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For many men today will come and go much like another.

Today they might thrive, they might wake on the right side of the bed, greet the day with a smile, head into work with a positive attitude, smash their challenges and be home in time to read a bed time story to their children, kissing them goodnight and then relaxing with their wife.

But, for many, the alarm will have gone off too early after a disturbed night’s sleep, they’ll just drop the kids off for school in time having battled through traffic, then slog it into the office for a job they could equally do at home, put on their mask as they walk into their workplace. Their boss will belittle them, in turn they will shout at a team member, junior colleague or subordinate, finally they’ll go home, and feeling guilty kiss their already sleeping children on their heads.

And the mask? That stays on at home, because to express what’s really going on is weak.

We hope your day started with the first scenario or similar, but on Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day we just wanted to say if it was the second you are not alone.

At mentl we’ve been lucky enough to have a number of open and honest conversations, so here are just 10 lessons we’ve been taught along the way that might just help men, today or any day.

Acknowledge emotions and express them

Society has often conditioned men to suppress their emotions. However, it is crucial to recognise and acknowledge your feelings as a part of maintaining good mental health. Expressing emotions does not make you weak; rather, in our view it demonstrates strength and self-awareness. Engaging in open and honest conversations with trusted friends, family, or professionals can provide a valuable outlet for emotional release and promote overall well-being.

Foster healthy relationships

Building and nurturing healthy relationships is vital for men’s mental health. Strong connections with friends, family, and partners can provide emotional support, reduce stress, and enhance overall happiness. Engaging in activities together, communicating openly, and being vulnerable can help forge deeper connections and promote a sense of belonging. This is one antidote to loneliness which is deeply damaging for all of us.

Prioritise self-care and relaxation

In the fast-paced world we live in, it’s easy to neglect self-care. Men should carve out time for activities that bring joy and relaxation. Engaging in hobbies, exercise, mindfulness practices, or simply taking time to unwind can reduce stress levels, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being (we learned that on our recent men’s retreat).

Seek professional help when needed

Men hesitate to seek professional help due to societal expectations or fear of judgment. However, consulting with mental health professionals is a sign of strength and self-care. Therapists, psychologists, or counselors can provide a safe space to discuss concerns, develop coping strategies, and navigate mental health challenges more effectively. And you don’t have to wait until things come to ahead, think of it more like maintenance or as natural as going to the gym.

Practice stress management techniques

Chronic stress can take a toll on men’s mental health. Implementing stress management techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in physical activities like running or cycling can help alleviate stress and improve overall well-being.

Maintain a balanced lifestyle

Balancing work, relationships, and personal life is crucial for men’s mental health. Prioritise a healthy work-life balance by setting boundaries, managing time effectively, and allocating time for rest and relaxation. Ensuring adequate sleep, maintaining a nutritious diet, and limiting substance use can also contribute to overall mental well-being.

Challenge societal expectations

Stereotypical masculine ideals often place undue pressure on men, leading to mental health issues. Men should challenge societal expectations and redefine masculinity to allow for emotional vulnerability, self-care, and seeking help when needed. Breaking free from rigid gender norms can positively impact mental health and foster healthier relationships.

Engage in physical activity

Regular physical exercise not only benefits physical health but also has a significant impact on mental well-being. Engaging in activities like running, swimming, weightlifting, or team sports can boost mood, alleviate stress, and enhance self-esteem. Find an activity that brings joy and make it a regular part of your routine.

Connect with a support network

Building a support network of like-minded individuals can be invaluable for men’s mental health. Joining support groups, men’s organisations, or online communities can provide a safe space to share experiences, seek advice, and find solace in knowing that others are going through similar challenges. Connecting with others who understand and offer support

can help reduce feelings of isolation and provide a sense of camaraderie.

Practice self-compassion

Men often hold themselves to high standards and can be overly self-critical. Practicing self-compassion involves treating oneself with kindness and understanding, especially during challenging times. Instead of berating oneself for perceived shortcomings or failures, it is important to practice self-acceptance and offer support and encouragement.

Treat yourself as you would a close friend, with empathy, patience, and forgiveness.