This week is Men’s Health Week 2022 and the theme for Ireland this year is MISSION: is possible with the call to all men being: ‘The Action Starts with You’. This initiative runs each June, in the week leading up to Father’s Day and then concludes on Father’s Day (19th June) itself. This year for Men’s Health Week, we have decided to write about some of the top tips for males to combat or to deal with stress.
Over ⅓ of all Irish adults report that they suffer with stress regularly, this is higher than the global average. (World Health Survey, 2020) Men report significantly lower life satisfaction than women, with those aged 45 to 59 reporting the lowest levels of life satisfaction. (CSO, 2020) Research has shown that males are less likely to seek help for stress or any type of mental health problem, due to conformity to perceived notions of masculine norms . (Lynch et al., 2018, Staiger et al., 2020)
“STRESS: Someone Trying to Repair Every Situation Solo”
Stress is the body’s response to pressure or struggles. It often shows when we are in a new, unexpected experience or in situations we feel we have no control over. Stress is normal and affects everyone in different ways, however, when we are dealing with too much stress, this can have a negative impact on our bodies. Prolonged and excessive stress can lead to serious health complications, eating disorders or suicide. Males are less likely to speak about their problems or ask for help, yet, male suicide rates are triple that of females, each year in Ireland. (CSO, 2021)
What are the warning signs?
- A Change in Appetite (Eating more or less than normal)
- Mood Swings
- Tired and Lack Energy
- Not Sleeping Well
- Isolating themselves from family and friends
- Losing interest in things they usually enjoy
- Having unusual experiences, where they may see or hear things people don’t actually say or do.
- Angry Outbursts
“A Problem Shared, is a Problem Halved”
Top Tips for Stress Management :
- Use Stress Signals to Avoid Stress: If you feel tense muscles or your stomach is feeling unwell, these can be stress signals. Overtime, you will begin to recognise these stress signals which will help you distance yourself or avoid such situations.
- Know your limits: Never try to over do anything as that can cause major stress.
- Talk to somebody: Try to speak to someone either a family member or friend or whoever you feel you can trust to share your problems with and they may be able to offer some advice.
- Physical Activity: Exercise can help relieve stress, therefore, try and find a sport you enjoy and try to make an effort to regularly do this activity.
- Organise your stress: It can be handy to have a to-do-list for each day as this can help to just have everything in one place and can be a relief when you tick off each job as they are completed.
- Try to stay focused on what you can control: Often, we stress about things that we have no control over, such as, the way another person acts, but we are unable to control such things.
How to Talk to Someone or How to Help Someone?
Speaking to someone is beneficial for many, as often we have the same struggles or worries and often when people speak about their struggles, it takes a weight off their shoulders. It does not need to be a family member, it could be a friend, a work colleague or whoever you feel you can trust. Alternatively there are many different support lines, such as Men’s Aid Ireland or the HSE, that can offer advice if you would prefer to speak to someone you don’t know. If symptoms are making you unwell or if you feel the situation may be more serious, you should visit your GP.
Also, if you feel a family member or friend may be bottling something up or appears stressed, try to speak with them or do an activity they enjoy to take their mind off their worries for a while and encourage them to speak with you if they are having any problems.
Stress is a normal part of life and affects everyone, however, it affects each of us in different ways. Male sucide rates are still extremely high in Ireland. Therefore, try to be observant of these signs in yourself or in that of male friends or family members, as early as possible. Also, if you are a male dealing with stress, try to use some of the stress management techniques to try and cope with the stress in a better way.
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