As men we all know that without our health we can’t be everything we want to be. It doesn’t mean we will face our health issues head on or even go to the doctors as often as we should. But good health allows us to achieve our life goals, plan for greater things, and be the kind of provider we seek to be in our families.
We believe that our physical health ensures we have mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well. We tend to live by the motto of ‘healthy body, healthy mind’. It is through our good health that we determine how effective we can be in the world and what kind of world we perceive we are interacting with. It influences how we feel about ourselves. Our health is attached to our body, our function, and our capacity to act. It forms our self-identity, therefore by extension, that which we are.
It is something we all know we should do more about and lead by example for our sons. Poor health confronts our identity, masculinity, and potency. We prefer to believe in our invincibility than our vulnerability.
In our drive to give expression to our work we tend to follow our passion and commitment to creative endeavours at the cost of our physical health. When this happens we need to replenish our energy stores through playing sports, time alone in pursuit of hobbies and interests, or attuning to nature in ways that support our overall well-being.
Finding the balance between maintaining our physical health, providing for our families, and the pressure we feel and place on ourselves, means that when our health fails us, it is often sudden and daunting.
We still want to be active in our later years but the choices we make in our youth leads us to differing realities and this is frustrating and disappointing for many of us. Illness does challenge how we define ourselves as a man but when it happens we then shift our focus from our body to our persona. Our morals, ideals, thoughts, and way of being with others, even how others perceive us, become more important.
We know that traditionally, we are rarely proactive in looking after our health. Some of us we are trying to turn that around by making regular appointments with our health practitioners and tuning into our body’s functions and processes. But overall, men aren’t great at looking after their health despite valuing the power and prowess our physical bodies give us.
What are your experiences of the men in your life and how they take care of their physical, mental, and emotional health?