We all get stressed from time to time, but the question is, how do you beat stress?
This is the 2016 theme to Men’s Health Week which is from the 13th-19th June.
There is no secret about it, most men are awful at talking about how they are feeling and they will do anything to get out of speaking up about it. It was only recently, after having a meeting with a client to talk about our app, that I came out realising that I’ve suffered with anxiety in the past. When I was 15, I was playing football for Bishops Stortford FC youth system, and I was expecting to go into the first team when old enough. It was a big step for me when I had to sign my contract at the football stadium, and it gave me an insight in to what my future could become.
I was playing for a team where all the players lived in Bishops Stortford, they all went to school together and were all friends outside of football. I lived 30 minutes away and only saw them at training and match day. I didn’t feel part of the team, I felt alone. It got to a stage where I was so unhappy, I wanted to leave. The issue for me was that I didn’t want to let my parents down. I didn’t know how to tell them that I just wanted to play in the same team as my mates from school again, even though I’d been given a huge opportunity.
I remember feeling confused, frustrated, lots of emotions – but I didn’t really know how to make sense of them or what I was actually going through. I just felt like I couldn’t tell them how I felt. Eventually, after worrying for days and weeks, I wrote them a letter. I put it on their bed and waited in my room for them to read it. The reaction, as I knew it would be, was relief. They rushed into my room and gave me the biggest hug and said they just wanted what was best for me – I knew that all along, they always supported my decisions but I just didn’t know how to say it to them. I found a way to communicate, but many young men don't. That is what can result eventually in a more serious condition.
I’m sure we can all look back on a situation in our life where we haven’t been able to talk about something and it has affected you for not talking about it. It’s only now that I’m older and more understanding of mental health that I can now make sense of it, and realised what I was feeling back then.
During Men’s Health Week, the main message is to try and get men to talk – whether it be to your friends, family or trained experts. Research by Mental Health Foundation has shown the importance of having a range of healthy relationships as being the missing part of the wellbeing puzzle. (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/podcasts-and-videos/relationships-missing-piece-wellbeing-puzzle)
What do you do to beat stress?
Personally, I exercise whether it be going for a run, playing football or going to the gym. This helps me as I get away from everything and it helps me clear my head. I’m concentrating on the activity and interacting with other people - rather than the subject that is stressing me out.
One in four people will suffer with a mental health problem, if we can help men deal with beating stress, we are helping with those odds of men developing a mental health condition.
Men, it’s our week, let’s talk about it!