From heart disease and type 2 diabetes to depression and suicide, research has found that men can be at a significantly higher risk of many serious health issues than women. However, they are thought to be much less likely to visit a doctor, or even acknowledge the signs of illness.
From June 14-21 the wellness world is turning its attention to Men’s Health Week, in order to raise awareness of the health challenges facing men everywhere.
This year’s theme focuses on the ‘Can Do’ challenge, which asks men to take part in a different self-care effort each day, for five days – all of which are scientifically-proven to help us feel better.
Keen to get involved? Here are the five ways the Men’s Health Forum, the charity behind the awareness week, say we can effectively boost our health and wellbeing during the working week…
1. Connect on Monday
There’s a reason why hanging out with your friends in a sunny pub garden feels good. Studies have found that having social connections with others can help ward against issues like anxiety and depression, as well as lead to higher self-esteem and empathy.
Human beings are inherently social creatures, and after more than a year of lockdowns, it’s arguably never been more important to stay connected in an increasingly isolated world.
2. Be active on Tuesday
There are so many ways for busy people to build physical activity into their lives, and you don’t need to lift an intimidatingly large barbell at the gym to reap the benefits.
Walking is perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to increase your activity levels and a simple hack for upping your step count is to walk to the shop next time, instead of hopping in the car.
3. Notice on Wednesday
The last time you went for a walk, did you really stop and engage with your surroundings? Or were you scrolling through social media, replying to a WhatsApp message and listening to a podcast?
Putting your phone away and truly taking a moment to notice the sights, sounds and experiences around you can have major benefits for your wellbeing.
Known as a type of moving mindfulness, it’s all about slowing down, disconnecting from the digital world and clearing your mind.
4. Discover on Thursday
If your evenings usually revolve around Netflix and cracking open a cold beer, why not mix things up with a new hobby on Thursday night?
Whether it’s painting, creative writing or gardening, getting immersed in a new hobby can be really good for your mental health and reducing stress.
5. Offer on Friday
Doing things for other people might feel selfless in the moment, but it actually has a beneficial effect on developing our own wellbeing.
According to the Mental Health Foundation acts of kindness – like volunteering for a local community group, offering to mentor someone at work or simply popping in to check on a neighbour – can reduce stress as well as improve mood and self-esteem.
Good deeds don’t need to take much time or cost any money, but sharing some kindness and compassion can end your week on a natural high. If you’re stuck for ideas, the charity even has a ‘random act of kindness generator’ on their website, that can inspire you with some highly effective good deeds.