Mental health remains a major national conversation in the UK, and particularly so when it comes to the mental health of the nation’s men. Men’s mental health has been a historically taboo subject, where patriarchal and misogynist societal structures have seen men saddled with unhealthy levels of stress and responsibility – and refused the tools necessary to properly address the results.
The failure of society to properly treat men’s mental health as a serious issue is another example of society failing women, where toxic masculinity and the dangers presented by it can be traced back to unsustainable societal expectations on male members of society.
While today’s society seeks to unpick this bizarre dynamic, it still has a dramatic impact on the health of millions. Men’s grooming is at once an example of positively shifting times and of positive acts to address the negative impacts of patriarchy – but how is it that grooming can improve mental health?
The Ritual of Grooming
At a base level, grooming can be considered a form of ritual – and grooming rituals can be vitally important to both the mental structuring of a day and to the self-esteem of a given person. Having a pre-set period each day to address appearance and hygiene can serve to give the day a vital framework, enabling a given man to enjoy it properly and on their terms. These rituals can also be extremely important thinking times, where men can troubleshoot certain feelings and reactions without negatively impacting their environment or future.
The Confidence Boost
Such a care routine can be important for the more surface-level feelings surrounding selfhood and comfort. Simply put, looking good can make you feel good. There is little more impactful than the onset of thinning hair or male pattern baldness to self-confidence, and the receding of a hairline can feel like a matter of life and death at first instance.
Dealing with it in the short term, with hair building fibers to thicken the existing hair, can be more than enough to restore that initial confidence in how one looks. This can be a valuable lesson beyond hair, where shorter-term solutions can be used in service of longer-term solutions.
Incorporating a self-care routine as part of every day can have ancillary benefits, too, in the form of self-care therapy. Where chronic mental health conditions like depression or generalized anxiety disorder are concerned, introducing new routines and frameworks in your life can be essential frameworks to working through specific traumas or incidences.
Having that “you time” each day to puzzle over things can be a gift for your mental health in more ways than one. Not only can you address your immediate thoughts about yourself, but you can use this time to challenge your thoughts about others – making for much nicer social environments in general.
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I'm Alice and I live with a dizzying assortment of invisible disabilities, including ADHD and fibromyalgia. I write to raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental and chronic illnesses of all kinds.