5 Ways To Make International Men’s Day Count
9 minutes read
International Men’s Day is more than just a day celebrating the great men in our lives. The positive value they contribute to society, the workplace, and communities and the love they bring in our homes. It’s also a chance for all of us to touch on the subject’s men themselves find hard to talk about or share.
“I encourage men to observe International Men’s Day to make cumulative actions to improve their sense of well-being, normalise displaying their vulnerability, open conversation and show their authentic selves. Seeking help is a sign of strength. Collectively, let’s continue to shed light on this topic in November and every day because men and their mental health matter,” says Dr Anney Varghese, consultant psychiatrist with expertise in general adult psychiatry.
To mark November’s International Men’s Day, Beauty Daily lists five ways to make International Men’s Day count.
When is International Men’s Day
International Men’s Day is observed annually every 19th of November.
It’s a worldwide celebration dedicated to men and boys and the positive value they bring to the world, their families, and communities. Most importantly, it promotes essential awareness towards men’s issues.
What is the theme for International Men’s Day 2023?
2023’s International Men’s Day theme is “Helping Men and Boys.” It’s a global appeal from organisations and international campaigns such as Movember to raise awareness and talk about pressing issues related to men and boys.
Join legions of men growing their moustaches in support of Movember. Read next: Movember- The Rules, Meaning and Motivation To Do It
Why does International Men’s Day matter?
Men play an equally significant role in our society, not to mention they are superheroes in our homes and hearts.
But due to gender conditioning, with ‘toxic masculinity’ playing a role since childhood, men face difficulties opening up and showing vulnerability in later stages of life.
There’s also a scary statistic. Men account for over 75% of suicides in the UK, and this trend has risen in recent decades. International Men’s Day aims to highlight the importance of men’s physical and mental health and promotes positive masculinity.
“Comparatively to women, men are likelier to downplay physical and emotional struggles. However, many men still believe that they need to preserve a ‘tough guy’ image, which is often conditioned from as early as childhood,” says Dr Craig Beach, psychiatrist and CEO of Open Mind Health.
This set of certain ideals of how men should ‘behave’ is not just causing harm to society but to men themselves.
Dr Beach adds, “Such pressures, and conforming to them, is extremely harmful to mental health.”
He shares three main components of toxic masculinity that need to be put to rest.
- Toughness – The idea that men should be physically strong and even behave aggressively.
- Anti-femininity – The idea that men should reject anything considered feminine, such as showing emotion or accepting help.
- Power – The idea that men must work toward obtaining power and status (social and financial) to gain the respect of others.
Changing the narrative now is important, making International Men’s Day all the more crucial.
We need to collectively work together to improve the lives of men in our lives and the future generation.
International Men’s Day is a day to discuss men’s biggest killer
Twelve men in the UK commit suicide every day, and it’s considered the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the country.
“It is extremely important to keep an eye out for male friends and family who might be showing signs of suicidal ideation or could be exposed to risk factors such as depression, other mental disorders, substance abuse disorder, certain medical conditions, chronic pain, a prior suicide attempt and family violence, including physical or sexual abuse,” warns Dr Richard Reid, celebrity psychologist, CEO of Pinnacle Wellbeing Services and member of The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
What you can do to help is encourage male figures in your life to seek support or create connections.
Dr Reid says: “Men generally respond positively to receiving support from a respected and trusted individual, forming connections with others who have similar experiences, and reframing help-seeking as masculine.”
5 ways to make International Men’s Day count
For those who want to make a difference in the lives of all the male figures in your lives, here are five ways you can make International Men’s Day count.
1. Show men it’s ok to be emotional
There’s a widely held belief that women are more emotional than men, but researchers at the University of Michigan reveal there’s no truth in it.
Women are more comfortable than men admitting they feel lonely. But on the other hand, men have a greater need for belonging and connection.
Make it a habit of doing daily check-ins in the household. Ask your partner, husband, or son how their day went and create a safe space where judgement or mockery doesn’t exist. If you notice they’re a bit on the lonelier side, assure them you’re here to talk, all ears, phones down.
2. Applaud positive male role models
Choose to celebrate men who do it differently, who show us all how masculinity is not about the macho man of yesteryears. Instead, a man can be full of character, charm, love, positivity, and personality.
Remember the time when England lost to Italy during the Euro Cup 2020? Gareth Southgate, England’s Manager, hugged and comforted his players, who were teary-eyed and utterly devastated and showed them it’s ok to lose and learn from losing. Or someone like Harry Styles, who is not afraid to show his refreshingly flamboyant, quirky fashion side and proudly wave LGBTQ flags at his gigs.
Manchester United Marcus Rashford is known to be a superstar on the football field, but he’s also applauded for his humanitarian work in the fight against hunger and child poverty. And we can’t miss David Attenborough, who has dedicated his life to documenting the love story between humans and nature and unceasingly advocating to protect and preserve our planet by living sustainably, switching to renewable energy, and reducing meat consumption, among others.
But all this can effectively start at home, with fathers hugging and being more affectionate towards their sons or men partaking in equal household chores.
Experts say people learn by imitating behaviours they see in their surroundings; from the social models they grow up or interact with. So, we can set the agenda where toxic masculinity is not a thing.
3. Introduce your man to self-care
Men might find self-care a bit cringe-worthy. But some small talk about its benefits might encourage your man to employ some of your self-care hacks: from relaxation breathing, curating his self-care list, or embarking on a self-care retreat.
Speaking of self-care, Beauty Daily is never short of ideas to spoil your man: from International Men’s Day hamper to man spa days, let’s make this day extra pampering and rejuvenating.
Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager, says: “Curating a bespoke International Men’s Day hamper is a fantastic opportunity to buy and introduce your man to the world of skincare. Gift things they’d never buy for themselves.”
“However, preparing one personalised hamper would entirely depend on his age, but there are non-age-specific products you can include from Clarins that will make his skin happy and healthier, like the Double Serum, £60.”
Another product you should be looking at, and that’s male-specific, is the ClarinsMen Hydra-Sculpt Resculpting Perfector, £45.
“Hydra-Sculpt is a men’s moisturiser; it goes on after serum. It has great ingredients in it that help sculpt and maintain the shape of a man’s jaw. Men over 40 start to lose their jawline, which will help maintain that for years to come.”
McHale recommends adding an energising red ginseng-infused eye product into the mix, specifically the ClarinsMen Energizing Eye Gel, £31.
It comes with a tri-ball applicator, so with just one swipe [starting from the inside corners of the eyes towards the temples] your man will be rewarded with rested and revitalised eyes.
Lastly, the hamper would be complete with an SPF like the all-rounder, broad spectrum anti-pollution SPF 50 UV PLUS [5P] Anti-Pollution Translucent, £34. It’s worth saying skin cancer is more prevalent in men than women. Why? Men often underestimate the harmful effects of unprotected sun exposure and the importance of wearing SPF. So, making sure that’s in his love package sends how much you care.
“We can help build those sets for you in-store. In addition, we’ve got lovely red Clarins gift boxes (completely complementary) to house your beautiful gift,” McHale says.
If you want to spoil him a bit more, surprise him with a man spa appointment. We recommend booking the 60-min Deep Tissue Massage, £65. This therapeutic massage will ease tense shoulders, back knots, aches, and stress.
4. Sparking conversation for change
International Men’s Day is also a good opportunity to discuss the topic of equal parental leave. In the UK, men are offered two weeks paid paternity leave, while women get up to 9 months of paid maternity leave.
Research has found that 46% of UK parents were unhappy with their benefits for the majority of fathers and non-birthing parents.
The report by Koru Kids revealed top reasons for discontent included not being given enough time off (73%), dissatisfaction with pay (59%) and a lack of flexibility upon returning to work (28%).
There’s indeed a call for better government support. Organisations are calling on the government to act and increase leave entitlements for fathers and non-birthing partners of at least six weeks paid at 90% of salary.
5. Encourage him to address any health concerns
Men face serious health risks, which, as per several studies, are often entirely ignored or downplayed. Male menopause is one of them.
It may appear to the outside world as a ‘midlife crisis’ as it tends to occur in the mid-40s. Men may shrug this off, but the changes can negatively affect a man’s day-to-day life if ultimately dismissed or ignored.
Symptoms include depression, decreased motivation, lowered self-confidence, anxiety, joint pains, and poor memory.
Creating awareness about male menopause is the first step. At home, encouraging your man to speak up and not suffer in silence will get the help he needs. Next, consult with a medical professional for ways to determine, diagnose and treat male menopause.
The same goes in the workplace; it pays to support or help a fellow male colleague improve their work and personal experience.
“Due to being fixated on the stature of what a man should be like, men tend to avoid seeking help or discussing their true health concerns. In addition, mental health stigma certainly gets in the way. All these reasons make it even more important to dedicate specific time to highlight and prioritise men’s health and well-being. To encourage men to discuss their struggles openly and honestly, and for men to proactively reach out for support and treatment – before problems inevitably worsen if left unaddressed,” Dr Beach concludes.
International Men’s Day aims to highlight making men more progressive in their outlook on society, spreading awareness about their health, and taking it seriously.