Man Time (mæn taIm)
(n); Any period of time spent in the company of fellow men or alone which involves manly activities away from the drama of women
Life is like a box of chocolates: if you don’t take the occasional break, too much can make you feel nauseous. It’s good to take some time out now and again, plus it comes with a whole host of psychological, social and health benefits too. So if anyone asks, here are 15 reasons to step away from the office, clear your schedule, put the BlackBerry in the freezer and make some man time.
1. It’s Economics 101: the law of diminishing returns states that you can have too much of a good thing. Getting your own space every now and then has a positive effect on relationships, providing a period of psychological renewal between you and your other half.
2. A study by the UK’s Mental Health Foundation found that men who find it difficult to share and talk about their feelings open up more when they’ve watched football. It enables them to express and release internalised emotion that they don’t feel able to express otherwise – best excuse ever to catch a game.
3. A healthy gamble. Harvard law professor Charles R Nesson says poker nights teach you how to take good risks and recognise your opponent’s strategy without revealing your own. “Put those two together and you have a dynamite businessman,” he says.
4. A moderate amount of Tiger Time with your buddies has oodles of health benefits (note the word “moderate”). If you’re a beer drinker, researchers have found that beer can reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes and dementia.
5. Psychologist Dr Jason Goodson of America’s Utah University found that watching stand-up comedy had a significant effect on patients, easing stress, promoting social bonding, lowering blood pressure and possibly boosting the immune system.
6. Reading your favourite book improves your brain health. Researchers at the University of Sussex found that reading for only six minutes can reduce your stress levels by more than two thirds. The study also found that reading was more effective at reducing stress than walking or listening to music.
7. If helping avoid a heart attack and diabetes isn’t enough motivation to eliminate that gut in the gym, consider this: for every point your body mass index is under 25, your testosterone levels increase, giving a very literal meaning to being told to “man up”.
8. Taking some time to be more metrosexual can boost your salary by 10 per cent. According to a paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research in the US, men who are attractive enjoy a premium on salaries, upwards of 10 per cent, compared to their less appealing colleagues.
9. Hobbies can help stave off burnout. Research shows that those who are in stressful jobs that normally contribute to burnout (eg low-control, high-demand jobs) feel less need to “recover” from their day at bedtime if they participate in more physical or social leisure activities that aren’t work-related.
10. Make some man time for your man parts. 99 per cent of testicular cancer can be cured if caught at an early stage, so give some time to the family jewels to check for lumps, swellings, or changes in firmness, and be sure to see your GP if you notice any abnormalities.
11. A day on the golf course can help you live longer. A study by the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet found the death rate for golfers is 40 per cent lower than for other people of the same sex, age and socioeconomic status. Swing like Tiger (only on the golf course mind) and reap the rewards with an extra five years of life expectancy.
12. Afternoon sleeps are not for the idle: a University of Düsseldorf study found superior memory recall once a person had had six minutes of sleep. In other words, a power nap promotes mental performance, so no need to feel bad about slinking away for those 40 winks.
13. Embrace the outdoors. It’s one thing going to the gym, but the great outdoors isn’t called great for nothing. Austrian researchers found that hiking reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels (fat which narrows the arteries), removes blood sugars and improves glucose tolerance.
14. Go buy a new suit. Researchers discovered that giving your Amex a run-around increases activity in the pre-frontal cortex of your brain (the part associated with pleasure and positive thinking). Increased levels of dopamine are released making you feel as happy as a British prince in Vegas.
15. You man, you make fire. Going camping and building a fire creates an environment so different from what you’re used to that it provokes psychophysiological stimulation associated with learning, improving your cognitive functions.