This Saturday – November 19th 2022 – is International Men’s Day (IMD). And while most of us have heard of (or even taken part in) Mo-vember, there’s a lot more to the day than mere moustaches.
Here, Martin McCann and Neil Greenhorn – both Proteus health and wellbeing ambassadors – share more about what IMD means to them.
Martin McCann – Consultant at Proteus
“Although it has existed in its current form since 1992, IMD has only slowly achieved a higher profile in more recent years.
This may (or may not) be down to comedian Richard Herring’s decade of International Women’s Days (March 8th, since you’re asking) spent relentlessly trolling any mean-spirited Twitter wags voicing their discontent with queries of “so why isn’t there an International Men’s Day?” by confirming that it takes place every year (not to mention annually) on 19th November.
As its six objectives outline – the official day was set up to provide an opportunity to:
- Promote positive male role models: not just movie stars and sports men but everyday, working-class men who are living decent, honest lives.
- Celebrate men’s positive contributions to society: community, family, marriage, child care, and the environment.
- Focus on men’s health and wellbeing: social, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
- Highlight discrimination against men in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.
- Improve gender relations and promote gender equality.
- Create a safer, better world, where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.
One key message to highlight is that celebrating Men, their contributions and their achievements on IMD does not detract from also celebrating women in parallel – it’s not a zero sum game, and it’s not anti-feminist. Mutual compassion and understanding are essential in de-escalating any such tensions in this very complex modern world.
IMD promotes making positive changes and sharing important statistics and information, as you can see from Wikipedia’s helpful summary of the key IMD themes over recent years:
- 2016: “Stop Male Suicide”
- 2017: “Celebrating Men And Boys In All Their Diversity”
- 2018: “Positive Male Role Models”
- 2019: “Making a Difference for Men and Boys”
- 2020: “Better Health for Men and Boys”
- 2021: “Better relations between men and women”
- 2022: “Helping men and boys” (also “Celebrating mateship” in Australia (#MakeTime4Mates))
We all know great guys from all walks of life, at all levels of society. We need to embrace the diversity in opinions and capabilities and accept that, although no one is perfect, most men and women are trying to do the best with whatever hand they are dealt. There’s no denying that a lot of people are struggling with worries at the moment, whether that be with their finances, their stress levels, their warmth or even their hunger.
IMD on Saturday could be a great opportunity for you to reach out to some of the significant men in your life to give them a nudge, to remind them that they have made a positive impact in your life, and to let them know you’ll be there for them if ever they need it.
Sometimes that’s all it takes. They may never take you up on the offer, but just knowing that the option to speak to you or ask for some help is there can make all the difference to someone.”
Neil Greenhorn – Lead Consultant, Sharktower
“Beyond the growing of moustaches (and yes I know, mine isn’t especially bushy!), there are some serious messages around International Men’s Day. Along with testicular cancer and prostrate cancer, an issue that’s too rarely spoken about is men’s mental health.
As guys, I think we can be notoriously bad at understanding and communicating how we’re feeling. For me, what helps is a ‘toolbox’ of things I do to check in with myself and others. Hopefully, by sharing this, I can encourage other men to have a go at a few of these things too.
Journaling – I don’t do this every day, at 5am when the sun is still down but I do it when I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Writing thoughts, worries and concerns down does something magical. I got started with MindJournal – a guided journal to help you on your journey to writing. If I don’t have a pen or paper I’ll use my notes app on my phone, the art and habit of capturing your thoughts really helps.
Exercise – whether that is walking, running or cycling getting outside is so important when you’re feeling low. Stick a podcast on or let your thoughts wander.
Breathing – we all know breathing is super important, but the benefits of learning to breath properly (yes there is a technique) has incredible benefits. I didn’t quite realise until I read this book ‘Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art’ by James Nestor – link in comments. Nail breathing and that can really help slow your mind down and control your thoughts.
Talking – This is the hardest one for me (and for most people) but it really does work. Start small and be honest when answering the ‘how are you?’ question and go from there. You’ll find most people are going through something similar but talking can benefit more than just you.
Cold Exposure – Whether it’s a cold shower or a sea dip I love getting into the cold. It took me a while but it’s a daily routine now. The science of the benefits are yet to be fully proven but one thing I do know is it makes me feel alive and full of energy!”
You can find out more International Men’s Day on the official website