exerciseBy Leah Jennings

With work, our kids’ schedules and everything in between, sometimes the last people we think about are ourselves (have you seen your hair lately?) and the men in our lives. Thank goodness for reminders like Men’s Health Month in June to help us pause and re-calibrate our focus on some of the most important people to us: our husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and friends.

Here are four ways you can encourage the men in your life to be the healthiest they can be:

Schedule his annual checkup for him.

If your husband, dad, brother or male friend is anything like my husband, Kevin, it’s likely he’ll never think to schedule an annual physical — partly because it’s uncomfortable, partly because he doesn’t think about the doctor until something’s wrong. Resist the urge to use this as a teachable moment about calendar management and being an adult — having him checked out by a physician is far more important than any lesson.

Make healthier lifestyle changes fun.

Most everyone knows eating more fruits and veggies are great for your health, but if the guy in your life is used to having steak and potatoes every night, it’s likely a shift to a plant-based diet will be a less-than-ideal transition for him. Ease him into the lifestyle change by making things fun and exploring new, tasty recipes that are both healthy and flavorful. If you find it difficult for your guy to get active, ask him what he wants to do and do it with him! This might mean you have to subject yourself to a basketball game every now and then, but it’ll be worth it if it gets him moving.

Take his mental health seriously.

Although women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with a mental health issue, we still need to acknowledge the importance of mental health and support and encourage our husbands, fathers, brothers and friends to seek the help of a mental health professional if necessary.
In addition to encouraging him to seek professional guidance, there are also some things you can do right at home that will help uplift his mental state and well being. First, you can give him alone time to do whatever he wants, whether it’s catching up on his favorite blogs or watching a game. Next, you can encourage him to leave the house and surround himself with some positive friends regularly. Those chores and that extensive honey-do list can wait.

Be his biggest cheerleader.

Encourage the men in your life with genuine love and support. Celebrate their successes, compliment them regularly on the things they do well and remind them that there isn’t anyone else in the world that’s more proud of him than you are.