In the Barber Chair with Benjamin Thigpen
Benjamin ThigpenImage by: Movember
In the Barber Chair with Benjamin Thigpen
19 October 2021

In the Barber Chair with Benjamin Thigpen

4 minutes read time

We sat down with Ben in New York City to ask him about how he’s staying healthy and happy in today’s world.

In the past year, especially with the pandemic, how have you been balancing your mental health?

Like most people, I was dealing with the unknown for the first 60 days of the pandemic. So, I decided to take some time to focus on my mental health. I took a Peloton class 5 times a week, walked to the grocery store multiple times a week to pick out what I would cook for each night, and distinctly remember wearing surgical latex gloves, sanitizer in my pocket, and an N95 mask and thought anything I touched had fomites. If I wasn’t cooking, or cleaning/sanitizing, or exercising, I was talking to my family or catching up on TV shows or movies that I never made time before to watch. 

Making a semi-strict routine for myself was key to mentally getting through the height of the epicenter. I had to remind myself that I didn’t have it so bad and that other people were truly suffering and losing loved ones by the day.

" Making a semi-strict routine for myself was key to mentally getting through the height of the epicenter "

One meal I kept eating during that time was a steak with a side and a salad. I ate it so much that I cannot ever cook using the same seasonings because it will remind me of a time that I would like to leave in the past. There was one specific activity I was able to do then that I cannot for the life of me do now, and that is napping. It was almost a form of meditation because I would put on this app BREETHE and listen to a meditative program and then I would drift into a nice 20 minute sleep. Sometimes that nap would go well into two hours, but I had no anxiety with allowing myself to let go and sleep because I ultimately had nowhere to be and had no one to answer to at the time.

Knowing what you know now and the experiences you went through, what would you say to your younger self?

“People are not out to get you. The World isn’t rooting for you to fail. If I could go back to my high school or college days, I would say to myself, ‘Nobody cares. Everyone has problems, no-one is perfect, and everyone is worried about themselves, not you per se.’”

“I remember when I had to speak multiple times in college publicly, I was constantly worrying about what everyone was thinking when I would be standing in front of dozens of people. ‘Can they hear my heart beating in my throat? Can they see the beads of sweat on my forehead? Is my face as red and hot as it feels?’ When truth is, my peers were just as nervous because they were next in line to speak at one point. Focus on your path and try to stay clear of everyday distractions."

Why do you support Movember and men’s health?

Movember is an organization that has shed light on topics that have been dubbed as taboo for far too long. Mental Health is a serious issue that quite often is ignored by society… I believe nothing in your life can work properly if you’re going through depression or major anxiety.

Every November I am reminded to book my health checkup and I always urge the people I love to do the same. It should be everyone’s priority.

In the past year, especially with the pandemic, how have you been balancing your mental health?

I personally struggled with my anxiety during the peak of the pandemic from simply not working and I say that, not referring to a financial perspective, but rather 'idle time is dangerous time.' I realized how much I love my work and my schedule and when it temporarily changed, I started noticing I wasn’t feeling like myself. Instead of surrendering to that state of mind, I made sure I worked out every single day. I never really set a specific goal for my workouts, however, I’m well aware I need to sweat periodically. Aside from that I cooked, took long walks, and just kept as busy as I could during that time period.

Join in supporting men’s health and sign up now for Movember.