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Taking Care of You: Men's Edition

Published:Monday | March 28, 2016 | 3:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

Leonardo da Vinci said it best: "The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions." This weighs on them daily and is the reason they need to take care of their mental health.

While times and things are changing, when it comes to gender equality, many men still consider themselves the head of the household and also pride themselves on their successes. There are also societal expectations of what men should be - how they should act, speak, look and achieve. With all ties to contend with, sometimes our men can become overwhelmed.

To help them cope with their day-to-day activities and responsibilities, we solicited the expertise of psychiatrist Dr Anthony Allen for a few tips on how men can take care of their mental health.

1 Men must first be reminded they are humans, who are all vulnerable and experience pain. Like everyone else, they also need support and encouragement.

2 Have male friends you can open up to and share your problems with, ones that encourage and help you to not feel like a failure. Why male instead of female if you are married or in a committed relationship? Having female friends that you confide in can lead to unintended sexual involvement.

3 Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Good overall physical health helps with having good mental health. Therefore, exercising and eating properly, avoiding excessive drinking and consumption of a lot of fast food is a good way to go.

4 Have a balanced life. Enjoy some recreational activities and bear in mind there is nothing wrong with a man doing yoga.

5 Take care of your spiritual health. Spiritual, physical and mental health all go hand in hand.

Dr Allen also gave a list of a few things to avoid:

1 First and foremost, they should avoid the alpha male idealism - where one needs to be better and do better than their peers, feeling the need that you have to be a hero to your partner. You are only human.

2 Overworking will consume you and no one is healthy when they are tired.

3 Aggression can seep its way into your life, especially when you are overworked and overwhelmed. Ensure you look out for it and try your best to find an outlet to deal with you stress.

4 Avoid internalising because this can manifest itself in not only bad social practices but illnesses. You are more prone to having heart attacks, anxiety, anger management issues, hypertension, and even cancer, if you do not deal with your problems externally.

5 There is the temptation to withdraw from loved ones, resulting in a breakdown in relationships with your children and spouse.