9 Ways Of Enriching A Man’s Life.

Every person is different and, therefore, every relationship is different. It’s not like you can do exactly what your best friend does and have the same marriage as them.

On the other hand, generalities are also worth bearing in mind. Most people like food. Most women will want children at some point in life. Most people don’t like being shouted at. Most men enjoy sex.

And somewhere in between we have anecdotes, personal experiences that can be applied to life, with a pinch of salt.

That said, here are nine ways Jon finds I improve his quality of life, in the order they came to mind to him.

1: Massages to keep on top of exercise and injuries.

Jon has a number of injuries to his back and knees. This means that he needs to find that sweet spot between doing enough exercise to build the supporting tissues around the injuries and not doing so much that he’ll further damage any tissue. Which means a lot of massages.

After weights, after a sedentary day or before bed, Jon needs to have massages on offer to make sure his body carries on working. By massaging him when he needs it, I allow him to carry on lifting weights and working long shifts without suffering the pain that would normally follow.

2: Food.

Jon works long shifts and tries to keep busy in between them. He lifts weights, reads, writes, studies, trains the dog, learns to paint with me, goes shopping, goes hiking, helps me with the garden and everything in between. And that’s before we begin to look at his less educational entertainment, such as games, films, social media or TV shows.

Just to cook the high calorie, high protein, high carb, easily digestible food he enjoys would take 30-60 minutes of attention each day. Never mind learning how to combine ingredients and seasoning so that he can enjoy the variety of foods he likes, eat some cheaper products and improvise.

By cooking for him, I am either freeing his time for other things or making sure he gets the quality of food he wouldn’t have on his own.

3: Keeping things in order.

Again, because he is so busy with everything else in life, the house isn’t his first priority. When he gets home from twelve or thirteen hours outside, he doesn’t want to do the dishes, put the laundry through, walk the dog, iron a shirt, hoover the hallway and weed the garden. So having it already done is a big plus.

4: Take on small tasks and assist in projects.

Likewise, there are small jobs and large projects that take up a lot of time. If he is sending out CVs, composing a story or calling to book an appointment, then that will be eating into his time elsewhere. By having someone else to take on menial tasks, the end of his day is free.

5: Make things more fun.

Sometimes he just has to do things. Go and get some groceries, take the car to the mechanic, meet social obligations or go for a walk to relax a joint. On his own, he finds these tasks hard to enjoy. They’re just tedious parts of being an adult human being.

By making a bit more of an event out of them, we can take our focus away from the more tedious aspects of these tasks and enjoy our time together instead.

6: Companionship.

Few people like doing everything alone. And those who do often choose solitude because they find it hard to find someone else who shares their passion without spoiling it.

Jon is also a fairly solitary person, seeing even his closest friends only every few months. So having someone he doesn’t mind sharing his life with adds value to it. He likes having me there to spot his weights, sit in the garden with, go to the pub with or read to.

7: Keep updated and informed on various topics.

One person only has so much time to spend reading, clicking through links, finding studies and investigating theories. By splitting up our reading over the day and regrouping at night to discuss various events and developments, we keep updated on a number of interesting topics and always have a conversation subject to bond over.

8: Cheerleading and grounding.

Jon, as you have seen above, does a lot. A life like his, where you are always on the go, wears down eventually. So he enjoys a bit of cheerleading. That is, having someone to tell him he’s doing well, to encourage him through the day and to support him in his pursuits.

But he also enjoys being grounded from time to time. Everyone goes through times when their decisions or goals are unrealistic, self-destructive or too time-consuming. And at these times, most people need and want to be grounded, not cheered on.

By keeping me updated on his work and goals, Jon ensure he has a cheerleader and a grounder, to make sure he fulfills his ambitions.

9: Focus on the future.

This one’s a more nuanced one. I don’t actually do anything myself to create this. There is no way to make someone else pay more attention to one thing or less attention to another.

But simply by existing, Jon finds I’m a reminder of the future ahead. He knows he will have children with me. And he knows we both rely primarily on him. By removing most uncertainty, it gives him something to focus on. Which means life feels easier, even if it’s actually a bit harder.

And those are the ways Jon says I improve his quality of life.

Everyone is different, and this may not work for you and your partner. But maybe it gives you some ideas as to how to make sure they are getting the quality of life they deserve.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How To… show care.

Sometimes, for some of us at least, it can be hard to get across that we actually care about someone or something. Or maybe we don’t fully understand or actually care, but we need to not alienate them. If you’re as socially awkward as I can be and need a little help, here are a few steps to showing care and concern.

1: Pay close attention.

Whatever they’re talking about, listen closely and carefully. Details, emotions and hints are everywhere in conversations when someone is in need. Make mental note of everything that seems relevant to them, as it may become more important later on. When discussing sensitive subjects it can be hard to ask people to repeat themselves and clarify, so the more you pick up the first time, the better.

2: Physical contact.

When someone needs comforting physical contact is often the most reassuring thing. Don’t necessarily start hugging someone you hardly know, but a bit of friendly contact like a hand on a shoulder can make all the difference.

3: Meet their needs.

After the conversation you will have a fairly clear idea about what you could realistically do to help. Offer help when you can and make it clear that you aren’t being inconvenienced.

4: Offer food or drink.

More comfort is found in food and drink. If you can’t do much for them, at least bring them a stiff drink, some chocolate or a pizza. Something comforting, easy to consume and that may help even them out a little. It also encourages normalcy by giving them the option of sitting down to a regular meal and gives more chance for conversation.

5: Give them some space.

If there is literally nothing you can do for them, make sure they are in safe hands and give them plenty of space. Having everyone looming around can sometimes make people feel like they’re causing drama, which makes them postpone the natural recovery process. Instead, back off until you’re useful or called upon and try and encourage others to do so as well.

And that’s how I manage when I’m not sure how to react when someone is distressed.

What would you suggest adding? Open to any advice.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How To… prepare a “downer” kit.

Everyone gets a little down from time to time. Maybe you had a bad day, maybe you’re hormonal, maybe something serious happened or maybe you’re just born that way. And when you feel like that, there are things you want and need to help you feel better. As someone who lives with these feelings every few weeks and depressive bouts every month or so, I have more of less perfected the art of the “downer” kit. So here is how I make it.

This is part II of my ongoing “housekeeper’s kits” series. For part I, the household first aid kit, click here.

1: The container.

This is more important than it seems. You will need a moderately sized container, about as big as a large makeup bag or tiny backpack.

But it also has to have at least five compartments, if not more, be soft to touch, easy to open and in a soft, engaging colour like a pastel pink, yellow or green, bright white or something metallic. The reason for the compartments is so that it doesn’t need sorting, because the last thing you need is to dig through piles of things you don’t want looking for the one single thing you do want. The reason for the softness and easy-open is because when you are depressed your hormones are everywhere, which can cause crying (blurred vision and headaches) and wobbly hands (not best combined with fiddly clasps or sharp edges). And the reason for the colour is because you want something you can look at without hurting your eyes if you have a headache and that inspires energy and joy when you look at it.

2: Diet.

Far more important than you would guess. When you’re down you obviously crave certain comfort foods, but you also need to boost your micronutrients. Try keeping a balance of healthy snacks (dark chocolate, mixed nuts, Nakd bars, etc), healthy comfort food recipe alternatives (mac and cheese, pizza, meatloaf, spagbol, etc) and supplements known to help with depression (omega 3, vitamin B complex, St John’s Wort, evening primrose oil) in your bag at all times.

3: Exercise.

Keeping active helps you elevate your mood and distract yourself from depression. But fighting the lethargy can be hard. Make sure to keep some light weights and hand grips for armchair exercise and a yoga video to watch, to help encourage you to do five or ten minutes here and there.

4: Soothing.

Sometimes you’re feeling very shaky and just need to calm down. No appetite, no energy, no drive at all. You’re not exactly miserable at this point. You just look it and feel very tired or anxious. For these times, you need a soothing set. Keep at least two CD mixes or mp3 playlists with the most calming and happy songs you can find or tolerate when depressed. Have some sunglasses in case you need to go outside and even a sleep mask for when you’re home. Keep a bath salt mix in case the urge to soak in the tub strikes you, but the idea of mixing one is overwhelming. An inflatable neck pillow and a small hot water bottle may also help relax you.

5: Mood elevation.

For when you’re on your way up and need something to help you along or when you’ve just got out of rock bottom and need some distraction, keep some entertaining, exciting things around. A short book of jokes, a comedy or action film or some more invigorating music will help.

6: Human contact.

When you’re depressed, depending on why you’re down and how you deal with it, at some point you may not want to be alone. Try and keep a phonebook with names, house, work and mobile numbers and good contact hours for everyone who could help you in your time of need. This is very useful if you ever feel alone, panicked or paranoid and aren’t sure who to call.

Also, if these bouts are regular, try and have someone as your designated “depression monitor”, to call when you’re scared of hitting rock bottom or finding it hard to get out of bed. This should be someone who can just be there for you, encourage you and perhaps drive you to a new and interesting place to help kick you out of the smaller slumps.

7: Pamper.

Finally, you want to have things to treat yourself with. Massage oils, makeup, a hair styling set, a manicure set and some of your favourite childhood sweets would all be good for this area. Anything small and hard to get your hands on when you don’t even want to leave the house.

And that is what to put into a kit to fight depression, whether you’re just feeling a little down because of the weather or so bad you can’t face the thought of leaving bed.

What would you put into your “downer” kit?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!