1 in 4 adults in Australia experiences depression or anxiety in their lifetime. The average adult says “I’m fine” 14 times a week, and only 19% mean it. Busy is the norm and life in the 21st century is very demanding. Men are expected to be the breadwinner, the thoughtful husband, and the doting family man, but at the same time are faced with a culture which defines ‘manliness’ as being independent, indestructible and often absent of feelings.
BUT men are human beings, and like all human beings, we experience anger, sadness, stress and nervousness just as much as you experience joy, curiosity and fulfillment. These kinds of experiences are often unacknowledged, unspoken and shameful, and leave men feeling ‘weak’ or ‘defective’, AND they impact the areas of life that are valued most, things like your family and your work.
Every man is valuable and every man is his own best resource - YOU need to be ok within yourself, well looked after in the important ways, and well supported for the hard times, to be able to be the employee, father and husband that you want to be.
Self-care is key!
Why is Self-care so important? When you focus on self-care:
- Your mental health is in better shape
- Your stress levels decrease, negating the negative impacts of stress
- You perform better in all aspects
- You are simply more available and present for your loved ones
Self-care requires developing an awareness of what you’re feeling, taking cues from the kinds of thoughts you are having and how you feel in your body.
Some of the things you might recognise that let you know things are not right include:
- Negative thoughts about yourself or others. For example “Everyone else has it together, except me”, “Why does nobody support me?”, “Everyone is against me”, “Nobody cares about me”.
- Finding it hard to concentrate, focus or feel energised.
- Lack of motivation or interest in things you usually enjoy.
- Withdrawing from those around you.
- Feeling tension in your neck, shoulders, stomach or hands.
It ain't weak to speak!
You need to be able to let someone know how you’re really going and what you’re feeling. It might be your partner, a colleague, a friend, a DadBod, a doctor or psychologist - it doesn’t matter who it is, but we know that TALKING about our experiences is one of the best strategies human beings have to process things. Feeling socially connected is key to this - knowing you have a mate or a group of mates who you can check in with, whether it’s about the footy score, your kid’s latest tantrum, or your stress at work; social connection and belonging is what sustains us. And fortunately for you, that’s exactly what you’ll find in the DadBods community!
So how can you look after yourself?
- Talk to someone
- Take some time out from work or family - start with 10 minutes to yourself, for yourself
- Do something you enjoy - read a book, listen to music, play a sport
- Do something to relax - do some stretches, workout, turn off all electronics, meditate, get a massage
What defines ‘looking after yourself’ will be different for everyone but it should be seen as a necessary investment in YOURSELF. This investment in yourself will produce the best version of you, which will in turn allow you to be the best version of yourself in all of your roles in life.
Good self-care should be:
- Consistent and habitual - it is not a ‘one-off’ behaviour; it needs to be practised consistently
- Well rounded - it should positively affect your physical, mental and emotional self
- Guilt-free - remember that you’re worthy of looking after yourself
Sometimes, knowing how you feel and taking some steps to look after yourself is not always enough. There are a range of other supports available to you. If you or anyone you know is experiencing difficulty, please contact any of the following free help lines: