Historically, men’s health and wellbeing has been ignored. Men have been prone to avoiding taking any real responsibility for their wellness. They have focused instead on being a ‘real man’ and living life with a seemingly indifferent attitude to their health and appearance. Hard-working men rocking their ‘dad bod’ beer bellies could swagger safely home for a quick shower after a long day’s work and then slump on the sofa. Overall, the idea of men’s wellness is ignored.
In most societies around the world, women are conditioned to think of themselves as the weaker sex, and men as the dominant ones. Gender roles and notions of femininity and masculinity mean that men and women are encouraged to act in different ways, even down to how they take care of themselves.
Women are left, quite literally, to look after themselves. With a social history of being the stay-at-home partner, expected to take care of themselves physically due to social pressures, making use of a gym or taking exercise classes in their free time is a social norm. Alongside this, careful hairstyling and the use of a variety of beauty products such as moisturizers all add up to significantly more effort to maintain a wellness standard, before we even begin to look at the amazing variety of fragrances and make-up products out there.
Masculinity versus wellness
Whilst there is little doubt that this pressure to sustain a healthy lifestyle and perfect appearance is itself proof that woman have been forced into a more objectified role, the fact of the matter is that as social trends have changed in the last 20-30 years, rather than going away, wellness has begun to spread into the land of the ‘real man’.
This might not be a bad thing. Despite access to better opportunities and privileges than women, men have a lower life expectancy. Whilst lifestyle choices will have a major part in this, there is also the toxic issue of the way men deal with their poor health. Statistics show that men will visit their GP on average 4 times a year and are more likely to only visit a doctor if they feel there is a serious problem, whilst women will be willing to seek advice from doctors up to 6 times a year and will seek advice from pharmacies up to 18 times as much. Women are accepting invitations for breast screening and cervical smears, whilst men will put off having their prostate exam when the letter comes through. Seeking help is seen as ‘un-manly’ and there is a prevalent attitude amongst men that they should ‘get over it’ and ‘grow a pair’.
Why are men the harder ‘sell’ on wellness?
As discussed above, men find it harder to take care of themselves, both and emotionally.
One significant barrier to men’s entry into the world of wellness is simply a lack of knowledge. Women are exposed to a plethora of information on ways to use beauty products in magazines, TV shows, and from friends and family. Department stores have female staff throughout their beauty halls able to demonstrate and color match. Men have had to suffice with a smaller range of products aimed at them on a shelf somewhere out of the way and are prone to be suspicious of products that they are not familiar with, resulting in lower sales and less interest in them in return by the beauty industry.
Whilst men might be no stranger to the gym, the range of spin classes, yoga sessions, and other such activities have been the domain of women. For all the brashness of our ‘real men’ friends out there, not one of them wants to be the first to stride through the door and work up a sweat in the middle of a group of women at a body tone session.
And that right there is the real crux of why men have been harder to reach. Fear. Much of the previous generations have grown in a culture where ‘a man is a man’ and within that little statement is a problematic set of rules. Seeking help, looking silly in front of women, or showing any emotion are all areas that might be deemed unmasculine.
Men should join the wellness culture
If you are still clinging to that image of masculinity, let us help you with this one bit of advice. Be Brave. We don’t mean that you should go fight a tiger, we’re sure you’d do that just fine. Instead, take a deep breath and check the options out there for you. Maybe a bit of face cream could help with that itchy patch, or resolve a problem with unbalanced and oily skin.
Maybe you are growing out a fantastic beard. Well, beard grooming is wrapped up in the wellness culture too, so explore beard oils to help it be less itchy, whilst also looking great.
You do not need to start buying up every product out there. In fact, we strongly recommend that you don’t, but if taking the time to look after yourself gives an overall healthier life experience and an extra 6 years to live, men certainly need to open up to the idea of wellness.
Keeping oneself happy, healthy, and engaged with aspects of wellness is important, but valued at $4.2 trillion, the wellness industry is keen on helping you part with your cash. We aren’t suggesting you join a faddish diet or a cult that has sprung up around an online personality or brand. There are plenty of people out there ready to take your money and sell you a dream, so do your research before committing to anything new and trendy.
That said, we can offer you a few excellent starting points.
Tips on escaping the toxic world of men’s wellness
Here is our quick and common sense guide to getting started with wellness.
Get more sleep
Getting a healthy night’s sleep is great for you. It helps maintain a healthy immune system, preventing you from getting sick as often. It also helps you to stay at a healthy weight and lowers your risk of serious health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease. It also improves your general mood and stress, opening you up to being more proactive in your day.
Exercise a little more
It stands to reason that exercise will result in an improvement in your overall health and helps control your weight. It also helps control your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of diabetes. It will put you in a great mood and can even help you stop smoking.
Limit your smoking and drinking
You saw where we were heading there, didn’t you? But it’s true, smoking and drinking alcohol are both very bad for you. Whilst this might be particularly hard for some people, if you find you’re mostly a social drinker and smoker you might be able to easily reduce the amount of both that you do, improving your health within weeks and for the long term.
Try less screen time
Screen time is addictive and can lead to you becoming quite isolated. Try stepping away from your devices and interact with people face to face, or go for a relaxing stroll to enjoy a little nature. In addition, the blue light from most devices will result in a delay in being able to get off to sleep. We have a bunch of tips on how you can get started.
Try some products, start small
Ask a friend for advice and see if there is something that can help you with a problem. You might want something for your skin health or a product for your hair. It doesn’t hurt to ask a friend or do a search online for advice. If the product you are interested in offers a ‘mens’ and ‘womens’ version, check both, as brands often put the same product in different packaging and at differing prices.