Did you know June is Men’s Health Month? As you might imagine, the goal is to raise awareness about common health issues men face and to spread knowledge about how to prevent, treat, and detect these problems.
It’s important to take care of yourself and look after your health and wellbeing. This is vital for everyone; you, your spouse, your kids, your loved ones, and your friends. Across the nation, there are all kinds of gatherings and activities planned to accomplish these goals.
You don’t necessarily have to make drastic changes to your lifestyle. Sometimes minor tweaks and simple modifications can yield huge benefits. With that in mind, here are four small things you can do to get into the spirit and celebrate Men’s Health Month!
You don’t have to hit the gym two hours a day, five days a week to exercise. That’s certainly an option, and if you go that route, more power to you. But especially this time of year, getting more exercise is easy. You can take a walk on the beach, go for a hike, or even just make it a point run around the park with your kids.
With summer here, it’s the perfect time to start a new workout regimen. You can even join a softball team or rec league soccer club. What better way to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather? Even just adding a small amount of extra exercise can have a huge impact.
2. Eat Better
Diet so often goes hand in hand with exercise. Again, you can make an extreme change and totally overhaul your eating habits. But at the same time, even relatively small changes can produce significant results. It can be as simple as cutting down your fat and sodium levels.
Swap out water for soda, skip the Doritos, work on portion control at mealtimes, and eat more vegetables. Small, quick choices like these can help you improve your overall health.
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3. Get a Checkup
Do you know your blood pressure? What’s your cholesterol level? How’s your blood sugar? When was the last time you checked for testicular cancer or got a screening for colorectal cancer? And don’t forget mental health. Depression and other problems are huge issues. The human body is a complex system and there’s a lot going on.
Just because you don’t have obvious warning signs, doesn’t mean there’s not a problem. Many of these troubles, and more, are easy to treat and can prevent more serious health concerns down the road. It’s important to get checked out by a doctor, and what better time to do that than during Men’s Health Month? No one likes to go to the doctor, but you’ll thank yourself later on. So will your loved ones.
4. Don’t Ignore Warning Signs
Not every health issue comes with a big red flag, but it’s vital to pay attention to the warning signs that do pop up. If you feel new aches or pains, don’t brush them off. Excessive sweating and shortness of breath may indicate a problem. If you notice a mole change shape, that’s probably not great. It’s all too easy and too common to push things to the side and say, “I’ll deal with that later,” especially for men. Another day, then a week, then a month go by. You can take steps to improve health and prevent problems, especially when you catch them early. But you have to catch them first, and part of that is not ignoring the indicators.
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Men’s Health and Divorce
It’s important to take care of your health all the time. Events like Men’s Health Month serve as nice reminders of this fact. But it’s hugely important for men to keep an eye on their health during and after divorce. Ending a marriage represents such a major life change, and you have so much going on, this all too often falls by the wayside.
Divorce often shows up with a mixture of anxiety, guilt, grief, and more. Self-esteem takes a shot and mental health is at risk. Men are much more likely to deal with depression after a split. They’re also less likely to seek help. But it’s not just mental health that can take a hit, you face elevated risks across the board.
Divorce presents an unclear, uncertain future. Many men turn to high-risk behaviors as an escape or release. Alcohol abuse, drug use, and other potentially hazardous behaviors spike following the end of a marriage. Suicide rates also increase dramatically in men during these times.
While intentional self-harm definitely falls on one extreme end of the spectrum, there are many degrees. You may not become an alcoholic, but it’s common for men to imbibe a bit too much following divorce. It’s also common to neglect other good habits as well, which is also often detrimental to your health.
You may not be as motivated to hit the gym or go for a run. It’s easier to swing by McDonald’s on the way home than it is to make a healthy meal for one. Maybe it feels less pressing to go to the doctor for your regular check-up. None of these are necessarily major things on their own, but all together, they can build up. These are big reasons why men often face various health concerns after divorce. This includes hypertension, heart disease, and even cancer, among others.
Men have to contend with a laundry list of possible health problems in the best of times. That’s why events like Men’s Health Month are so important. They raise awareness and can lead people to take active measures to improve wellness. Following a divorce, these risks only increase, so, while it’s vital to keep them in mind all the time, it’s especially key after ending a marriage.
Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of an earlier post and has been revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.