Issue 4 – Movember Rated Barber

Hello again, everyone! I hope all is well in the little worlds of my clients and readers. This post, coming off the back of my FIRST ever fundraising campaign for any charity, will explain why I am involved with the ‘Movember Foundation’ and what it is to be a ‘Movember Rated Barber’.

So, as many of you already know, Movember is a charity which raises awareness around all things ‘men’s health’. There is no sexism here though. It is important to understand that when it comes to ‘men’ and ‘health’, the statistics are very different from women. 75% of suicides in the UK are committed by men. Men also die on average 5 years before women, and 1 in 5 males will die before 65. The charity also raises awareness around health issues that are specifically manly, like prostrate and testicular cancer. Prostrate cancer is the most popular one, but if detected early, 98% is the survival rate. 95% is the rate for early detection of testicular cancer.

Barbers have this unique platform, that many other people/professionals do not have, when it comes to how many different men you will meet on a daily basis, and talk to. So Movember caught on to this, then came up with the ‘Movember Rated Barber’.

I had been looking for a way to help more people with issues regarding ‘mental health’ after having spoke with a few clients about it and realising that due to past experiences, I had some advice that I could offer. Or even just an open ear as their barber. But how could I make it so that I appeared to be more open to helping others without singling people out or highlighting them?

Movember ambassador Marc Rodwell let me in on this thing Movember are doing with barbers. So I completed the necessary course with them, and now I have my certificate! I hope that having this displayed in the shop will have people asking questions, making it more likely that anyone in need will reach out after having learned what it’s all about. So that’s why I did it! I’ve somehow managed to help a few people before and I’d like to help any other past, present or future clients in any way possible!

Here’s me with that certificate;

So, in the interest of transparency, I’d like to explain a little further why I’m passionate about helping others when it comes to the topic of mental health. I have brushed shoulders with the old demon that is ‘anxiety’ in the past. This is what I can really relate to and talk about with some experiential knowledge, but I will always be an open ear to any of my clients who would like to talk about any issue they feel comfortable with talking to me about. Always confidential. But here, I’d like to give a little bit of genuine advice to anyone having a hard time with anxiety.

I’ve found along the way that learning to have a better relationship with anxiety (no one can get RID of anxiety, so try not to think too unhealthily about it) is the way to go. You have to try to unlearn a ‘reaction’ that your brain has learned to have to something that troubles you. Try to reprogram your mind not to ‘overreact’ to the things that worry you. I find that it’s almost always something to do with a loss of confidence or self esteem about something that you must try to rebuild along the way. Here’s some healthy tips on how to do this;

Remove safety behaviours – don’t hide from things that trigger you to worry or become anxious. It is a viscous cycle, avoidance. It leaves no room to learn or grow in any case. If you regularly face the things that worry you, they will inevitably, in time, worry you less. This might take some serious time, it might not. But if you don’t work to overcome the root issue, it’ll never get better. Advice I received once was to create a list somehow, of things that worry you. Start by facing the thing that worries you least, then work up towards the thing that worries you most. This wasn’t really fitting for me but I always thought it sounded like good advice for someone else.

Setting goals to achieve – this fits in with the the last point I made there. But I mean any goal. Starting Freehounds has been one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Taking that risk and overcoming it, has done a lot for my pride and happiness. A healthy sense of pride and achievement goes a long way with helping any form of mental health issue.

Be healthy – this may sound silly, but I mean it. A lot of people may not want to admit it but diet and lifestyle has a huge impact on mental health. My diet has never been horrendous, but working out regularly… or maybe semi regularly as of late, but still… doing that had a really positive impact for me. Keep a PMA every day (positive mental attitude) and don’t bring yourself down with too many negative thoughts. Concentrate on positives. Lean on happy relationships. Which brings me to the next, final and probably most important point.

Talk – Talking to people and owning up about how you feel can help massive amounts. You might find they’ll say they never noticed it in you – thus making you feel more secure, realising your issues are self-centred. Not in a that way, but you know what I mean. They may even relate to you more than you expected, making you feel less alone. If your issue is distancing you from people, which it didn’t for me, I would say tell them. They’re cool guys right? They’ll understand. If you don’t want, or need to talk about mental health then that’s great. Just don’t isolate yourself because we’re not meant to be alone, people.

That’s it for this blog then!!! Hope you all enjoyed finding out why I did Movember, and on a side note, getting rid of my beard just shows the dedication!!! That thing was precious to me, but it’s been good for me to realise that it wasn’t that important. Thanks for helping me raise 500 POUNDS for my fundraising team as well by the way!!! That was epic!!! The team raised 3892 pounds!!!

Brewdog growler presented to me by ambassador Marc Rodwell on the last night of Movember at the Brewdog Stirling shave-down;

Speak soon!