Today marks the start of Movember - the annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide.
In Australia, men are still seemingly trapped in gender stereotypes that is destructive to both their physical and mental health. In response to this, wellness holiday company Health and Fitness Travel are turning the spotlight on men with the #StrongHealthyMen interview series to redefine the meaning of strength and highlight the importance of self-care, not as an indulgence but as a crucial factor to address both physical and mental wellbeing.
North Brisbane psychologist, Dr. Clive Williams says, “We’ve taught men two key coping strategies, which in relation to mental health and relationships often fail badly. Rule number one: If there is a problem, any problem, work harder.
Number two: any sign of not coping, of problematic emotions such as stress or anxiety or depression, remain absolutely silent. Such rules forbid men to ask for help, to voice any emotional or relationship concern. It is the most restrictive and unhealthy recipe for manhood.”
Further cementing the need for self-care in men, a recent study, The State of Self Care in Australia, commissioned by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC) at Victoria University states that 80% of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 Diabetes, and over one third of cancers can be prevented with self-care, that is removing risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and excess alcohol consumption.
Self-care is not the same as self-centeredness. Rather, it is about being the best version of yourself, and especially true for parents, to be able to take care of the needs of others. With the ever-evolving roles of parenthood, fathers need support too.
In one of the #Stronghealthymen interviews, father of three and Biggest Loser trainer Shannon Ponton says, “For me, self-care is a holistic overview of my wellbeing. It encompasses physical and mental: health, performance, energy, interactions, fun and enjoyment. I take it very seriously and regularly take time for introspection. It takes a fair amount of truth and practice to be brutally honest with yourself.”
Dr. Williams adds, “What we need is more vulnerable men and in recent years, we are beginning to see some of this. When a high-profile person admits to mental health concerns, it gives men just a little more permission to also reveal their vulnerability. Vulnerability turns out to be an essential skill in resiliency. Those who can be vulnerable receive support. Turns out vulnerability is also the key skill in successful relationships.”
Health and Fitness Travel is a global luxury wellness travel company that originated in the UK in 2010 and is committed to providing healthy holidays that enhance and change lives. Created by Paul Joseph, Adam Heathcote and co-founded in Australia by local Managing Director Samantha Lippiatt as a result of their combined passion for health and fitness travel and offering bespoke holidays to improve people’s well-being to lead happier and healthier lives.
Image credit: Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash