Jasmine Eskenzi, founder of The Zensory, outlines some tips for rest and relaxation, particularly in as we build towards the end of the year.
November has been men’s mental health awareness month and it’s important that we take time to reflect on the wellbeing of our friends and family, as well as ourselves. So often men’s mental health is overlooked, especially when it comes to that of working men who are trying to navigate how to have a healthy work life balance. In fact, a Modern Families Index study revealed that 50% of fathers said that balancing work and family life was increasingly a source of stress.
For one reason or another, we often don’t associate ‘traditional’ wellbeing practices with men – but it’s time to change that. We should start by reframing wellbeing as a way to quickly check in and ground ourselves. It’s a way to prioritise your own mental wellbeing and can be a great way to boost your mood.
In fact, many men may already be incorporating wellbeing practices into their lives and not realising it. Exercise is just one way that you can take time for yourself, let off steam and release endorphins. It has been reported that over 20% of men participate in sports, exercise, and recreational activities every day. However, working dads may struggle to incorporate an hour or two of exercise into their busy days, especially when the demands of home life can be so large. Luckily, there are many quick alternatives that can be done anywhere.
The top five things working fathers can do to improve their mental wellbeing:
Looking for something you can do anywhere and everywhere at any time for free? Just breathe! Learning to harness the power of your breath is a quick way to make you feel better. Deep breathing will help oxygenate your blood and nourish your entire body.
For relaxing you might want to try ‘three-part breathing’. You can do this by placing your hand on your lower tummy and the other on your chest. Slowly start to fill your lower tummy up partially with breath and gently exhale. On your second inhale, inhale to your stomach and then your chest and gently exhale. On your third and final breath, breathe into your stomach then your chest and then your shoulders and exhale.
What if I said that chocolate could be good for you? It might just be a win that research has shown that by eating 70% cocoa dark chocolate you can reduce stress hormones, including cortisol. But it’s not just dark chocolate, eggs, oatmeal, seeds, yoghurt and oranges have a similar effect!
If you’re looking for a drink that will help you relax, look no further than chamomile tea. Yes, it might feel like the thing of a Grandparent’s cupboard, but its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties mean they had something right.
There are many pressure points across the body that can be used to help you relax. ‘Acupressure’ (the scientific name) is aimed to help release muscle tension and promote blood circulation through working along energy points in the body.
For relaxing, sit back comfortably and place your right thumb or forefinger between your eyebrows.
Apply gentle pressure in a circular motion on this point as you take 5 deep slow breaths.
Massage this point for 45 seconds – 1 minute whenever you feel you need it during your day.
Looking for an exercise you can use to relax at your desk before a meeting or if you need a pick me up? Try fifteen slow shoulder rolls (this should take about 5 minutes). Roll your shoulder forward 15 circulations and then inhale and exhale gently and roll your shoulders backwards for 15 circulations. Let the stress fall away!
So, as we come to the end of Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month remember to keep taking some time for yourself in whatever form you can and try these quick and easy wellbeing tips.