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When it comes to health and wellbeing, men can be notoriously bad at looking after themselves - and looking out for their friends. Too often a physical or mental health problem has to become a crisis before it gets the attention it deserves...
Men are rubbish. That’s the narrative, isn’t it? Men don’t speak to doctors, generally haven’t got a clue about their health or how to get it sorted. Might never see a dentist. And talking about mental health is a complete taboo.
Men use the tactic of waiting for something to happen and then reacting to it instead of planning to prevent things from happening at all. Men also can’t and won’t talk about things that they need to. Are we too busy? Complacent? Unable to put thoughts into words because we’re out of practice? Or is it embarrassment about revealing a weakness or being afraid to be judged?
We might think it involves speaking to a doctor, having something recorded in black and white that puts a label next to our names - and then the worry that this could count against us in the future.
So men are rubbish...but doesn’t that label bother you? From what I’m seeing men are doing so much more now to look after themselves and each other. It’s becoming less of a ‘breaking news’ announcement when a bloke answers a straight question about how he feels.
Talking about things is more normal, asking people how they’re feeling. How they’re actually feeling and not assuming. Finding out. Because you’re genuinely interested to know.
Turn the conversation around: A lot of the time an easy in is to turn it around and not have the focus on yourself. Do it for someone else’s benefit if you’re reluctant or shy and uncomfortable doing it yourself.
Be a good listener. Start a conversation and help someone - and allow the chat to go around and come back to you for your take. Your real-life experiences that are as valid and relevant as anyone else’s. No rules or agenda. You make the rules that are best for you. Or wing it. Improvise. What’s worse than can happen? Or what’s the best that can be achieved?
Ask yourself a question: what would you say to your best friend if he told you he wasn't feeling good? Pressure. Low motivation. Stress. Would you give sound advice, show him where to find help? How good would you be right now at doing that job?
Don’t underestimate the power of control and influence we have over ourselves. Freedom of choice over our behaviour. Getting back control over thoughts and habits is within your power and could help drive you forward with more positivity and optimism.
During my time as a LiveWell coach, I met so many people who seem resigned to their fate. Accepting of struggles as ‘that’s life’. I’ve challenged it, and found many cases not as hard as you’d think to begin to develop a more positive outlook when perspective and guidance along a clear route forward has been added.
Life isn’t the same as it used to be for anybody. Life never stays the same.
The environment is constantly changing in the world around us. But we never became static, or stuck in a rut, or not able to move forwards and grow as a result. The brain might become clouded every now and again or accidentally put on pause, or the memory might become jaded, but there are so many new paths that we can take when we take time to find out or allow someone to show us.
Using all our knowledge, experience, and resources this winter, we could get to a much stronger place with the correct guidance. And never underestimate the power of physical activity on mental health.
We could be doing good things to our bodies to be able to protect ourselves more effectively, to stay strong, and have that time to contribute to others, giving time and the right words or help to someone who really needs it. Someone who might have to rely on you.
A LiveWell Dorset coach won’t know the ingredients to boosting your health and wellbeing, but will soon find out just by listening and talking and be able to support you in achieving that.
Repeat to yourself ‘My best days are ahead of me’ and work towards making that true.
It’s never too late to re-invent yourself. Even a small bit at a time, to rebrand your existence into the best version of yourself. Don’t wait until the spring. Find the drive and that intent that’s inside you. Let’s plan now. Together.
What makes you feel good and helps bring out all the best parts of you? What will it take to get more of those building blocks into place to start doing that? What’s going to help you become more resilient? Stronger? Function better?
What might also help you become a better friend. Physically stronger. A better parent. More productive. Kinder. Smarter. A better communicator. More employable. Calmer. More content.
So, what’s the catalyst for change? Not reading this. You must do something yourself now. Find out what’s going on around you locally. Get in contact with LWD. Speak to someone and start up a mental health conversation. Give it a go.
Men might have been seen as being ‘rubbish’ in the past but there’s a movement of change. Gradually, we’re taking back control. Of ourselves, and each other. That movement includes you.
For mental wellbeing: Try Light On, for local mental health support specifically for men
For general health and wellbeing support to: lose weight, get active, reduce drinking or quit smoking, register with us:
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