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While you may know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, were you also aware that June is Men’s Health Month? Now is a great time to check in on the men in your life – your fathers, brothers, sons, friends, and partners – and see how they are feeling, both physically and mentally. Take the time this month to ask them if there’s anything bothering them in their lives, or if there’s any way that you and your family can help relieve some stress and anxiety that the men you love might be experiencing but aren’t able to talk about.
Though many people often take their physical health very seriously, oftentimes mental health falls by the wayside. And mental health awareness is especially lacking when it comes to men’s health – statistics show that 1 in 8 men experience mental health problems, but aren’t able to admit it or seek help. It’s important to recognize when you are struggling with your mental health and search for ways to relieve your mind, and you can use June as an opportunity to encourage the wonderful men around you to do the same!
Mental health is equally as important as physical health
During Men’s Health Month, remind your loved ones that mental health is just as important as physical health. Your mind controls so much of what your body does, and if you’re not taking care of it, you might experience debilitating side effects like exhaustion, a lack of motivation, depression, and anxiety. This may cause you to struggle through otherwise simple tasks or daily routines, which can only heighten any feelings of stress and anxiety.
Though mental health problems may not always be as obvious as physical health issues, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there and can’t cause huge issues in people’s lives. Make sure that you are always checking in on yourself and your loved ones, and ask them if they are feeling okay.
A great way to do a mental health check-in without making someone feel guilty for being in a bad state is by using the “percentage” method. Sometimes it can be difficult to answer a broad question like “Are you okay?” but easier to answer something more specific like “Where is your energy at?”
By using questions that require an answer based on measurements, your loved ones can think more logically about their emotional well-being and give you an answer that doesn’t require too much explaining. For example, they could say “I’m at about 40% today,” meaning that they have some energy, but maybe not enough to handle additional responsibilities or social interactions.
You’re not weak for seeking help
One incredibly important thing to remind your loved ones during Men’s Health Month is that it’s not weak to seek help. Often, we might feel like asking for help – whether it’s from our family, friends, or a licensed professional – makes us weak or a burden on those around us. We try to shoulder all our problems on our own, pushing through the mental health barriers to try and seek solutions by ourselves.
However, it is important that we recognize that we all need help sometimes. Human beings aren’t meant to go through life alone, and you shouldn’t hide your troubles from the people who love you – this will only hurt you and them in the long run. Instead, share your problems with those people who are open and willing to help. People offer support because they care and want to be there for you, so it’s not a burden or a problem to accept the assistance sometimes.
Self-care is important
At the end of the day, taking care of your mental health is a lot of self-love and self-care. Encourage the men in your life to use Men’s Health Month as an opportunity to look at their physical and mental health needs and see how they can better take care of their bodies and minds.
Ask yourself simple questions to evaluate where you are mentally and physically. Are you getting enough sleep? Do you feel satisfied with the amount of downtime or personal time you have? Is the food you eat adding happiness and necessary nutrients to your life? Do you feel happy more often than not? If any of these answers are no, try to think about ways you can change your habits and routine to better take care of your well-being.
While you may not feel happy all the time, the goal in life should be to have more happy and fulfilling days than upsetting or stressful ones. And even though you may not be able to cut out all the stressors from your life, try to see if there are any areas of your life that can be changed to better increase your overall happiness.
Your diet can affect your mental health
Diet plays a much bigger part in mental health issues than many people may realize, and Men’s Health Month is a great opportunity to evaluate whether your diet might be negatively impacting your mental or physical health. For example, even though alcohol might feel like a great way to relieve stress or anxiety, it can actually be really bad for your mental health – especially if you’re already in a negative head space. Alcohol can lower inhibitions and help you relax while you’re drinking it, but these effects will quickly wear off and the chemical changes inside your mind can actually lead to worse negative feelings.
Another example is sugar and processed foods. While delicious to snack on, these types of foods can lead to inflammation of both the body and brain, which might contribute to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Consider how the food you eat may be affecting your mind and body, and use June as a time to meet your body’s physical and mental needs.
Find your stress relief
If you are feeling anxious or stressed and need some ways of helping relieve your mental health problems, it’s important to find your stress relief. There are so many great ways of relieving stress – music, art, exercise, and getting outside are just a few examples of ways you can improve your mood. Use Men’s Health Month to explore different hobbies that interest you, maybe even trying a few that you’ve thought sounded cool before but haven’t taken the time to explore!
It’s okay to take the time for yourself and find ways of decompressing. By discovering activities and hobbies that can help you relieve stress, you will be able to better cope with any mental health issues you experience down the road. Feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed may be unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared with ways to help relieve your mind when it’s feeling particularly down or under pressure.
Don’t forget your affirmations
Affirmations are for everyone and can be a great way to improve mental health and negative thinking. When you feel yourself falling down a rabbit hole of anxiety, take a moment to remind yourself of all the wonderful things you’ve accomplished and all the parts of life that make you happy. Sometimes taking the time to actively tell yourself about all the reasons you’re amazing can help stamp out any negative thought spirals that might threaten to take over.
However, affirmations don’t simply have to come from within. It’s okay if you need a little external love and affection to help pick you up when you’re feeling down. During Men’s Health Month, remind the men in your life about how wonderful, amazing, and lovely they are, and about how much joy they bring to you. And if they need more affirmations, tell them that it’s okay to reach out for more love and recognition.
Open communication and support can do so much good when it comes to mental health issues, so don’t hesitate to talk to the people around you about what you need to improve your mental and physical well-being!
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.