Grief is a universal, instinctual and an adaptive reaction to loss, in particular the grief from the loss of a loved one.  Feelings of loss are very personal and only you know what is significant. Less obvious losses can also cause strong feelings of grief such as loss of possessions, job, relationship, health, or physical ability.

Loss is an inevitable part of life and grief is a natural part of the healing process that varies for different people.  The grieving process allows those left behind after a death to accept the person is no longer around.

When experiencing and reacting to grief, it is common to:

  • feel like you are “going crazy”
  • have difficulty concentrating
  • feel sad or depressed, anxious, nervous or fearful
  • be irritable or angry ( at the deceased, oneself, others)
  • feel frustrated or misunderstood
  • feel like you want to escape
  • experience guilt or remorse
  • be ambivalent, lack energy and motivation
  • feel numb.

Each one of us has an individual style of coping with painful experiences (there is no right or wrong way).  Some people don’t show their grief in public but only express it in private.  We don’t always know how people are coping simply by what we see.

The following tips may help generate ideas about how to manage feelings of grief:

  • talk to family, friends or a mate
  • engage in social activities
  • exercise, eat healthy foods
  • take time to relax, listen to music
  • seek counselling or join a support group
  • be patient and let yourself feel grief.

The length of the grief process is different for everyone.  It takes time to heal and this may not be just days it can be weeks, months and even years.  

Grief comes in waves.  When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, surrounded by wreckage reminding you of the ship that was and is no more, and all you can do is float.  As you float you hang onto a piece of wreckage for a while in the form of a physical thing (a memory or photograph), it may even be another person floating with you, and for a while that’s all you can do is float.  In the beginning you had 100 metre waves crashing over you 10 seconds apart barely allowing you to breath.  After a while (maybe weeks or months) the 100 metre waves still come crashing over you but they are now further apart allowing you to breathe and function without as much difficulty.  There will be triggers of grief that will arise (a song, a place, a photo) and a wave will come crashing but in between there is life.  Somewhere down the line (it is different for everybody) you will find the waves are only 80 or 50 metres, they still come but are further apart.  You will be able to see them coming (special anniversary days) but now you can prepare yourself for the waves, knowing you will come out the other side, soaking wet, spluttering and still hanging onto a piece of wreckage but you will come out. Intermittent waves never stop coming and you don’t really want them to but you will survive them.

If you feel you are not coping seek professional help from your GP or a counsellor.

 

Tim and the Team


The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)        
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401            
Phone: 08 9690 2277                
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.regionalmenshealth.com.au 


  

A lot of blokes would appreciate the hard work and effort that goes into purchasing or maintaining something we love.

Whether it’s a new car or that ongoing restoration job, a valued piece of machinery, or our weekend toys (boat/motorbike etc). If we don’t service and look after our machines regularly it will eventually effect their performance and easy fix problems can be compounded that will end up costing us time and money.


So why this any different to our wellbeing and health? To put it simply if we continue to neglect our wellbeing and health in any area (Physical/Mental/Social Spiritual) it will eventually catch up with us and could cost us more than just time and money. Do we think about the flow on effects to all facets of our lives? Whether it be on our relationships, family, work or business, loss of function or participation in the thinks we enjoy.

It is important to recognise that the ageing process throws up all sorts of changes and complications, and sometimes certain illness and diseases can’t be avoided. But, something as simple as a “Routine Service Visit” or discussion with your GP or treating health professional can aid in the early detection and prevention of certain health and wellbeing issues.

At RMHI we have a simple but effective program to empower men and communities to take responsibility for their wellbeing and health. The Fast Track Pit Stop is related to the servicing of a vehicle and is a non-clinical, non-invasive way of helping men become more aware and take charge of their own health and wellbeing. It involves a 3 Point Health Awareness check:

  1. Waist Measurement/Chassis: A waist line more than 102cm (men) and 88cm (women) gives us an increased risk of developing diabetes type 2, some cancers, stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure. Long term storage of internal fat that surrounds the heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys is just one indicator.
  2. Blood Pressure/Oil Pressure: According to the Hearth Foundation, high blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease, stroke and blood vessel disease. So its import to firstly know your blood pressure, but also take steps to manage it if it’s getting high.
  3. Coping skill/Shockies: We are all affected by life’s ups and downs, participates are given 10 questions to help identify stress levels. Encourage communication and help seeking is part of the problem solving process.

RMHI deliver the Fast Track Pit Stop program all over the state and can be as simple as a RMHI Community Educator setting up out the back of the UTE, under a marquee or in a hall. Coming up to field day and Ag Show Season across the state, look out for the red utes and come and have a chat. It’s time to start thinking about your service schedule!

 

Terry and the Team


The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)        
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401            
Phone: 08 9690 2277                
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.regionalmenshealth.com.au  


 

Our ancestors were used to walking up to 20 kilometres per day, they had to, to survive on the Savannah Plains and the Serengeti’s or they would end up as someone’s lunch.


 We are not designed for sitting around and not exercising. The human body has not had millions of years to adapt to our sedentary lifestyle and we need to change our habits before it is too late.

Blokes, in particular, have had a significant change because many of the work tasks that have always been manually done are now obsolete and/or automated.

Exercise is essential for our brain, mind, body and our cardiovascular health. I have just finished reading a book titled “Brain Rules” by John Medina and rule 1 (out of 12 brain rules) is exercise boosts brain power.  An enlightening read.

There are a lot variables, from nurture to nature, that help how we age but one of the greatest predictors of successful ageing is the absence of a sedentary lifestyle.  Civilisation has given us many benefits but it has also meant, that for the majority of us, we have gradually quit moving.  The result of this is more and more Australians are being classified as being overweight, with the biggest physical health epidemic in Australia in 2015 being Type 2 Diabetes.

There is a lot of current research that suggests exercise can:-

  1. help prevent Type 2 Diabetes (by up to 60%);
  2. improve our cardiovascular health thus decreasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks;
  3. affect the outcome of both anxiety and depression.  The fact that exercise helps regulate the release of chemicals (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) into our bodies makes it an important element in maintaining the right balance;
  4. aerobic exercise, just twice a week, halves the risk of general dementia.  It also cuts the risk of Alzheimer’s by 60%.

So what does this all mean for our exercise regime?

There is a lot of advice around with different suggestions on exercise requirements.  This varies from 5 minutes high intensity, to 30 minutes per day, to 1 hour a day every second day.  We are the only one that knows our body’s physiology and what will ultimately work for us.

If you are limited in how you can exercise you can still make a difference. If you can physically walk only 50 metres a day, double it!  Walking 100 metres per day compared to 50 metres does make a huge difference.  The improvement in your body’s physiology will be profound and the positive effect is that starting with a little bit of exercise will make you want to move more.

Exercise options are endless, swimming, hydrotherapy, light gym work, walking groups, sporting groups, volunteering; although in regional WA sometimes these options can be problematic for people to access.

Don’t let it stop you exercising – get moving.

Owen and the Team


The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)        
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401            
Phone: 08 9690 2277                
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.regionalmenshealth.com.au   

Anxiety is an umbrella term for feelings of fear, nervousness, apprehensiveness or worry such as negative thoughts and seeing potential threats where they don’t exist.


 

Everybody gets anxious at times and some anxiety actually helps us to function well BUT anxiety can become a problem when:

  • It happens too often;
  • It goes on for a long time;
  • It stops us from doing things that we want to do.

Symptoms can be psychological (feeling frequently worried, tired, irritable and weepy with difficulty concentrating) and/or physical (including rapid breathing, rising blood pressure and pounding heart, a sense of restlessness or feeling on edge, muscle tension, sleep disturbance and nausea/sickness).

There is no single cause for anxiety but there are several factors that may contribute to its development:

  • Brain Chemistry - most strongly implicated here are imbalances of serotonin and dopamine that regulate thought and feeling - makes for feeling depressed and anxious;
  • Heredity - anxiety disorders run in families. Children are at higher risk if parents have an anxiety disorder- learned behaviour;  
  • Life Experiences - any distressing or traumatic experience may be ground for the development of anxiety.  Exhaustion and certain medications can also be triggers for anxiety;
  • Drug Use - stimulant drugs like amphetamines and caffeine can trigger anxiety.  Prolonged amphetamine use can cause feelings of panic and anxiety that last for years after the drug is stopped.

 

Some tips that may help you deal with your anxiety include:

  • Self-awareness - identify the symptoms early.  Ask yourself “what is making me feel this way?” You may be able to change the “anxiety-making circumstances” but if not you can deal with it  better if you acknowledge it;
  • Interpret it positively - anxious about a situation?  Instead of viewing as threatening put a positive interpretation which will reduce the anxiety to a more manageable level;
  • A little anxiety is a good thing - too much is damaging but too little can mean you may not perform to your best ability.  View anxiety as a resource you can manage;
  • Diet - the gut flora can get out of balance eg. use more probiotics and omega3 foods.  Research has shown maintaining a balanced diet can reduce anxiety symptoms.
  • Exercise boosts levels of vital brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine that may reduce stress and anxiety.  
  • Relaxation and meditation programs – can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.  You can find many resources for these online eg. progressive muscle relaxation.  
  • Therapy - there are some good programs that are offered by psychologists/counsellors that help to re-program those unhelpful and negative ways of thinking that underpins anxiety.

Situations, or life events, can come from many places including relationship issues, financial burden, physical health, trauma, or just dealing with difficult times.  As these situations develop we need to take steps to reduce anxiety for ourselves and for those close to us.  Remember …before it all gets too much… Talk to a Mate!

Tim and the Team


The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)        
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401            
Phone: 08 9690 2277                
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.regionalmenshealth.com.au   

The Regional Men’s Health Initiative partnership with the West Australian Country Football League (WACFL) to sponsor a round of football enters its second year. This partnership brings us into contact with 25 football associations and 150 senior country football leagues and helps deliver our key message to a younger demographic of men (predominately aged 16-40) throughout regional WA.  The “Talk to a Mate” Men’s Wellbeing Round will be held over the weekend of 13th and 14th June 2015.