with the current pandemic, people are still finding inventive ways to stay socially connected. For many people, technology has been a lifesaver with access to Face Time calls, Zoom Video Calls, and Group chats. Regular contact with friends and family can promote stability. Perhaps try setting a day a week to catch up with people close to you.
- Try a new hobby. Have you always wanted to try something but felt like you were holding back? Writing a mood diary, a blog, drawing, and training for a 5k. It could be anything. Make of list of things you’d like to try and go for it!
- Create a routine. Having a routine for some men can certainly help to keep focused and give the feeling of achievements when things have been completed throughout the day. Aim to try and get up at the same time every morning, eat breakfast, set some work goals, make time for exercise and ‘me time’ (whatever that means to you, it could be taking a hot bath, reading, playing a video game, listening to a podcast or doing some meditation).
- Try Mindfulness. We have written a blog about 5 Minute Mindfulness exercises you can do. Maybe try giving some of them a go and if one works well for you, then continue to use it. Share with others who may be a similar situation. Nothing gets out better than word of mouth.
- Get involved in campaigns and activities to raise awareness. There are many campaigns that exist to promote men’s mental health (we mentioned Movember later). Check out Mind, SANE, and Time to Change who tend to run campaigns throughout the year. Maybe even organise your own event or support group with men than you know.
- Understand that you are not alone! Mental health exists for everybody and people are often happy to share their experiences. Forums and blogs written by professionals or by the general public can be useful sources of information regarding mental health and coping strategies. Keep checking back on My Family Psychologist Blog as we update weekly with topics that you may be able to relate to.
There appears to be a consistent narrative that something which needs to change. Regardless of whether you possess the Y chromosome or not, anybody should be able to access support with their mental wellbeing. Some would argue that the idea of ‘Manning Up’ is having the courage to talk about mental health and recognising that there may be something going on which may not feel quite right for you. Hopefully, reading this blog will help you start on the path to finding a happier and healthier you. Make that change today!