Men’s Health — food for healthy thought.

Nicolina Simoes
Studiotypes
Published in
10 min readJun 19, 2022

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Disclaimer: This is not by any means gospel/a qualified psychological analysis; it is more of a guide to encourage healthy practices.

Many things come to mind when the word health enters a discussion — more so the physical kind, but what of mental health?

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Mental health, in general, is often stigmatised and is a conversation that forms part of the avoidance game. Men, however, seem to exclude themselves from addressing/focusing on it, whether by choice or default (avoiding weakness) — this excludes contributing factors, of course.

So what can we do to counter it and promote awareness/expression thereof to equal that of the physical? We aren’t experts but we did a little digging and here is our list of the Top 5 health-inducing activities men can do to ensure their mental health is on track.

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Get Moving
This goes without saying. Exercise is often seen at the top of every list when mental health or physical well-being is the topic of discussion. For our team, carving an hour out of each day/week to break a sweat, elevate the heart rate or restore mental balance is a way of staying healthy across the board.

Simon: is our keen team cyclist. He finds serenity by getting out on his bike during his workday 2 or 3 days a week.

Tom: enjoys the physical pursuit of purchasing houseplants (you laugh, but it’s actually labour-intensive); his other, more prominent, physical escapes include the art of ping pong and skateboarding (he’s an avid one at that).

Joe: his healthy escape at the moment seems somewhat more relaxing. Like Tom, he too enjoys the exhilarating pursuit of the immortal houseplants but mostly he gains a sense of calm on walks with his family and dog somewhere deep in the forests of County Durham or by water in the Lake District.

Jordon: Like Joe, Jordon’s exhilaration comes from exploring the great outdoors, namely the Durham forests and the Lake District, with his two dogs. To add, being a former PT helps him keep his physical fitness in check at the gym or by running in pursuit of the endorphins gained when hitting that target heart rate.

Liam: likes running and (very occasionally) hitting the gym, but prefers strolls with his family over high-intensity workouts — mostly taking his little one out in the pram.

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Get Creative
Being imaginative/innovative and expanding on any ideas you have is a known cure for any mental/physical block. Communicating your innermost thoughts can be the best and most personal form of maintaining all levels of your health. Whether painting, carving wood, writing, drawing, making music, singing, dancing, and gaming — moving and expressing in any way — you are improving your health.

Simon: is not one to create in the traditional sense of the word but does get creative within his relationship. For example, when he and his significant other contracted covid, they found that gaming was not only an enjoyable pastime but a mutual bonding experience that they continue to share to this day- relationship goals or what?

Tom: like Simon, he seems to enjoy the creations of others rather than his own, enjoying minds better than his own, in all areas of music, cinema, games, and art. In saying that, hope is not lost; he really enjoys cooking for others and the repertoire, though small, is solid and ultimately creative.

Joe: tends to find solace in his ever-growing record collection — ranging from obscure electronic, techno and IDM, to jazz, African, and disco, all of which can hit the spot depending on his mood. He listens to records while fine-tuning some of the more creative aspects of his business (design and graphics to implementing tools and automation). A rather cathartic process, making it feel less like work and more like creative play.

Jordon: creative side stems from the virtual world of simulation games. These constitute Jurassic World: Evolution, Cities Skylines, Planet Coaster, and Tropico, indulging in the art of building and designing. These gaming sessions allow his imagination to run wild — constructing elaborate worlds, parks, cities and environments, letting creativity take precedence.

Liam: is a self-proclaimed master of unlocking his hidden talents, with emphasis on the word “hidden” — apparently, he has “ZERO creative skills”. Some could say he’s the Picasso of stick figures, the Van Gogh of finger painting, and the Michelangelo of paint-by-numbers. However, when it comes to cooking, he’s a bread-making wizard.

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Get Talking
Communicating your concerns/problems (in general) is the best method of maintaining physical and mental health. In some cases, reaching out to those closest to you can seem complicated/daunting but is often rewarding. In some cases, we find it easier to express ourselves around strangers for their unbiased views. This seems to appear in the form of an unexpected outpour ironically at a friend's BBQ with the one person you’ve most likely just met so let’s skip that. Best practice comes with seeking a professional. Believe it or not, when you find the right person (one that knows their sh*t) the results are often successful! That said, this too is not the easiest. More than often, it’s the most daunting way to go about it. If this is the case, we suggest confiding in those closest to you, those from the inner circle of childhood-adult constructs, no matter how hard. Perhaps journaling/ documenting your thoughts, concerns and stresses could work if all options fail.

Simon: checks in with close-knit friends (in person/by phone) a few times per week, benefiting his well-being as much as theirs- two birds with one stone, in the best way.

Tom: He enjoys communicating with his lifelong best friend- fitting the bill by knowing him best. In saying this, he wants to expand his communicative side with his folks for a more holistic approach even though he’s always struggled with it.

“I’m getting to an age where reminiscing feels more enjoyable than cringeworthy.”

Joe: communicates best with his childhood circle of friends — though far apart now, his tight-knit group gives him enough freedom to express himself no matter the circumstance. As a founder, Joe also invests time in working with a mentor/non-exec board advisor to seek business advice and have an independent sounding board. This well-constructed formula helps him connect on a deeper level in ways he never knew he needed.

“You don’t realise how much you need all these things until you have them.”

Jordon: firmly relies on a small, incredibly-close and trustworthy circle of friends. He engages in group chats, sharing stories, memes, and TikToks with his “Best Fellas”, who offer unwavering support, comfort, wisdom and honest advice regardless of circumstance.

Liam: with his wife being a therapist, he’s practically moving toward his PhD in chit-chat. When he and his buddies face life’s curveballs, they gather like a team of philosophers at the local pub, solving world problems over a few pints, proving that sometimes liquid wisdom and conversation make the world a better place.

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Get Pensive
Allowing the brain to process deliberate/intentional thoughts is a form of mental health that directly impacts the physical. Emotionally led thinking appears easier for women than men. This is because men find it easier to think past the emotional threshold and on more unemotional levels - often focusing their energy on lesser expressive skills, ultimately enabling them to negate that side of their mind resulting in repressive patterns. Although this is not the case for all men/women, findings suggest that some male groups find it easier to cope when expressing their emotions in healthy and mentally stimulating ways.

Simon: his eclectic taste in music is his thought-provoking escape. The variations help him find the clarity he needs to stay mentally and physically in check. Depending on mood, it can range from The Clash and The Libertines to Glenn Miller, Ella Fitzgerald and Buddy Holly all the way to Vivaldi, Einaudi and Gustav Holst.

Tom: finds it therapeutic to singularly embark on curious journeys down the proverbial Wikipedia/YouTube rabbit hole — claiming that most of what he knows in life has come from this and, of course, the exchange thereof. Tom believes that in today's age, people tend to stay away from in-depth/ intellectual conversations, so he finds the solitary accumulation of knowledge and meaning behind the music to be a form of therapy and the best way to keep his mental health in check.

Joe: A common theme here is his connection to music. It has always been the leveller and social glue between him and his friendship circle. In the past, their music production sessions and the running of his record label were often a way he’d step out of work mode and into creative-thought mode. As with all good things, this love for music has evolved into collecting records and alternatively intriguing pursuits in recent years. These include; collecting a relatively amateur selection of whiskies and absorbing articles/documentaries on anything from AI and Bitcoin, to dance music history - when tales from the crypto are the name of your most active Whatsapp group, you know you’re in deep!

Jordon: in the pursuit of knowledge and intellectual stimulation, Jordon spends a significant amount of time watching academic programs like “Explained” on Netflix. He dives into useless yet fascinating facts ranging from movements in the human brain to the curiosities of food, cannabis, dogs, AI and a soon-to-be father, babies. Anything that fuels curiosity and keeps his mind engaged.

Liam: has a deep connection with nostalgia, more so through music. When he puts on those golden oldies, his living room transforms into a time machine — complete with disco ball and neon lights. The soothing beats of the ’80s synth cheer him right up. When he’s not lost in musical euphoria, he escapes to virtual worlds, exploring vast landscapes in amazingly crafted video games. And if needed, he’ll just shut the door, write a list of what’s stressing him out and tick things off along the way.

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Get Grooming
The phrase, “self-care”, is usually associated with females known to take the time to recognise and prioritise their relationship with themselves by means of pampering, hygiene, and a general focus on their overall mental health. This phrase was coined more prominently during the pandemic and having gained global traction via social media, has become so much more. It has evolved into an era for anyone to carve time in their day/week to recharge and reconnect with themselves. For example, this time could mean taking a bath with a cold beverage or setting a time to visit their local barber/hairdresser — all of which promote positive mental and physical health practices.

Simon: believes looking good makes you feel good, so a regular visit to the local barbers and some retail therapy seems to meet all of his self-care needs.

“As an ex-military man, I’m a (firm) believer that cleanliness is close to godliness.”

Tom: believes that all one needs is an excellent moisturiser to feel like a Greek god when you step into the sun. In other words, he doesn’t fixate on outer appearance much, so this and getting a regular haircut is the extent of his self-care routine - a man of very few flourishes.

Joe: is over the hill and off the shelf, as he put it. So all efforts are in vain regardless of routine. That said, he does have a penchant for a party shirt and does actually enjoy buying clothes more than his other half to the point where she deems him as her part-time style guru given he’s on hand to pick most of her outfits - believe it or not.

Jordon: may not fuss over-grooming rituals extensively (not anymore), but he understands the importance of self-care, maintaining a monthly routine of getting a haircut with the best barber in the North East (paired with friendly banter). When in need of ultimate relaxation, nothing beats the Lay Z Spa, accompanied by a glass of whiskey on a sunny evening — a tranquil night providing him with the necessary downtime to unwind.

Liam: knows that when he feels “meh,” it’s time to switch to self-care mode; getting a fresh trim, sweating it out in the gym, whipping up a feast and drifting off, recharging his batteries for the adventures that await him tomorrow.

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So, whether you’re partaking in marathons, grabbing a pint with mates, delving into the lyrical depths of songs or grooming yourself/others to a tee, we believe making time for you is key to keeping your mental and overall health in check — go figure!

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