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– Desmond Tutu
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Stop Searching For How To Be A Better Person Everyday

75% of all suicides in the UK are men.

Men are constantly told to ‘man up’, keep their emotions buried and that they need to do more to provide for families, colleagues and friends. They need to be good at sports, have a thriving career and a wide social circle.

When it feels like society is constantly telling you that you’re not good enough, you start searching for how to be a better person every day.

When you realise there are no one-size-fits-all answers, or these how-to articles (with images!) don’t work – too often it leads to complete disregard for your own health, happiness and life.

One of the biggest challenges for men today is learning how to let go of this need to be perfect and just focus on being ourselves. We have so much potential without having to be a different version of ourselves, and it’s time for us to start tapping into that!

Discover The Power Of Self-Love

It’s no secret that most of us are our own worst critics. We are constantly thinking of everything going wrong in our lives, pushing and pushing to be better at everything we do. It’s not a healthy habit.

One of the best things we can do, as cliche as it may sound, is to learn to love ourselves unconditionally. This means accepting ourselves for who we are, flaws and all. Remembering we are human. When we are able to do this, it opens up a whole world of possibilities and allows us to lead much happier, more fulfilling lives.

It’s not about learning how to be a better person every day, it is about realising our ‘best’ may not be the same each week. Energy levels, emotions, and stress all play a part in where our goals lie for that day. Flexibility is not a weakness, it is a necessity.

Talk kindly to yourself

The first step to realising your worth is probably easier said than done. However, it is one thing that’s quick to implement and we can do every day. Men don’t tend to be ones for affirmations…

But making a point to avoid using negative self-talk such as “I’m so stupid” or “I’ll never be good enough” can be the start you need. This language is what forms a habit for many men and can often stem from what people close to us have said or what we’ve heard online.

Begin talking about yourself as you would talk to a loved one. The first step towards a better relationship with anyone is how you speak to them.

It forms the foundation of your bond. It can be hard to get out of the cycle, especially if your support circle is small or nonexistent. But the best thing we can do for ourselves is to recognise the positives in what we do no matter how hard it may be or how infrequent it is.

Compliment yourself. You deserve it.

Set realistic goals

One of the main reasons we end up feeling like failures are because we set unrealistic goals for ourselves. We expect too much of ourselves and then get disappointed when we don’t meet these high standards.

Part of learning who you are is realising that we are only human and that it’s okay to make mistakes. Not setting or recognising your boundaries is often what stands in a man’s way. You push and push to do more because you believe that is what’s expected. But in reality, you’re falling further and further into exhaustion and burnout.

One way to avoid this is by realising what your mind and body are capable of at different times. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, saying no and adjusting your goals are a huge part of looking after yourself. When we do this, we are much more likely to achieve these goals and get that needed boost of serotonin along the way.

Improve the boundaries within your life and you’ll soon realise that other people do the same thing. Does it bother you when a friend backs out of that concert or your other half says they’re too tired to wash up one day? Probably not.

That is just a basic version of recognising when they need to do a little bit less than normal. We don’t run at 110% all the time and people will be more understanding of that than you think. It does not make you weak. In fact, it makes you mentally stronger.

Focus on your strengths

We’re all guilty of getting hung up on things that don’t go to plan. We all have different gifts and talents, and it’s important to focus on these instead of what we perceive as weaknesses. When we focus on our strengths, it allows us to build upon them and create even more success for ourselves.

Men see so much about physical strength and mental barriers in their lives that it is easy to become fixated on what we can’t do instead of what we can.

Stop thinking that men can’t express emotions.

Stop thinking that men can’t be sad.

Stop thinking that men can’t ask for help.

Stop thinking that men need to be better.

This creates a negative spiral that is hard to break out of.

The next time you find yourself dwelling on shortcomings, take a step back and think about your strengths instead. Write them down if you need to! This will help to refocus your attention and give you a more positive outlook.

Start thinking about what made you happy today.

Start thinking about what went well for you.

Start thinking about one task (big or small) you were able to complete.

Start thinking about one person you made smile today.

Everyone has different gifts and talents, so use yours to your advantage!

Every Day Is Another Chance To Change Your Life

You woke up today. Congratulations!

Seriously, even opening their eyes in the morning is an achievement for many men because it means they haven’t given up the day before.

Taking the time to read this article means you’re doing something for YOU today. That is all that matters right now.

Stop Looking For How To Be A Better Person Every Day

Giving yourself one extra day, one extra week or one extra year is 1, 7 or 365 more chances to change your life in any way you want to. That means reading that book you’ve had sitting on the shelf for a month, or even going back to school.

You don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to start living the life you want – so go out there and do it! You always have tomorrow if today doesn’t feel like the right time. There’s no deadline for being happy. So stop searching for how to be a better person every day and just do you.

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6 Ways We Can Combat Overthinking Together

We’ve all been there. Stuck in our heads, allowing the same thoughts and worries to replay over and over again. We relive conversations and play out alternative endings. It is a huge drain on our mental health and can get to a level where it triggers anxiety, PTSD, depression and even borderline personality disorder.

Trying to combat overthinking takes practice and patience, but can save lives.

How Do I Know If It’s Normal?

The horrible thing is that you can often mistake it for problem-solving. Constantly asking questions, trying to figure out why or what if. The difference between the two is that one is actually trying to find an answer.

On the other hand, overthinking leaves you in a dark hole. Instead of looking for answers or solutions to a problem, we simply dwell on what happened or even what didn’t happen. Thinking about the ‘what ifs’ rarely leads to you feeling any better so what role does it play in our lives?

Well, the truth is – it doesn’t. Looking back you may even realise that there never was a problem. You have created one because of obsessing over one insignificant detail.

If you are trying to figure out whether you are just problem-solving or reminiscing, ask these questions:

  • Are you second-guessing a decision?
  • Are you replaying a ‘mistake’ you made?
  • Are you imagining the worst-case scenario?
  • Are you obsessing over something that can’t be changed?

If the answer is yes, it is time to combat overthinking.

Let’s look at some ways to do just that with the help of our amazing followers.

1 . Look At The Bigger Picture

When you’re feeling lost in your thoughts, it’s easy to focus on the negatives and think about all of the things that could go wrong. Instead, try and take a step back.

Look at your current situation and ask yourself: what are the chances of this actually happening? Is this really as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be? If you can manage to look at the situation from a different perspective, you’ll likely realise that it’s probably not nearly as bad as you thought.

An example of this would be if you’re worried about a job interview. Yes, it is nerve-wracking but try and remember that there are plenty of other opportunities out there. The worst-case scenario is not getting the job – but that’s not the end of the world because you can (or already have) applied for more.

Think about how small of a drop in the ocean this one thing is. You have a whole life behind you and a whole other one ahead. It is what you make it and if something steers you in a different direction, so be it. You can still make the most of any outcome.

2 . Get Outside

We are lucky enough to live on a beautiful planet where there is so much nature has to offer. Take some time out of your day to combat overthinking, even if it’s just for 5 minutes and go for a walk outside.

Stick on some headphones and drown out the world if you have to. But you’ll find you can really clear your head when you’re surrounded by fresh air. It helps you remember what is truly important in life, reminding you of that bigger picture again.

If you can, try and find a place where there are trees or a body of water. Spend some time sitting in silence, taking in your surroundings and enjoying the peace that comes with it. Let nature work its magic and take away any negative thoughts or feelings you have been harbouring.

Remember how lucky you are to have this life and how huge the world around you is. With so much space comes so many new opportunities. There isn’t just one path for us – life is a winding road.

3 . Stay Present

When we start thinking about the future or dwelling on the past, it’s easy to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of ‘what ifs’ and ‘should haves’. It removes us from the moment we are in and takes away the ability to enjoy the present.

The thing is, we can’t change what has already happened and we don’t know what will happen in the future. All we have is right now so making the most of it is really the only viable option. The decisions you make now are the ones that matter most. In 5 minutes it might not matter, but right now – it does.

As well as this, trying to stay in the present can be the perfect way to improve or build relationships. It gives you more time to invest in the people you love. Remember that these are the same people who could be supporting you through these tough times.

Voice your anxieties. Talk to them and you may find it even easier to focus on right now. Our friends and families are invaluable resources for mental health.

4 . Meditate & Reflect

A great way to ensure you’re letting go of certain thoughts and problems is through mindfulness. It allows you to focus on your thoughts and feelings in the present moment without judgement. Once you become more aware of them, you can start to control them instead of letting them take over your mind.

You can be mindful of anything – from the food you are eating to the way your body feels when you’re out for a run. The key is to focus on your senses and really experience everything around you.

This process can be done through meditation. Start simple and sit in silence for a couple of minutes focusing on your breath. Empty your mind and try to pinpoint small changes in your body. The speed of your breath, the way each part of your body feels, and the sensation of relaxing each individual muscle.

Alternatively, many people use journaling as a form of reflection and meditation. It is a great way to combat overthinking because it offers you a place to leave those worries behind. Set aside 10 minutes each day to think, worry, plan and write everything down as you do it. Then, when those 10 minutes are up – forget it all.

Instead of using your mind as a place to store these thoughts, you are using the paper. It frees up more room for positivity.

Incorporating this into your daily routine will help you to feel more grounded and present in every moment. You may find your overthinking starts to dissipate because you’re no longer ruminating on the past or worrying about the future.

5 . Limit Screen Time

This is a tough one because we’re so used to having screens around us all the time. But if you find yourself frequently checking social media, reading the news or browsing the internet – it might be time for a break.

It’s not just about removing distractions, but also giving your mind a much-needed break from stimuli. When we’re constantly bombarded with new information, our minds never have a chance to relax and process everything that’s going on. This can lead to anxiety and stress which in turn exacerbates overthinking.

Try setting some limits for yourself. Whether it’s an hour before bedtime or only using your phone on weekends, give yourself some screen-free time every day. You might be surprised at how much more productive and creative you feel without constant access to the internet.

6 . Reach Out For Help

If you find that your overthinking is really starting to take a toll on your mental health, it’s important to reach out for help. Talk to a therapist, counsellor or even just a trusted friend or family member.

Opening up about how you’re feeling can be really tough, but it’s so worth it. Having someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through can make all the difference. You might even realise that you’re not alone in how you’re feeling which can be a huge relief.

Remember that there is no shame in asking for help. We all need support at times and there is nothing wrong with admitting that you need a little extra assistance.

If you still don’t feel there is anyone around you who can help or just listen, join us at a HUMEN Space. They are anonymous and non-clinical safe spaces for men to talk, listen and connect regularly.

It’s free and we are back in person post-pandemic. No judgement, just sharing.

Combat overthinking Together

We all know how easy it is to get caught up in our thoughts. But by implementing some of these tips, we can start to take back control. Our mission is to offer the safe space men need. The right to talk is not a privilege, it is a basic human need. Sometimes we need help and collaboration to get to where we need to be.

It’s important to remember that we’re not alone in this fight. Talk to your friends and family, join us at a HUMEN Space or see a therapist. The most important thing is that we continue working towards a brighter future – one thought at a time.

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Ways To Support Your Loved Ones & Things That Make Depression Worse

Men in particular can find it hard to talk about what they are feeling and often won’t want to talk at all. It is important we make it clear that no judgement is being passed and that they have the choice between us offering solutions or simply just listening.

We know it can be hard to reassure people in a negative mindset and so we are going to discuss some of the best ways to support someone who is struggling in the hopes that the men in your life feel they can open up.

Common Mistakes

For people who haven’t experienced mental health issues like anxiety or depression or perhaps have don’t have a grasp on how to manage it, being faced with someone struggling can leave you in an awkward position.

Many may even be under the false belief that mental health issues are not as bad as the person may be letting on. In this case, we’d like to remind you that it’s usually the complete opposite.
Men tend to put on a facade around others – pretending like everything is fine when in reality they are desperate for help.

Thinking the person can just get over it or feel better overnight is one of the main things that make depression worse. Here’s what NOT to say to a loved one who’s struggling.

“It’s all in your head"

No, it isn’t. There could very well be a hugely traumatic event that catalysed these feelings. Similarly, built up over time – mental health can just keep declining. The more time men spend suppressing these emotions instead of getting help, the worse it can become.

“Cheer up"

Anyone with depression would love it if it was that simple. Even though there can be good days and bad days – even then the negativity isn’t just forgotten about. Underneath that happy face are the true emotions just waiting to break through when no one is around.

Oftentimes things that make depression worse also mean it’s harder to do the things we love and that would usually ‘cheer us up’ – so no matter how hard someone tries, it’s just not that simple.

“I’m sure it’s not that bad"

Everyone experiences mental health challenges differently. Some may be impacted more greatly than others and some will struggle to manage these feelings.

Just because you have down days and come out the other side, doesn’t mean it’s the same for your loved ones. Telling them this almost dismisses their feelings and can leave that person feeling more alone than ever.

“Look on the bright side"

It’s all well and good thinking there is a bright side. However, for most suffering – one of the hardest things to do is to focus on the good. Instead, an overwhelming feeling of dread and burden clouds above – overshadowing any glimpse of light you may expect them to feel grateful for.

“Just think positive"

Similarly to the above point, when someone is so filled with negative thoughts, they begin to believe this is the only life for them. Intrusive thoughts and negative feelings begin to feel more real than anything else and can take over.

Even thinking positively can often lead to overthinking and withdrawing for things and people they love.

Ways You Can Support Someone With Depression

Now that we know a few of the things NOT to say, let’s focus on some more positive and effective ways you can show your support.

“I’m here for you"

This is one of the most important things you can say. Being there for someone means being available to talk when they need it but also giving them space when they need it too. Just knowing you have someone to rely on can be a huge weight off their shoulders.

No matter what they need, you are opening yourself up as a safe space and reassuring them that they are not alone in this. Talking can be hard for men, so let your person know you’re there for whatever they need.

“I believe you"

A lot of men feel like they need to be strong and so they bottle up their emotions instead of talking about how they’re really feeling. By saying this, we are validating how he feels and letting him know his feelings are valid.

It can be easy to doubt yourself when you’re feeling low, so this is a way of showing your support and boosting his confidence.

“Thank you for telling me"

This one might seem small, but it can make a world of difference. When someone opens up about their mental health, it’s a big deal. It takes guts and courage to do so and we should be grateful that they trust us enough to confide in us.

Saying thank you reinforces that what they’re doing is okay and that we are not judging them. This simple act of kindness can go a long way in making them feel comfortable talking about their mental health with us.

“I’m sorry"

We all make mistakes and sometimes we say things without thinking about how they might affect someone else. If you accidentally say something that upsets or hurts your loved one, don’t be afraid to apologise.

This shows them that you care about their feelings and want to make things right. It also shows them that it’s okay to make mistakes – we all do it.

“How are you really doing?"

Asking open-ended questions is a great way to start a conversation about mental health. It allows your loved one to share as much or as little as they want and gives you a better understanding of how they’re feeling.

It’s important to follow up with this question and really listen to the answer. Showing genuine interest in their mental health will make them feel cared for and appreciated.

“Is there anything I can do to help?"

This is another great question to ask because it shows that you’re willing to help in any way you can. Sometimes people suffering from depression just need someone to lend a helping hand.

It could be something as small as running an errand for them or taking the dog for a walk. Other times there may be nothing at all. Not everyone knows what they need right away. Whatever it is, let them know you’re there and willing to help out however and whenever you can.

Not A Talker? Try This

If your loved one isn’t the type to talk about their feelings, that’s okay. Not everyone is and that doesn’t make them any less valid. Here are a few things you can do to support someone who struggles to open up about their mental health:

  • Spend time with them doing activities they enjoy
  • Listen to them without judgement
  • Offer help with self-care tasks or day-to-day chores
  • Encourage them to seek professional help if they’re struggling
  • Point them in the direction of something that may have helped you in the past

Mental health is often seen as a taboo topic, especially for men. Society tells us we need to be strong and not show weakness. These are some of the things that make depression worse and can make it hard for men to reach out for help when they’re struggling. As loved ones, it’s important that we do what we can to support them.

Talking about it truthfully can be traumatic. It’s often triggering for someone to express their thoughts if they aren’t ready to do so. Just making the effort to make their lives a little easier, giving them less to worry about and proving their worth is a great start to healing.

Avoiding The Things That Make Depression Worse

These are just a few of the many ways you can show your support for someone struggling with mental health. Just remember to be patient, kind, and understanding. We all have mental health and some of us need a little more help than others.

If you or someone you know is struggling, there are resources available. Your GP can offer tailored advice as well as approach charities like Mind and ourselves for safe spaces to express and relate to others on the same journey.

No one should have to suffer from mental health alone. We are all in this together. Let’s continue to support each other and break the stigma surrounding mental health.

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Workplace Wellbeing: How Many Mental Health Days Are Too Many?

The answer, quite frankly, is that there is no such thing as taking too many days to better your wellbeing.

Employers are going to have to realise that they can also benefit from allowing employees to take time off. It’s becoming clear that businesses should be encouraging this type of behaviour rather than stigmatising it.

The risks of burnout and poor mental health in the workplace greatly outweigh the risks of a few days off. So why is it still so frowned upon?

Workplace Stress

There are many reasons relating to work that cause people to suffer from poor mental health. According to recent studies, the top reasons are:

Unclear job expectations

When you feel like you’re working your absolute hardest and getting only criticism or nothing at all back – it is definitely going to put you down. If you feel like you can’t please your boss or meet their expectations, it’s important to have a discussion about this before it crushes your confidence. Chances are, it’s not you – it’s them.

Lack of social support

Having someone to confide in or speak to about problems is crucial for healthy working relationships and a positive environment. If you’re not comfortable with anyone at work, try and build bridges outside of office hours or confide in friends and family that may have had a similar experience.

Workload

An unmanageable workload is one of the most common reasons for stress in the workplace and wondering how many mental health days is too many. If you’re constantly under pressure and struggling to complete tasks – it can quickly take over and affect your home life too.

Lack of control

This usually comes hand in hand with the workload. If you’re not given the opportunity to have a say in how you work or what tasks you complete, it can feel very monotonous and unchallenging. This can lead to boredom and feeling like your job has no purpose. Employers are at great risk of losing loyal employees for this reason.

If any of these resonate with you, it is important to start looking at your workplace and see what, if anything, can be done to change the situation. If not, it may be time to consider a new job.

When To Book A Day Off

Ideally, we want to be proactive about our mental health. This means not leaving it until a crisis hits before doing something about it, but sustaining a level that works for you.

Firstly, booking a day in advance will guarantee your workplace has someone to cover your role. For many people, the stress of coming back to missed deadlines can actually be the main reason for not taking time off in the first place.

Also, planning your time gives you a chance to organise things that make you happy – utilising this time off as best you can and ensuring it is the most beneficial for when you return.

However, we understand that bad days can also creep up unexpectedly. If you feel particularly overwhelmed, depressed or run down – don’t be afraid to stop and take a day to recover.

Just as your body needs to fight off illness, you need rest and proper time to reflect on your wellbeing in order to get back to where you were.

How Many Mental Health Days Is Too Many?

This question really baffles us.

Why? Because we fully understand that you can’t always control how you feel. Through no fault of your own, one week may be the worst week ever, even after a day of fun and laughter.

So just like you have no say over getting ill, taking time off for this is no different. It is important we remember to slow things down when our bodies tell us to.

Mental health should always come first. So if you’re finding that stress has taken over and no matter how much time you take to recover, it is never enough – it’s time to rethink.

Although, we are aware that statutory sick pay in the UK only offers a fraction of the average salary. It’s not enough to live on with a mortgage or rent to pay as well as yourself and perhaps a family to look after.

Due to this, more and more people are forcing themselves to ‘power on’ and simply repress their feelings until they get home – breaking down and failing to do even the most basic of self-care tasks.

This worry sits even more strongly with men who, for the most part, still sit as the main breadwinner in most families. The thought of losing out on even a day’s pay is enough to make them suffer in silence.

The reality is that taking a small amount of time away early on in your journey can prevent you from taking multiple days or even weeks and months off down the line.

Don’t let it reach a crisis, because that is the point where it becomes harder to dig your way out again.

Why Aren’t Companies Promoting This?

Before Covid hit us like a tonne of bricks, around 25% of people admitted to experiencing poor mental health. Today, we’re looking at that figure being more over the 50% mark.

We’re entering our second pandemic of this generation. And it’s not one that can be fixed with vaccines.

It goes without saying that employee wellness is critical to a business running at full productivity and achieving the results it desires. So the fact that people are still asking how many mental health days is too many shows that these statistics haven’t quite sunk in yet.

Promoting and encouraging time off for well-being comes with a host of benefits for the employer as well as the employee.

Improved Productivity

Healthier employees mean happier employees. Allowing people to take time off will lead them to become more resilient and capable of carrying out their roles to a high standard.

It will also enable them to improve their problem-solving skills and have a clearer head when coming to work each day. Reduced stress and worry result in increased productivity and engagement, in turn producing a better return for the business.

A More Positive Workplace Culture

When an organisation is open and proactive about looking after its staff, it immediately creates a better working environment.

This results in improved communication, greater collaboration and overall higher morale. We hope you’d agree when we say that it’s far more likely we’d do better and be more motivated in a place we feel accepted and listened to.

Reduced Absenteeism

The main concern for most employers is absenteeism. It leads to deadlines being missed and losing skilled, loyal team members. However, encouraging mental health days will almost certainly result in less time being taken off long-term.

In fact, studies have shown that for every pound spent on workplace wellness programs, there is a return of £5 due to increased productivity and decreased absenteeism.

Having the ability to take time off without feeling guilty or stressed means that they can tackle issues before they need weeks or months to recover.

So How Many Mental Health Days Is Too Many?

There is no such thing.

Honestly, aside from your physical health, this will always be one of the most important things. Looking after your body in every way will allow you to enjoy every aspect of life as well as be able to work and live as your best self.

A few days here and there are going to be unnoticeable in the long run in terms of money or employment.

However, those couple of weeks a year could be the difference between life and death for many. They could be the reason you see the most change in yourself or your loved ones in a year’s time.

Remember, it’s an opportunity to be proactive rather than reacting to a crisis.