International Men's Health Week
International Men’s Health Week is celebrated in several countries around the world, a week before Father’s Day (including Father’s Day) every year. This year it would be celebrated from 13th-19th June. The goal is to increase awareness of male health issues on a global level and to encourage inter-and intra-national institutions to develop health policies and services that meet the specific needs of men, boys, and their families.
But why is Men’s Health Week important?
We live in a society where men constantly feel like they have to live up to the social expectations, all while trying to fit the boxes of gender stereotypes made by society. One gender-stereotypical box that society puts men in is that the man of the house is always the breadwinner. Because of this, men work day and night to provide for their families without thinking that they can rely on their partners and hand over some of the responsibilities to them as well. While trying to be the sole breadwinner, men don’t get time to pay attention to their health and even when they feel sick, they prefer to not go to the doctor to save the expense. Another stereotype about men is that men should be strong. Society tells men that, real men don’t ask for help or that asking for help is weak. Apart from this, many men struggle with self-image issues because societal pressure tells them that they must look, dress and act a certain way to look manly. A study revealed that about 48% of men aged 16-40 struggle because of how they feel about their bodies. And about 58% said that the pandemic has affected how they feel about their body in a negative way. These statistics clearly show that almost 1 in every 2 men struggles with body-image issues.
The physical and mental health of men is not talked about much even though the health status of men is typically poorer than that of women. Men are also twice more likely to use destructive coping strategies such as drugs and alcohol. Even more concerning, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. These statistics sure are scary but more specifically important to ask; why is there such a stark difference? I think this has to do with the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and the societal pressure on men to always be strong. This is a huge reason why men struggle to reach out when they may need help. Today, we’re going to talk about a few things that men can do to take care of themselves this Men’s Health Week.
1. Schedule annual physical health check-up:
Stop making excuses and take out time to go see your doctor. Call to set up an appointment with your doctor for an annual health check-up. Start visiting your doctor for regular tests and check-ups. Make your health a priority and take care of yourself, or how else are you supposed to take care of your family if you yourself are sick.
2. Reach out to a friend you haven’t met in a while:
Studies show that socializing not only staves off feelings of loneliness but also helps sharpen your memory and cognitive skills. It increases your sense of happiness, and well-being and may even help you live longer. The best way to socialize is to get in touch with an old bud that you haven’t met in ages. Make a plan, go out and have a good time. You can even meet up with your friends to celebrate and spread awareness about Men’s Health Week.
3. Get active:
We live in a time where we can get and do everything just with a single touch, be it buying groceries or doing the dishes. Which in turn makes us less active in our daily lives. But not all of us have the time to hit the gym to stay active. Well, in this case, you can sneak in a 5 min walk here and there in your daily routine. Or you can go for morning walks or cycling. You can schedule a small trek on the weekends. Staying active not only improves our fitness and helps us stay out of the hospital, but it also improves our brain health and improves our ability to do everyday activities.
4. Stay in check with your mental health:
Men’s mental health is affected deeply by the shackles of societal pressure and stereotypes; break those shackles and let yourself free. Remember, it is not weak to cry or to express your emotions, if anything being able to express your emotions truly makes you stronger. You don’t have to put all the burden on your shoulders. There are people around you who are more than willing to lend you a helping hand, take that hand. You can get help by talking to a friend, or to a therapist. A therapist will guide you and give you better measures to cope and deal with your emotions. Other than that, you can practice mindfulness by meditating or by finding a hobby which you enjoy and it helps you relax. Take care of your sleeping schedule as it is proven that a good night’s sleep can improve a person’s mood and make them feel positive and fresh!
5. Wear Blue – The colour blue is a symbol of men’s health and wearing blue will show your commitment to the cause. It can also work as a great conversation starter to help spread the word about the importance of Men’s Health Week. You can even post on social media with the #ShowUsYourBlue and #KnowYourManFacts, you can use it as a platform to share common struggles that men go through without telling anyone. You can use it to share awareness about men’s health and encourage other men you know to get in check with their mental and physical health.
Share with this your fellow friends and colleagues as it can help provoke thought and discussion about what needs to be done to improve the lives and health of men and boys. It can also be used as a reminder to remind them to take care and pay attention to their health, this Men’s Health Week!