Back in mid June it was Men’s Health Week 2016. Did you know about it? I must admit I didn't see a huge amount of coverage, which is a shame as men really do need a kick up the tush sometimes when it comes to looking after themselves!
This year’s theme is Beating Stress. Whether it’s running out of clean pants or getting 31 phone calls in one day from ex-wife/boss/PPI claim lines we all have a level of stress to tackle which, unless dealt with, can become a serious health problem. Heart disease, mental health issues and some cancers can all be brought on by chronic stress that has been left to fester. Did you know that 1 in 4 men will develop a mental health problem this year and a major cause of that is stress?
But telling people you can’t cope or that you’re too stressed isn’t very manly is it? Shouldn’t men be keeping things bottled up and appear to everyone around them that they’re strong and silent?
John Dennis is a chap who knows first-hand how bad things can get when you bottle it all up. John is a strapping Kiwi rugby player who has suffered (and still is suffering) from debilitating PTSD and depression. He believes a big part of his initial refusal to accept his condition is down to the stigma associated with mental health and not wanting to admit that he needed help.
Since coming to terms with his condition, John has set up a charity called Expedition Dare2Express so that he can raise awareness for mental health issues and encourage people to have the courage to talk about how they feel. To dare people to express themselves.
Depression can be an incredibly isolating condition. I know first-hand just how isolating it can make you feel. Not wanting to talk to anyone because you don’t think you have anything to offer. But as John has shown, talking about how you feel can make a huge difference to your well-being and recovery.
Easier said than done, because it’s so easy to stay in your comfort zone, whether you suffer with mental health illness or not. John has set himself the ultimate challenge to get out of that comfort zone and prove to himself exactly what he is capable of. His goal is to complete a solo trek to the South Pole with the ultimate goal of raising as much awareness for mental health issues as possible.
After listening to a talk by John recently, something that immediately stuck with me was the importance of feeling connected to the people around you and creating a sense of community. How you don’t need to go far to have your own adventure, no matter how big or small.
Just open your front door. Get to know your neighbours. Explore and go on your own adventure. Get outside and breathe in the fresh air.
Dare to express yourself.
Do go and check out the Expedition Dare2Express page here and show your support, even if it’s just a few words of encouragement. You can find further information about Men’s Health Week here. I’d love you to share your experiences and if you have any stress busting tips then please share!
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