You’ve probably heard of Movember, but did you know that today is International Men’s Day? IMD raises awareness about the rates of male suicide, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.
Shari here. Health — both mental and physical — are near and dear to my heart. I am an army brat who grew up around a lot of soldiers with PTSD and a couple of years ago, I lost my best friend Viktor to suicide, so the importance of taking care of your mental health has always been very important to me. I have also had three brain aneurysms + have become somewhat of a self proclaimed expert at making doctors appointments and following a check up schedule.
So today I wanted to share some tips and resources for our male readers on how to take care of yourself year round by making sure your mental + physical health are a priority.
But first — a few facts:
- Every year 230,000+ men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 30,000 will die from it. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men 15 – 34 years old.
- Every day 90 American men die by suicide + the third most common reason men don’t ask for help with mental health thinking they can handle it themselves.
- The most common cause of death for men in the U.S. is heart disease, 66 is the average age of a first heart attack for men, and men are nearly twice as likely as women to die prematurely from diabetes.
Schedule a check up. This sounds super easy, but a lot of data shows that men simply do not go to the doctor. You can’t deal with problems you don’t know are there. I will be the first to admit that calling people is not my jam, but a little incentive goes a long way. Call to schedule appointments ~45 minutes before lunch + put the appointment in your calendar right away. That way once you’ve done the boring adult thing, you can celebrate with lunch from your favorite local spot.
In the meantime — write down any questions you have and take them to the appointment, that way you don’t forget something important when you’re there. The day of: bring a sweatshirt or zip up jacket. Hospitals + doctors offices can get very cold, especially if you are having blood drawn. Pack headphones and a charger, just in case you’re there for a few hours using the hospital wifi. It can really drain your phone battery.
Talk to a therapist or mental health provider. Life is full of ups + downs, but 2020 has definitely an unexpected curveball that hasn’t done anyone’s mental health any favors. Depression and suicide are a leading cause of death for men; one reason being that men just don’t ask for help. Here are a few organizations you can reach out to:
🧠 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 800.273.8255
Rely on your friends + get the band back together. Whether you used to be in a literal band or not, it’s always good to reach out to your friends. It can be really stressful to feel like you’re carrying the world on your shoulders. Start a group text and make plans to grab some food with the gang to feel less alone.
Get yourself a nice haircut and/or shave. Self care doesn’t always have to be about getting poked + prodded by doctors or about dealing with the heavy stuff. Looking good can boost your confidence + your mood. Here are a few local barber shops to check out:
Indulge in a hobby. If you are feeling stressed or out of touch, taking the time to reconnect with yourself can be a game changer. Do you like to read? Pick up a book from a local bookstore in town. Do you like to make things with your hands? Start on a new weekend project + document the journey. It’s also okay not to know what you like to do for fun. Ask your friends what they like to do and if anything sounds interesting to you, give it a go. Who knows — maybe you’ll become a master soap carver.
Schedule that annual doctor’s check up today. Ron Swanson would be proud.
Ron Swanson | Giphy