It’s Men’s Health Week, and this year’s theme is ‘to take action on Covid-19. Having previously supported campaigns such as Movember through my hugely successful ‘MogaDad Talks’ initiative, I fully support the Men’s Health Forum’s efforts to raise awareness on men’s health issues, particularly during these unprecedented times.
This week allows us the opportunity to take stock on what it means to man in 2020. Fellow Yoga For Men teacher, the Wellness Warrior posted a powerful monologue earlier this week on this very topic. How important it is for men not to bottle things up, but to open their hearts, accept vulnerabilities in a way that enables men to be more authentic. How we can truly ‘man up’ by questioning our masculinity and explore opportunities.
The Wellness Warrior is right to challenge men on this. Movember’s campaign acknowledges that men’s health is in crisis, and this is largely for preventable reasons.
Men are dying on average 6 years younger than women
Unchecked prostate cancer rates will double over the next 15 years
Testicular cancer rates have doubled over the past 50 years
One man dies by suicide every minute of every day (75% of all suicides)
And, one of the most eye-opening statistics from Covid is this from Men’s Health Week.
The numbers of course only tell half the story. Underneath each of these is an individual man – someone that may play many different roles in life. Whether it’s as a father, partner, carer, worker, or even a yoga teacher, beneath the skin, we’re all the same.
By demonstrating values that resonate with us, we can better understand the positive impacts on ourselves and others. Whether it’s being kind, loving, self-caring, appreciative, or showing tolerance in challenging situations, each day presents new opportunities to be the man we can be, not the man that society thinks we should be.
I am not going to put myself up on a pedestal and say that I’m the perfect man. I want to be a positive male role model, but I don’t always get it right. I know that I struggle to open up emotionally, and be more loving with those that I care about the most. I have a short fuse, act irrationally and lose my temper. I am easily distracted, and struggle to stay focused on one thing at a time. We are all human, and it’s important to acknowledge this.
To not beat ourselves up for insecurities, but recognise that by being more self-aware as we think, feel, act in different situations we can grow as a man, and be the best representation of ourselves. Acknowledging this as a life-time journey of self-discovery.
To mark Men’s Health Week, I’ve recorded a 2-minute video that provides a brief history of YogaDad, and a few insights into my different roles in life. I hope you enjoy watching.