6 February 2023

An Actually Useful Guide To Getting Your Sh*t Together In 2023

The following article was produced in partnership with Helm.

Let’s be real. We all have our issues. But sometimes it’s harder to change than it is to continue on with the inertia of our self-destructive behaviour. Whether you love a slap on the pokies, drink a six-pack on the daily or enjoy getting beaten to a pulp in a parking lot (Fight Club style), no one likes to be told they need to change.

Speaking of which: we’re not here to tell you how to spend your pay cheque or improve your MMA. We all need the odd blowout. But… if you feel like levelling up in 2023, and improving your relationships, friendships, finances and physique, then we’ve got some New Year’s resolutions for you, brought to you in collaboration with Helm.

Helm is a new behavioural health service designed to provide counselling and other support to men having a hard time managing their relationships with alcohol, drugs, gambling and even their emotions. It also offers support for those struggling in their relationship with their intimate partner. It’s like that friendly mate who is non judgemental and a good listener – except it’s there on demand. 

Before you write this off as some ~cringe~ list. This isn’t airport self-help. It’s not a mental health manifesto. It’s down-to-earth life advice, for guys, tailored to 2023. And it’s more relevant now than ever. Whether you’ve been trying to manage stress or things got a bit out of control over the holidays or you’ve had a particular incident make you question what you’re doing with your life, these resolutions are for you. 

Life has never been easy, but in 2023, with interest rates going wild, technology changing faster than you can say “Who’s the CEO of Twitter?”, social media addiction rampant, the economy on the brink and traditional support services for men struggling to catch up to the demands of life, it’s easy to see why a lot of guys are turning to harmful habits to handle stress.

Enter: Helm. There to help you navigate new changes to your life (like having a child, getting a new job, mortgage pressure or seeing your family over Christmas), Helm is there for you when you feel tempted to ‘send it’ on the beers or drugs (or for when you get tired of the consequences of doing so). 

Helm will talk you through your challenges and understand your goals, providing counselling and other support services that are confidential, flexible – judgement free – and tailored to you. Helm helps guys realise all coping mechanisms are not equal. It can also help you leverage this often emotional time of year into growth (not frustration), teaching you to harness your energy the right way.

As the Behavioural and Health Specialists at Helm attest, if you address your problem behaviours, your relationships will improve too, creating a positive cycle of everything going more and more the right way. Sound good? There are lots of ways you can make positive changes in your life. Have a look at the following resolutions for men to level up, which have been put together by DMARGE to help you on your journey in 2023.

Quit your gym membership

F*ck gyms. They’re boring, sweaty and full of headphone druids. If you want your fitness resolution to last the distance (and put you in touch with a community of like-minded souls) take up an action sport (or a sport with a community). 

Why? Taking up an activity that gets adrenaline flowing could be the difference between beers being a crutch for you, and beers being an occasional tool for celebration. Also, it’s all well and good to tell yourself to kick your negative habits, but that in itself is rarely enough. 

Usually, to make a sustainable change, you need a community of like-minded supporters. It’s much easier to stop yourself from doing self-destructive things by replacing them with something awesome rather than simply focusing on a negative. 

Popular obsessions of 2023 on this front include surfing, endurance running, road biking, golf (if you must) and Brazilian Jui Jitsu (this one is especially great if you love hugging). Why not give one a whirl?

Figure out your pain points

You might think you have a problem with drugs or alcohol (and you very well might), but everything is interconnected. As the Behavioural Health Specialists over at Helm point out, even dudes who seek help for their drinking or drug use often tell how it impacts their relationships, and how their partner was the trigger for them to seek help. They also often say the reason they hit the beers or bags so hard is to deal with stress caused by problems in their relationships, with their partner, at work or with their friends.

See a counsellor

Rather than wait until things get so bad you go: “Sh*t, I need a counsellor,” why not go and see one proactively? Not that a dramatic breakup, dropping $5 grand on a fake greyhound race and crawling along the sticky floor of a pokie room at 4am doesn’t make for a good story, but if you see a counsellor and figure out what’s munching at you before you get to that point, you could be the mate helping a brother out, rather than the one recreating scenes from Wolf of Wall Street…

Have more ‘real talk’ with your mates 

Dr Lars Madsen, a clinical psychologist, once told DMARGE a lot of men struggle to communicate their vulnerabilities. To overcome this, he says you need to lead a conversation with your own vulnerability. 

“I think people go: ‘yeah, yeah, sure – all good mate,’ but the key we have to talk about and what changes all of that is leading with vulnerability.” 

“Leading with your own struggles changes the dynamic completely.” 

Dr Lars Madsen

“If you’re worried about them, leading with vulnerability changes the dynamic, it changes it insofar as it suddenly means it’s ok – it’s like they suddenly don’t feel alone – they feel like you’ve made yourself vulnerable before you’re expecting them to do it, and that’s one of the key things that I think would actually be a very, very powerful thing.”

Talking to a specialist at Helm could be another great way for you to practice these skills (and have someone listen to you).

Give ice baths a crack 

Image: Coogee News

From helping one man quit cocaine to helping others boost their stamina (and giving them a real sense of accomplishment), ice baths can be a great way to kickstart your day (and provide a framework for other more positive habits). There are also communities of cold water swimmers all over Australia. And if there’s one thing we know about community, it’s that it feels good (and is good for you).

Follow your passion  

A lot of guys endure lives of “quiet desperation.” To avoid this, prioritise your passions.

As Joe Rogan once said: “You have to take a path that’s dangerous…the safe path leaves you stuck in quiet desperation – almost every time. It’s hell: you’re selling insurance or some other shit that you care zero about.”

“The way you can change, you have to plan it out… You have to put aside enough money to give yourself a window; you have to spend all your waking hours outside of whatever sh*t job you do planning your escape and you have to come to the realisation very clearly that you fucked up.”

“You got yourself stuck, so whatever you’re doing, you have to do it like your life depends on it…attack [it] like you’re trying to save the world.”

“You don’t want to drown…you have got to be caffeinated and motivated. You have got to get after it; you got to have discipline. Most people don’t have those things. Most people don’t know what it’s like to really go for something and… the consequences of not doing that are horrific.”

Get better at communicating with your partner

Communication is key in any relationship, particularly the one with your partner. None of us are mind readers, and so healthy and open communication is crucial to avoid hurt feelings, misunderstandings, resentment or confusion. To communicate with your partner better, try setting aside time to talk without your phones or TV, thinking about what you want to say in advance, talk about what is happening in your relationship and your life and how it makes you feel and communicate what you want, need and feel.

 Invest in some ‘non-dodgy sh*t’

We’re not talking the latest crypto pump and dump or an ant farm in Sierra Leone that you heard your finance mate talking about down the pub. We’re talking about seeing a professional and developing a well-rounded portfolio. And topping up your super (if you can). 

Learn some stress hacks

Download a meditation app, take up skateboarding, fix your sleep cycle, stop eating junk food – there are a lot of ways to have a crack at reducing your anxiety. You could also, if you feel so inclined, make a booking at Helm. 

The counsellors and behavioural health specialists at Helm “gets it.” As we mentioned earlier, they provide counselling, change programs and other support services in a way that fits in with your life. Helm is supportive and understands that when big changes happen in life, sometimes problem behaviours can get in your way.  

Helm is available online and in-person with appointments available now with qualified counsellors, psychologists and social workers. It can be accessed quickly, confidentially and with zero judgement. It’s there to help you take charge of your life.

Take the Helm

The post An Actually Useful Guide To Getting Your Sh*t Together In 2023 appeared first on DMARGE Australia.