5 Top Clothing Tips to Build Confidence for Men

Since ‘For Men To Talk’ was formed in December 2019, we felt then and still do that it’s time for a mental health revolution and love yourself again. To do that takes a lot of cogs to be aligned and working in the engine. One major cog is having the confidence in the clothing that we wear.

Lisa Talbot is an award winning personal and fashion stylist who believes that the clothes in our wardrobe should reflect our personality, lifestyle and body shape. She loves to help people with their style and start dressing in a way that unleashes their real personality. 

Here are her latest 5 clothing tips to help build confidence for men.

1. Colour is a powerful tool to help us feel confident, select a colour that makes your face appear light, bright and clear. Try a colour such as pastel pink, powder blue or if you love vibrant tones then a cobalt blue, jade green or cerise pink.

2. A great pair of shoes is always a good item to invest in and they can really complete your outfit. Whether you prefer a white trainer or a brogue, a shoe will enhance your look.

3. A blazer will elevate your look and create a super sleek, well polished appearance. A blazer can be incorporated into a jeans, t-shirt and trainer look or if you prefer try a chino, shirt, loafer and pop in the blazer.

4. Great grooming will always create confidence, think clean shaven, a nice trimmed beard, great hair, all of these will make you feel great. Don’t forget to leave home without a splash of aftershave that suits your personality.

5. The perfect fitting jeans are a must for any man’s wardrobe, whether you prefer a skinny, slim or a wider leg having the right fit will create a lovely shape on the lower body, but please no baggy bums please!

If you feel lost with clothing and what may look best for you, Lisa is available for a free, no obligation discovery call to see how she can help you.

https://www.lisatalbot.co.uk

Celebrating One Year as a Community Interest Company (CIC)

My name is Luke Newman and I am the founder and director of ‘For Men To Talk’. On 3 August 2021, it marked the one-year anniversary of myself making it a Community Interest Company (CIC), but not the one-year anniversary of it being founded.

‘For Men To Talk’ is a social enterprise, meaning that as a business it wants to change the world for the better.

A community interest company was introduced by the United Kingdom government in 2005 under the Companies Act 2004. It’s designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good.

As a ‘CIC’, that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to give a platform for men to talk about how they are feeling and trying to make it normal to do so.

In late December 2019, I set up ‘For Men To Talk’ just as a Facebook group giving men who are suffering with anxiety, depression and grief a chance to talk with other fellow sufferers and improve their well-being. At that point I never thought about making it into a business, let alone a Community Interest Company, I didn’t even know what that was!

It wasn’t until I met an incredible magician, Lee Smith, and Ryan Ferrara, who is a director (and eye-candy) of Snuggeries, who create the most beautiful garden rooms, at a networking meeting. They suggested speaking to Alex Hughes as they believed ‘For Men To Talk’ could become a business. 

Alex is the Founder & CEO of Shifties, based in St.Neots in Cambridgeshire. Shifties is a community for UK micro-business owners to connect, learn and grow together. The group helps support independent business growth with opportunities to network, learn and challenge themselves. 

After contacting Alex, he could see that ‘For Men To Talk’ could become a social enterprise business and make it either a charity or community interest company. But the question was, which one?

The Charity Commission prefers a completely independent, all-volunteer board of trustees and if those trustees aren’t happy with my performance, they can remove me as the director and from ‘For Men To Talk’ completely. Even though I have confidence in my own ability, I couldn’t risk losing something that I had worked so unbelievably hard to build.

So there it was, I formed a CIC and as the founder I can be on the board so that I can maintain control of my creation. Six months later, I added James Dunn, Ian Payne, Justin Leigh and later Steve Whitney as Non-Executive Directors and placed them on the ‘Board of Directors’. 

This is to support myself and fulfil our commitment to be a benefit to the community, with a particular focus on supporting men’s mental health. Adding these gentlemen to the board will help fulfil that objective.

As we now start the second year as a Community Interest Company, my pledge is to continue hosting physical and virtual meetings to allow men to talk about how they are feeling and also highlighting the need for children to be able to be talk openly. This will be through schools and also through ‘The Mental Health Moles’ book which I have designed and written, which details many mental health illnesses, which could help them recognise their symptoms.

To continue and obtain my pledge, the next stage will be looking and applying for grants, donations and other means of funding. 

Our New Non-Executive Director

Today Luke Newman, the founder of ‘For Men To Talk’, is honoured to announce that he has included a new Non-Executive Director who will be placed on the ‘Board of Directors’.

Luke has asked Steve Whitney, the Managing Director of Cromwell Stoves Ltd, Wood Burning and Multi-Fuel Stove Specialists, to help the company in an advisory capacity. Which he has excitedly accepted.

“As a Community Interest Company, ‘For Men To Talk’ has a commitment to be a benefit to the community, with a particular focus on supporting men’s mental health”, said Luke. “To welcome Steve to join James, Ian and Justin on the board will help fulfil that objective.”

“From personal heartache, Steve is passionate about helping men get together and talk to each other about their lives and what help they might need, he will a valuable member of the ‘For Men To Talk’ team,” Luke concluded.

The other Non-Executive Directors are:
James Dunn
who is an advocate of talking and listening about the topic of men’s mental health and has been an attendee of the ‘For Men To Talk’ group meetings since they were founded.

Ian Payne, recognises the importance of communication and counselling from his own mental health experiences, as well as the experience of others. He is a strong advocate of looking after ourselves both physically and mentally.

Justin Leigh is a highly experienced Business Leader & Executive Coach with over twenty-five years’ experience in sales and leadership. Justin has founded the Cambridgeshire branch of a charitable group ‘Walk & Talk 4 Men’. Just is a passionate supporter of men’s mental health and is proud to help men find the help they need, when they need it.

‘For Men To Talk’ is back at Jones’ Cafe

After 15 months since the last physical meeting, a men’s mental health group is returning to Jones’ Cafe in Biggleswade on Tuesday 3 August 2021, from 6pm to 8pm.

Husband and father, Luke Newman, from Potton, Bedfordshire formed ‘For Men To Talk’ in December 2019, to get men talking about their anxiety, depression and grief. 

The 40-year-old has suffered for a number of years with grief and anxiety since losing his mother and sister both to cancer. 

Already been through counselling and therapy, Luke recognised that there wasn’t any groups for men just simply to talk.  

After setting up a Facebook page on Boxing Day in 2019, the first ‘For Men To Talk’ group meetings were held at ‘Jones’ Café’ in Biggleswade in February and March 2020, attracting over 20 to each event, where they talked about anything from football, television, movies, to feelings. 

The physical groups were forced to stop at the end of March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and further restrictions, but continued every Wednesday with meetings virtually via Zoom, the virtual conference website, and they will still continue.

“The meetings are very informal”, said Luke. “There are no experts on hand. But leaflets and contact numbers for professional groups, such as the Samaritans, MIND and CALM are available in an Information Corner for those men who recognise that they may need further help.” 

“I have been busy since the last physical meeting. Our virtual meetings are going from strength and ‘For Men To Talk’ is now a Community Interest Company. This means its a limited company, which is a benefit to the community. I have also designed and written ‘The Mental Health Moles’ book showing fifty-two storyboards with advice about mental health topics.” 

Mr Newman said that he first started suffering from depression after his mother Jen Newman died aged 54 in 2005 and continued after his sister Heidi Melrose died aged 44 in 2015.  

“I have struggled. But I feel very fortunate that I have always been able to open up and talk to not only family and friends, but strangers in the street. I know that people, especially men struggle with that. We need to be more open about our mental health.” 

The group aims to meet every first Tuesday of the month in the cafe.  

‘For Men To Talk’ can be found on their website www.formentotalk.co.uk and social media channels. Luke is also available for any questions on 07709 446480.

The Launch Challenge that instigated ‘The Mental Health Moles’ Book

I’ve been a part of Shifties for approximately 18 months or so. They help to enable business owners to connect, learn, and grow with their businesses together.

The team, especially Alex Hughes, have been so supportive in both myself and ‘For Men To Talk’ and what we are trying to achieve throughout that period.

Over the last year, Alex, with the help of experts, have set out a number of tasks to improve us as entrepreneurs and small business owners. Tasks such as ‘Social Media Training’, ‘Meditation’ and ‘Expand Your Network’.

I always want to participate in these exercises. I want to learn and I want to improve, both as a person and as a director of a company. Apart from the ‘Early Riser’ task of waking up at 5am, that’s a bit too far for me!

The latest task was the ‘Launch Challenge’. Giving the members of Shifties a chance to launch a new business, service or product. At that time, I had already launched ‘For Men To Talk’ and I didn’t want to launch another business.

I needed a product. But what could I do? I needed something to support ‘For Men To Talk’.

Every since I was a child, I was fascinated by the Mr. Men books. I used to love my parents reading them to me, until I could read them myself and I love reading them now to my own children. The books are a series of brightly coloured, boldly drawn illustrations and introduces a different title character, with a different personality trait with a different a simple moral lesson in each book.

Six months previously to the start of the ‘Launch Challenge’, I used my love of the Mr. Men books and designed two cartoon moles, one with a bowler hat and one slightly smaller. I accompanied the moles and wrote a 4 page storyboard where the moles talked about different mental health illnesses and posted them on social media channels every Monday. All of a sudden I had around 20 different storyboards and I realised that this was my product!

Over the coming weeks, I researched, wrote and designed further stories, filled with topics, such as anxiety, depression, grief, social media, stress, sleep and many more, combining to make a total of 52 storyboards.

I have always asked questions, about anything. If I don’t know something, I am not afraid to find out the answer by asking, especially in business and in this scenario, a product launch. I had virtual meetings with a book publisher, printers and a proof reader to make sure that I had everything I need to make sure that my book would be at the best that it could be.

So right now I am very proud to announce that The Mental Health Moles book is OUT NOW. It is available:

All money goes towards supporting For Men To Talk who give men suffering with anxiety, depression and grief a chance to talk with other fellow sufferers.

The Mental Health Moles are here to Help!

A founder of a mental health peer support company in Bedfordshire has published a short book highlighting mental health challenges.

Similar to the style of the Mr. Men books, Luke Newman from Potton, has designed and written ‘The Mental Health Moles’ showing fifty-two storyboards accompanied with brightly coloured and boldly drawn illustrations with advice about mental health topics, such as anxiety, depression, grief, social media, stress, sleep and many more.

Luke has lost both his mother and sister to cancer and felt that there wasn’t an open platform for himself and other men to have a place to talk about their feelings openly.

So in 2019, Luke launched ‘For Men to Talk’ providing men with an opportunity to talk about their mental health during a weekly meeting. The group started at the beginning of 2020 in Jones Café in Biggleswade until the coronavirus lockdown moved them to the Zoom virtual online platform. The meetings will hopefully return to the café in July 2021, as well as continuing online, depending on lockdown restrictions.

Suitable for all ages and genders, ‘The Mental Health Moles’ book is available to purchase for £4.99 from the Amazon Kindle store via www.bit.ly/MHMOLES and £5.99 for the printed version which will soon be available from the ‘For Men To Talk’ website.

“I launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £300, so that 100 copies could be printed,” said Luke. “People donated a minimum of amount of £10 and would receive a personalised and signed copy done myself. That target was reached in just eighteen hours. I can’t thank those people enough for the support”.

For more information about For Men to Talk and how to join the weekly sessions, please visit www.formentotalk.co.uk

Being Outdoors is good for Mental Health

During the ‘For Men To Talk’ group meetings on Wednesdays, many of the attendees express the importance in them spending time outdoors in nature. It has been found to help with mental health problems including anxiety and depression. The photos you see are also taken by them.

Here are just some of their comments:

“Mostly, it quietens down the ‘noise’ in my mind of overthinking/worrying about stuff. It usually takes at least 20 minutes of activity, then my brain goes into reset mode and I just enjoy the fresh air and scenery.

On a bigger scale, I enjoy the countryside, knowing I didn’t have any control over this world being formed but get to enjoy it’s beauty, it gives me some perspective on things.”

“The best way to describe it is that it resets my mood. If you think of a computer that is just not running right. You turn it off, then turn it back on. Then things go back to normal.”

“If I was to put it crudely, it puts a wedge between me and my thoughts. It reminds me that I’m still alive if I am struggling.”

“It allows me to reset and to feel real again. It allows me to talk with my wife, without being interrupted by the kids.”

Continues…

‘For Men To Talk’ and the STOP Suicide campaign

‘For Men To Talk’ is very proud to stand with CPSL Mind in their STOP Suicide campaign. For the next foreseeable months, you will see their logo on the ‘For Men To Talk’ group meeting posters and other marketing material.

STOP Suicide is an award-winning suicide prevention campaign that seeks to empower communities and individuals across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to help stop suicides by being alert to the warning signs, asking directly about suicide and helping those who are feeling suicidal to stay safe.

It focusses on encouraging men to open up about their mental health experiences and encourage others to ask openly and directly if they are worried that someone may be at risk.

FACTFILE:

  • An estimated one in five of us has had suicidal thoughts at some point in our lives.
  • Three-quarters of suicides in the UK are by men.
  • Seventy per cent of people who die by suicide have not been in contact with mental health services in the year before their death.
  • The single biggest group remains middle aged men.
  • Suicide rates in younger men have been incrementally increasing in recent years.

This is a Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind (CPSL Mind) campaign, funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council.

For more information, please visit https://stopsuicidepledge.org/

‘For Men To Talk’ Appoints Board of Directors

As a Community Interest Company, ‘For Men To Talk’ has a commitment to be a benefit to the community, with a particular focus on supporting men’s mental health. As the company grows to fulfil its social purpose to help as many men as possible, it needs to grow internally too.

Today Luke Newman, the founder of ‘For Men To Talk’, is honoured to announce that he has put in place a ‘Board of Directors’.

“The board will discuss and advise on key strategic and operational decisions”, said Luke. “It will also ensure that the company meets its statutory obligations. I have appointed three Non-Executive Directors, each with amazing personal qualities to help me and ‘For Men To Talk’ to reach our full potential. With this newly appointed strong leadership, I am excited about what the future will bring.”

The Appointed Non-Executive Directors are:

James Dunn, who works in a fast-paced, high-performing role in London. He is an advocate of talking and listening about the topic of men’s mental health and has been an attendee of the ‘For Men To Talk’ group meetings since they were founded.

Ian Payne, recognises the importance of communication and counselling from his own mental health experiences, as well as the experience of others. He is a strong advocate of looking after ourselves both physically and mentally.

Justin Leigh is a highly experienced Business Leader & Executive Coach with over twenty-five years’ experience in sales and leadership. Justin has founded the Cambridgeshire branch of a charitable group ‘Walk & Talk 4 Men’. Just is a passionate supporter of men’s mental health and is proud to help men find the help they need, when they need it.

High-Functioning Anxiety at Work

Many of us are struggling to maintain our mental well-being during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. We maybe experiencing difficult feelings and emotions, it could be about the government restrictions, losing loved ones to the virus, or even yourself getting sick.

But we all have monthly payments such as rent or mortgage and utility bills to pay, so many of us continue to work, if we can. But our worries will continue and this can lead into an increase of anxiety at work.

High-functioning anxiety is commonly known at work. If refers to workers who live with anxiety but identify as functioning reasonably well in different aspects of their life. For instance, behind every perfect presentation and flawless project could be a huge mountain of worries.

A member of staff, who is impeccably dressed, not a hair out of place and may arrive in the office before anyone. They will look immaculate and ready for the day ahead.

They may look driven, committed, ready to complete any task and never miss a deadline. Their diary is full, but always willing to help others when asked. Nobody would ever believe something was wrong, because they always portrayed themselves as being fine.

What those co-workers might not know is that beneath the surface of that seemingly perfect exterior and work ethic, that person maybe fighting a constant case of anxiety. Their nervous energy could be a fear of failure, fear of not being good enough and even about losing their job. It drives them to try and be the best in every aspect of their working life.

If these characteristics sound familiar to someone at work, or even yourself, let’s look at what you might experience or what you may observe if you have high functioning anxiety.

Signs You’re an Overachiever/Perfectionist

Characteristics of people with high functioning anxiety that are often thought of as positive include:

  • Has an outgoing personality. Is happy happy, a joke teller and smiles and laughs frequently.
  • Punctual. Being able to complete a required task or fulfil an obligation before or at a previously designated time.
  • Proactive. Will plan ahead for all possibilities. As Benjamin Franklin said “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”.
  • Organised. Making lists or keeping calendars. Planning things carefully and keeping things tidy in all aspects of their work.
  • High achieving. Being dynamic, ambitious and being as successful as you can.
  • Detail-oriented. Being able to pay close attention and notice minor details. Giving a task undivided attention and catch mistakes or errors.
  • Active and helpful. For instances, always volunteers for the coffee run.
  • Appears outwardly calm and collected.
  • Passionate, pursue it daily with a mixture of enthusiasm and discipline.
  • Loyal. Sacrificing time and interest to put more energy into work.

Signs of Negative Characteristics

Characteristics of people with high functioning anxiety that are often thought of as negatives include:

  • A people pleaser. Being afraid of driving people away, fear of being a bad friend, spouse, and employee and fear of letting others down.
  • Talking a lot, including nervous ‘chatter’.
  • Nervous habits, such as playing with hair, cracking knuckles and biting lip.
  • The need to do repetitive things, such as counting stairs or rocking back and forth.
  • Overthinking. Thinking too much about your problems, mistakes or shortcomings
  • Lost time, like arriving too early for appointments)
  • The need for reassurance, making sure an employer is happy with their work.
  • Procrastination. Delaying an important task, usually by focusing on less urgent, more enjoyable and easier activities.
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Inability to say ‘No’. Always having an overloaded schedule, being constantly busy
  • Insomnia. Difficulty falling asleep or waking early and being unable to fall back asleep.
  • Being found to be ‘difficult to read’, such as unemotional or cold.
  • A limited social life. Turning down invitations to afterwork activities.
  • The inability to ‘enjoy the moment’ and being unable to relax.
  • The tendency to compare yourself to co-workers. A feeling of falling short of expectations.
  • Mental and physical fatigue

If you’re concerned about yourself or a colleague and have decided to say something. Your options could be:

  • See what support may be available from your employer.
  • Confide in a colleague you can trust.
  • If you see someone in distress or behaving out of character, take them aside discreetly and ask if they’re OK or if you can help.
  • Seek professional help, from a doctor or other professional if things are particularly tough.