On International Men's Day, life dives into where men go wrong in taking care of their health and fitness, and suggest ways to get it right; grooming doesn't mean you're recting machismo.
"That the man should not need help is an expectation articulated and reinforced regularly by our culture. The ideas of male perfection displayed by renowned characters such as John Rambo or Chulbul Pandey have scarcely any space for recognising fallibility or vulnerability. In fact the Bollywood aphorism that male actors cry on screen only when they are gunning for awards and not box office success has more than a kernel of truth.
"Cultural norms such as 'men must act tough and not show their weakness' prevent them from discussing health related issues thereby hindering self-care," Gaurav Gupta, co-founder of men's wellness brand Misters.in told life.
The caricature of a "real man" revolves around being strong, emotionless, and archetype of a dreamy superhero who protects, fights, doesn't cry and doesn't need tending. While most men hang by a thin thread between being a strong individual and letting their gender expectations take over, health including sexual and mental health takes a hit.
"Self-care is not in the top of their priority list. For fitness, as per my experience majority of men are more into showing off rather than working on the core fitness," Ashok Kumar Bandhu, MD of Delhi-based Lucullan Studios said.
"Preconceived notions of masculinity hinder the wellness-focused self-care for men. Much of this goes back to the hunter-gatherer roles men played back in the eras gone by. While men tired of the role of searching for food and work, women stayed back to take care of the family, kitchen and kids.
"With images of beauty and care tied to women alone, they were showered with opportunities to indulge in self-care, guilt-free. Whereas men had to uphold the image of being the stronger gender, their self-care rituals were looked down-upon," Dr. Manoj Kutteri from Atmantan Wellness Centre said.
Any self-care indulgence is counted as non-masculine or weak, he added.
It's not all gloom and doom, as many feel the scenario is changing, especially with the mushrooming of men-only wellness brands and salons.
"The situation has been changing for the better with men putting efforts in streamlining their looks and styles. They are increasingly getting conscious about their skincare and hair care but stigma still needs to be detached," Karan Gupta, Director, Qraa Men told life.
Top tips for men's mental and physical health:
1. Talk it out.
Conversation is the first step to grooming. It could be with their partners or friends, and not necessarily with a psychologist.
2. Change your lifestyle.
Have realistic goals, indulge in at least 60 minutes of exercise and give up on habits such as drinking alcohol, smoking. Eat right and healthy. Don't work towards achieving a certain look. Start with physical activities like running, dancing, swimming and cardio that help lower health risks and improve body shape and stamina. Sleep at least 8 hours a day and cut down on using electronic devices.
3. Yoga and meditation
Silence the mind through strategies that cut down on excessive stress, overthinking, etc and reward peace. Yoga and meditation bring strength, agility, and mental peace.
4. Take a break
Men must take regular breaks from their work and indulge themselves in regular pampering and self-care. Just applying a face mask or a pack or something as simple as going for a spa can also help them unwind. Taking some time off for themselves everyday, during the month as well. Having some 'me time' is very important to keep the brain stable.
(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at siddhi.j@.in)
( With inputs from IANS )