Beat back stress with help from men’s mental health activist Ken Hermes.
Stress is a very real epidemic, especially for men. It ferments inside all of us and its origins can vary drastically from person to person. It can be spiked by social pressures, financial woes and even your genetic makeup. As a man, you might have been discouraged to talk about the ‘S’ word in the past: “Man up and crack on,” and all that nonsense. The reality is that wherever your stress comes from, it should be taken seriously. You can be mighty ill off just a little bit of stress, so don’t let it get the better of you. Don’t let it snowball out of control.
To help you get on top of your woes, we’ve teamed up with men’s metal health activist Ken Hermes. Ken is a leading barber and ambassador for the Lions Barber Collective; an international group of barbers that aim to tackle men’s mental health and suicide from within the barbershop. The tips he present come from experience, having suffered with stress and depression in the past himself.
Get it off your chest
A problem shared is a problem halved, goes the old saying. And it’s true! A quick chat and a brew can work miracles on unwanted stress.
Ken says: “Conversations change lives. It’s that simple. Whether you’re struggling with the bigger picture or working your way through smaller niggles, talking to trusted family and friends can really help to reduce stress. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to family or friends, why not try your barber? Many barbers are now being trained to listen and offer advice to their customers.”
Tackling clutter with a ‘little and often’ attitude is the best way to go. Beat it before it becomes a mammoth task that leads to stress.
Ken says: “Whether it’s on your desk at work or on the sides at home, clutter does not lend itself well to a relaxing environment. By having a daily de-clutter, you will help to create a more peaceful place for yourself; somewhere for you to clear your mind.”
Make time for ‘me time’
It shouldn’t all be about work, finances and hard grind, so make time for your hobbies and pastimes whenever you can.
Ken says: “It’s vital that we schedule in meetings with ourselves from time to time. This might be tickets to a gig, a night at the pub, or just a quiet night in. Whatever it is, ‘me time’ is essential.”
Get on top of your finances
Money, debt and financial heartache are often the biggest causes of personal stress. But Ken has a few simple tips to get you on back on track.
Ken says: “I always recommend working through spending habits on some sort of a spread sheet. By doing this you can see just how far your salary will stretch. Understanding where all your money goes might help you to save cash in the long run too, meaning you can work off debts and start buying the things you want/need.”
Go to bed on time
Stress and tiredness are a bad combo, even for the best of us. So make sure you drink your milk, go to bed on time, and for God’s sake stay away from phone screens late at night!
Ken says: “It’s recommended that adults get at least six hours of continuous sleep each night. The key here is that it’s continuous – without interruptions! This might be easier said than done, especially if you have young children, but it’s so important. If you’ve got young kids, try alternating night feeds with your partner. When you have had a full night’s sleep, your mind will be clearer and you will make more logical decisions, reducing regret which could lead to stress.”
Don’t be afraid to switch things up
On average, people now spend around 13 years and two months of their lives at work. That’s a staggering amount of time, especially if you’re not happy with your career…
Ken says: “It’s never too late to change your career. I changed mine after 10 years, from corporate management roles to becoming a barber, and I’ve never been happier. Some people lend themselves better to certain jobs. For me, not having a work phone to distract me from my family is an instant stress relief. Identify the parts of your job that cause unnecessary stress and work hard to avoid or alter them.”