Top Tips for Men to Look After Their Mental Health
If we’re going to change the terrible statistics about suicide rates in men we need to start doing something differently. We all need to start looking after our mental health just like we do our physical health – health doesn’t stop at the neck!
At Inspired to Change we’ve been speaking to the men in our lives and compiling all our favourite tips to help you look after your mental health so chaps, these tips are for you!
Tip 1 – Exercise
Physical exercise is one of the best things we can do to look after our body and our mind. When we exercise we release our feel good hormone serotonin, boosting our mood. If we exercise for 20 minutes or more we also release another chemical called BDNF which holds the serotonin in our brain for longer – that’s why we always feel so great when we come out of the gym! But exercise doesn’t have to be a full-on gym workout or a 10 mile run – a brisk walk is enough. So, don’t sit at your desk at lunch time – take a walk. Don’t sit on the sofa when you get home from work – get on your bike! Get that serotonin flowing!
Tip 2 – Eat a Healthy Diet
The food we eat doesn’t just fuel our bodies, it fuels our mind too. Our brain needs about 500 calories of good quality, slow release energy every day to function at it’s best. So, ditch the morning muffin in favour of a high protein smoothie or porridge; snack on nuts and seeds; have a good quality protein lunch like a chicken salad; eat plenty of green leafy vegetables (hide them in that morning smoothie if you have to!). Eat for your brain, not just your body!
Tip 3 – Cut back on caffeine
When we are feeling low our sleep can be affected and we often end up relying on caffeine to keep us sharp. The problem when we self-medicate this way is that the relief is only temporary and often leads to greater problems. We get an initial hit from the caffeine that helps us to focus and concentrate but when it leaves our system we crash and big time, making us feel restless and agitated, and driving us to rely on more and more caffeine to continue to function.
Tip 4 – Cut Back on Alcohol
Contrary to popular belief alcohol is actually a depressant. Whilst the initial feeling you get from that first glass might be relaxing, in the long run it can make anxiety, depression and stress much harder to deal with. Regular drinking decreases the levels of serotonin (remember that feel good hormone we were talking about with exercise?) in our brain, impacting our mood, making us feel more anxious and depressed. Alcohol also disrupts our sleep patterns so, although you might find a glass of wine helps you to get off to sleep easier, the sleep you’re getting isn’t the restorative sleep that you need so you wake up feeling tired and sluggish.
Tip 5 – Catch Up With Your Mates
When we feel low we often stop going out and seeing our friends, we just don’t feel like it and the last thing we want is our friends asking us if we’re ok. Ironically this social isolation makes us feel worse. We are a social species, we need to connect with others, to feel valued, loved and needed. So even if it feels uncomfortable when you’re asked, try saying “yes” when they ask you to meet up – it will help you feel better in the long run.
Tip 6 – Do things that make you feel good
It’s not selfish to put your needs and happiness at the top of the agenda so make sure you find the time to do the things you love. Leave work on time, don’t work at the weekends, ditch the chores for a day so you can do a favourite hobby – carve out those little bits of time for you so you can do the things that make you good. It’s the old “put your own oxygen mask on first” theory – if you are looking after yourself first then you are in a better position to help others.
Tip 7 – Ditch the outdated male stereotypes
“Men don’t cry”, “Men don’t need to talk about feelings”, “Men are tougher than women”, “Just get on with it”, “Snap out of it” – it’s all rubbish! Don’t let these outdated male stereotypes stop you from seeking the help you need. There is plenty of support out there aimed at men where you won’t get these stereo types thrown in your face. CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) is a great place to start //www.thecalmzone.net
Tip 8 – Read the Chimp Paradox
This great book helps you to see how your brain works and why you end up feeling the way you do. It’s one of the most powerful and relatable books for men to read about how we behave and our mental health (whether we’re male or female!). When we understand what is happening from a brain science point of view we can see much more clearly what we can do to help ourselves.
Tip 9 – Talk to someone
Have proper conversations about your mental health. It’s good to talk! Especially if you are feeling down – it might be a friend, a family member, someone in your HR department, or a professional like an Inspired to Change Hypnotherapist or GP. It’s really important to speak to someone about how you are feeling and ask for help. You are not alone.
Tip 10 – Check out your physical health problems
Often issues with our physical health are signs that our mental health is struggling. Insomnia, fatigue, IBS, short fuse, low sex drive could all be signs that you are struggling mentally, rather than physically – see your GP, that’s what they are there for!
If you are feeling low and struggling to see the positives in life maybe it’s time to book your FREE initial consultation with your local Inspired to Change hypnotherapist. Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Devon and Kent.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.
To find out how you can train as a solution focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information