"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me"...

...Has there ever been a more untrue statement, like, ever?


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We know that words can hurt. Perhaps the most hurtful things that are said to us, are the things we say to ourselves.

This is called the 'Inner critic', and it’s words most definitely can hurt.

What is more, this voice in your head is always with you – it’s not like you can take a holiday from yourself!

The story you tell yourself – about what you are like, is a very very important part of your mental health. If it is deeply critical and negative most of the time, this can be very unhelpful for your overall mental health.

This week is Men’s health week and no conversation about how men’s general well-being can be considered complete if it doesn’t have a big focus on mental health. Men have significantly higher rates of;
  • Suicide,
  • Substance Use Disorder, (that means unhealthy usage of alcohol and drugs)
  • and ADHD, (Attention Defecit/Hyperactivity Disorder), name but a few.



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Traditionally some men have just had culture of bottling up that critical inner voice that plagues them and this can sometimes make them feel helpless, hopeless and even worthless. But the good news is that this culture of silence is changing and men from all walks of life are opening about their struggles with mental health issues. This is the first in a mini series of blogs running through men’s health week – and beyond, which will outline how young men can start to clean up their headspace. Your mind might tell you that you are the only one, but we can assure you, that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  In this first installment, we are going to start easily, and we will focus on what could be called the 3 pillars of health. They are

  • -Sleep
  • -diet
  • -exercise

You will be amaaaaaaazed at how much emotional and mental suffering you can clean up from your headspace by really, and we mean really, getting your sleep, exercise and diet game ‘dialled in’ in a way that is a great fit for your life. So here are some very easy to follow tips to help you strengthen your 3 pillars – try them out and see what happens!




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Inactive men are 60% more likely to suffer from depression than those who are active.

It doesn’t have to be heavy exercise, just getting out there for a run or a bike ride will do a lot for both your head and your heart. Maybe you have stopped playing sport with your mates. It might be time to dust off the running shoes or sports kit and get back out there!


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Sleep is an absolute cornerstone of health, and the truth is in todays non-stop world, very few of us are getting enough of it, in terms of quality or quantity. Matthew Walker is a professor of neuroscience and psychology and over decades of research into sleep he has boiled down a good nights sleep to these 5 tips;

1 Go to be at the same time and wake up at the same time as much as you possibly can. - this helps your body clock to regulate itself and you will feel better.Carve out a non-negotiable 8-hour ‘sleep opportunity’ every night

2 Keep your bedroom super dark - we need the darkness to release a sleep helping substance called melatonin in our bodies. Also dim the lights an hour before bed and try not to look at screens before bed. (I know. I know, we like to binge watch Netflix under the duner too, but that habit has  gotta go if you want to get some half decent shut eye!)

3 Keep it cool  - 18.5 degrees Celsius is best - your brain and your body need to drop their core temperature a little bit. That might feel a bit chilly if you aren’t used to it, and the AC bill in the house might go up a bit, but can you put a price on a good night’s sleep?

4 Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine as much as possible – alcohol does not help you fall asleep, it just knocks you out, and caffeine makes you not sleep as deeply which can block your ‘dream sleep’ which is a really important part of your sleep because it helps you sort out all your thoughts and memories. Perhaps you could have a cut off time for caffeine? So no more 'late night long blacks' unfortunately!

5 Don’t stay in bed awake - if you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes get up and read a book in  dim light  -  then when you feel sleepy you can return to bed. Don’t read off a screen late at night, because that will make you wired, not tired!



Spinach, chicken & pomegranate salad


We could write a book about all the new nutritional information advice - it can be really overwhelming and hard to follow, but some of the most simple take homes are that sugar and refined carbohydrates should not be a big part of your diet. Keep it simple, and cut out the junk. Basically if you are on first name terms with all the people who work at the local drive through window, then that’s gotta go!  Also if you have depression, and you are not currently eating breakfast – eat breakfast. Make that non negotiable with yourself. Don’t make things worse by being hangry all morning!

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Now I know this post might seem a bit like a bit of a bummer, in terms of things not to do, but some of the mental health issues we see at headspace are no joke, and we want all the young men we see to be firing on all cylinders. If you know deep down that your ‘3 pillars’ could do with being strengthened, then we think you will be pleasantly surprised by just how much mental suffering can be shifted by following the tips above. It’s not going to sort out everything that you have got going on, but it will definitely make it easier to deal with some of the issues that might remain. We will talk about those in later blog posts, but now we will leave you to go and break up with your local fast food drive through window!

Hamburgers and Fries

It's been a great relationship, but I need to see other foods. It's not's me