June is Men’s Health Month. If you’re a man, are you taking proper care of yourself—and not just physically?
Wondering What Really Makes a Man
Gender-identity concerns aren’t exclusive to the LGBTQ demographic. “Born men,” with no desire to be anything else, face much pressure to be “men” in the stereotypical sense of emotionally invulnerable, capable without limits, able to take charge in any situation and fly solo at will. According to that line of thought, “real men” don’t become fatigued, show weakness, feel pain or need help.
Which can be seriously dangerous when a man does need help.
“Macho” Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
While most men are proud to work for their physical health (who wouldn’t want a muscular physique?), decades of social activism on gender issues haven’t eliminated the idea that it takes away from manhood to:
- Show tears or other signs of emotion
- Let human relationships interfere with striving for achievement
- Accept instruction from a woman (or a less “masculine” man)
- Ask anyone—even a Higher Power—for help
Conversely, it’s been considered acceptable for “real men” to start fistfights, drive twice the speed limit or get drunk—none of which does physical health any good, especially if someone is:
- Acting out stress he doesn’t want to manage in healthier but “weaker” ways
- Combining heavy drinking with other reckless behavior
- Using drugs to the point of dependence (one common symptom of addiction is neglecting exercise, nutrition and sleep)
“Weak” and Afraid to Admit It
Over half the 8 million Americans with co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness are men, yet women are 1.6 times more likely to receive professional treatment, and they seek treatment an average of six months earlier. Men with mental illness are more likely to “self-medicate,” potentially drinking themselves into co-occurring disorders. For men under 25, the risk is even greater because their brains are still developing, and they are the demographic most prone to reckless behavior.
However tough he seems to be, a man is in danger if his refusal to seek help allows a disorder to flourish unchecked. Men with substance use disorder and mental illness are at high risk for suicide as well as overdose and long-term health problems: their average lifespan is up to 14.6 years less than that of the general male population.
Don’t do that to yourself. Sometimes the most manly thing you can do is summon the courage to admit you need help—from professionals, peers and a Higher Power—to pull your life back together.
Health Tips for Men
A whole-self health plan—regular attention to your physical and mental and spiritual needs—will help maintain your health for a long, effective lifetime. Quick list of basic health habits everyone should cultivate:
- Eat plenty of lean proteins, whole grains and fresh produce
- Exercise your muscles and heart regularly
- Spend regular time outdoors
- Get 7–8 hours of sound sleep every night
- Drink lots of water, especially during sports and other vigorous activities
- Leave margin (and break time) in your to-do list to minimize stress
- Engage in daily spiritual practices such as prayer, guided meditation or journaling your feelings
- Cultivate strong personal relationships
- Maintain a positive attitude—enjoy life!
We Know What Men Need for Lasting Health
Spearhead Lodge specializes in treating chemical addiction and co-occurring mental illness in young adult men. We understand how the male mind functions and how men can best recover while staying strong and self-confident throughout. At Spearhead, you’ll meet counselors and like-minded peers who understand what you’re going through. You’ll become acquainted with other men who have walked the path of addiction and recovery, and you’ll learn you aren’t alone and don’t have to be.
No one is “man” enough to fix everything without help. Part of being strong is acknowledging what you can’t handle alone. Contact us today and get started on the road to a sound mind in a sound body!