Mens Mental Health and Covid 19

Men have never been great at accepting or even talking about mental health issues. It’s the macho image we have always grown up with and the simple phrases our parents passed down to us. It is not their fault because they were just passing on what had been passed down to the.

Grown men don’t cry, man up for gods sake, stop acting like a girl, the list could go on and on. Yes back in the day you just got on with it and I am generation x. But should men just shut up and carry on ? Perhaps not as In 2018, a total of 6,507 suicides were registered in the UK. Thats 686 more deaths than in 2017 when there were 5,821 deaths. However think the younger ones expect everything without had work and are to quick to say im offended.

Public Help & Mens Metal Health

More and more on my Facebook timeline I am seeing signs of support and speaking out about helping. Are they actually genuine ? I am not sure, or is it they are just been seen to be doing the right thing. I was shocked to hear that an old associate ( would not call him a friend as we never hung out) but I had respect for him as we played football together.

The usual post is, to prove someone is always there copy and post this status to your timeline

CBT Therapy

What is CBT you may ask.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (known as CBT). It’s a talking therapy designed to help people manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave. It aims to encourage us to become more aware of negative thoughts and of the behavioural patterns which reinforce our unhelpful thinking. It’s most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression. However it can help a broad range of both mental and physical health problems. Birmingham CBT are doing some great work in this area. What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

How Does CBT Work

CBT is designed to allow us to work with patients to discuss life’s problems. Which may include work stress, difficulties with relationships, excessive pain, self-esteem issues and uncomfortable emotions such as depression, anxiety, bereavement, stress and anger. The number of clinics opening up year on year is only increases.

Does this mean we are getting less resilient to life in general or that our parents didn’t prepare us well enough for life. Or is it the constant bombardment of media telling us what we need to achieve success.

The Media And Everyones Perception Of Success

This has only just recently changed for me since I have been freelancing for the last 2 years. The normal view for a man (yes I agreed with it as well) is go to school and pass your exams. Then further education in college or University. Next you need to get a paid job with a high salary, work for someone else and work your way up the corporate ladder.

You need the suits, the big house in the right area and of course your nice big flash car. Be the loving strong husband and protect your family. Of course you need to be able to afford the expensive holidays, take lots of photos and post them on Facebook and Instagram. You need to post regular social media updates to convince everyone that you have the perfect expected life. Oh and to convince yourself as well.

What Is The Answer For A Healthy Mind

To start with I have stopped putting pressure on the kids by always implying that they have to go to higher education. I have stopped joking that if you don’t study and pass your exams you will be working at McDonalds. Probably on minimum wage for the rest of your life. So if working at some ordinary job gives you enough money and the spare time to be able to what you love. Then just do it.

I have still set the expectations that they have to earn money somehow. It may start with the job they don’t want to do but its reality. You can sweat the crap while on your journey to do what you want to do. I am now pointing them towards successful people and their stories that made them such.

Mental Heath, The Role Of The Schools & Teachers

Yesterday my eldest came home from school and her first business studies class and the first thing she said. I was outraged when she said the teacher said ” most small business fail”. That is all she came away with in her head from that lesson. She has thought long and hard about the choices of subjects she has made for this year. I tried only to give advice and not shape her decision. (Not sure the same could be said of her mother) yes separated.

I was devastated for her, so for the next hour I was explaining that all the people you see as successful were not an instant success. Also that those have become giants have failed many times in business and when they failed they learned so much. Apparently the comment from the teacher was because she tried to make her own business work. However it failed, then in her bitterness had to get a proper job. Sat here now writing this. I just might report her so she has to get another job. Rather than she infect more children with her negativity.

Diversity Does It Help The Mind

Just as women’s groups complained about the pressure of the perfect model wearing a dress or a bikini it made real girls feel less worth. So there is 2 ways to deal with the scenario. Stop watching crappy TV or actually don’t compare yourself to a model on TV who gets paid to look pretty. Its her job and probably works hard to look her best when she is on camera. She probably won’t look all that in-between photos shoots, and your probably good at what you do for a living as well.

Wait forgot there is a third option to the issue. Don’t actually move on with your life but complain and keep complaining until they do something about. Get every single person you know involved and complain until they do it like you want. Use the word diversity and that all types of women should be represented. So then you can watch you crappy TV and watch the fat models on the adverts and still feel ok about yourself. Yes some things need changing but perhaps its your mind set that needs to change, not the world.

Physical Exercise

We all need some form of physical exercise in our lives to keep us mentally healthy. Before the lockdown mine was table tennis and probably 2 to 3 times a week and average around 20k of steps each time. When lockdown hit the the table tennis stopped, we still haven’t opened because the school we used are using the sports hall for teaching. It gives them more classroom space for social distancing and they have said its too much work to move all the chairs and desks each time we want to use the facility.

We have over a hundred members in our TT club aged from 10 up to people in their 80’s. Thats a lot of people not getting the exercise or social interaction with their friends. I must admit that it had an effect on me as I work as a freelance, recently separated that was my only human contact with the world. I did start to go down hill drinking more and more each week. It started to effect my work as I could not concentrate or focus on may SEO. I had no one too kick my arse, I work from home, no-one tells me what to do. The only thing was that the work took longer to do so the invoices were slower at going out.

Just Keep Moving

So on one of the middle of the day when I sat at my laptop (my body clock was all over as well) and realised it was going to be the same grind. The 10 minutes looking at the screen, then onto the phone to look at the social media. It would go on for ages and I would look at I had done in the 2 hours and it wasn’t much. It had to change so I decided to walk to the supermarket about 2 miles away.

Actually it was great to get some fresh air and do something different rather than sat alone at my laptop. Walking back I had the crazy notion of starting to jog. At school I was pretty good and competed at county level although I never actually liked doing it because I found it boring. So that night went to bed after drinking a little less than I was dong and with the mind set that you jogging in the morning come what may.

Everyone Is A Jogger In Covid 19

Yes it seems that everyone has started jogging, so I got up put on an old pair of trainers and my table tennis gear. I was out for about 15 minutes and it was hard work, breathing was difficult and my joints were aching bad. This was around the end of July, start of August time, not 100% sure as I wasn’t tracking anything at all. So I decided that I would run 3 times a week and what worked best was Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to give time for the body to recover.

One thing I was struggling with is the knees and what make it worse was the hills where I live. Some people suggested driving to places but for me I knew that wouldn’t work. You see I get up put the shorts on, trainers on and out that door to jog, I barely even noticed the weather. If I got in the car know I would light up a cigarette and that would be the end before I have even started. (yes still drinking and smoking)

A Flatter Jogging Route

So I had to cut out those hills so I planned a new route and one where it could be extended. It was getting a little easier now so I decided to invest in some proper running shoes, basic Asics running shoes. So now I am out for nearly 30 minutes and it’s becoming a little easier.

Occasionally I missed the odd day, either injury or just not having the motivation. I haven’t started drinking excessively again and I dint intended to, I know ii have an addictive nature. So I used my addiction for positivity in running 3 times a week. Next the weather starts to become a little cooler so I decide to buy some base leggings. The idea was to keep the cold and from the legs and I wanted to remove any excuse for not to go running. It also had another benefit, the elastic material seemed to pull everything in and reduce the pain in the knees and other places. The running was having a postive effect on my mental health.

Running For Mental Heath

It took some time before I could walk around the supermarket without limping or hobbling from the pains of jogging. The staff must have thought I was an invalid but hey ho. So the running is having a postive effect on myself and my work productivity. It seems that when I walk now I am more upright, perhaps its because my mind is now clearer and I have more confidence in me. Also the productivity of me sat at the desk has vastly improved. I do still get some days where productivity is down and I need to address that.

It could be that on the weekends I don’t get the kids I still work, so thats 12 days solid of work with no break. Probably need to have 1 day off in between to reset the head and give myself a rest. The weekend I do get the kids I only do a couple of hours in the morning, so actually just typing this I now release I need time away from the screen. So now its October and the distance has increased. I want to keep the exercise to about the hour mark and no more at this time.

Increasing The Activity

So yesterday was the furthest I have been so far, its not the lungs but the aches and pains that stop me going further. The pace its slower and I think I know what it is exactly, I run a little bit slower because I decided I was going to go further. So I actually ran a bit slower s that didn’t burn out ? don’t laugh now, I know its not a mega distance but I need to get my head around it. The next day I didn’t run quite as far but I set my fastest pace ever, so maybe getting there.

So now we are in October and it’s getting even colder and a few showers. I don’t mind the rain when the temperature is mild, its even quite refreshing actually. However when it’s cold, windy and wet its a different matter entirely. So I have made my 3rd purchase for running, a waterproof running jacket to keep me a little dryer and warmer. I have removed another excuse not to exercise, the plan is to run all through winter to keep me mentally healthy. I am hoping that I can remain injury free but worse case scenario I have the best osteopath London as a client so I can always speak with him.