Movember Kenny Santucci Mental Health
Kenny SantucciImage by: Movember
Movember Kenny Santucci Mental Health
19 October 2021

Kenny Santucci On Outlets For Mental Health

4 minutes read time

For Kenny Santucci, the founder of Strong New York, the reason to support Movember is simple: everyone needs to focus in on their mental health. Kenny recently sat down with us in the barber chair to expand on his experiences and ways of balancing his mental health during the pandemic.

Movember: Why do you support Movember and Men's Health?

Kenny: I think everyone needs to focus in on their mental health and Movember is a company that's helping men focus on that. A lot of times, I grew up in a generation where you weren't allowed to have feelings, you weren't allowed to feel certain things.

And now, I think with that being more acceptable, I think people need to pay attention to that a little bit more because we need it just as much as everybody else does. So I appreciate the people who are looking out for my mental health as well as everyone else's.

In the past year, especially with the pandemic, how have you been balancing your mental health? I've been balancing my mental health over the past year with the same things I normally do: I try to put as many pluses in my life as possible. Eating right and living right – those things always help out.

Anything detrimental, anything that you know is going to be a negative in your life, try to stay away from it especially in times like this where you don't really have those outlets that you would normally have.

Self-care can look different for everyone; every once in a while, I'll have a cigar because it relaxes me: I enjoy it. Other times it's hanging out with friends and being around people that push me to be a little bit better. And I think those are the things that have helped me get through this [pandemic] the most. I know it's been a rough year for a lot of people, but I try to rack up as many wins on a daily basis as possible.

Even two days ago, I got up and I just wasn't feeling myself and I started to rack up wins. I had something healthy to eat. I took a shower. I got outside for a walk. I think those are simple things that we could do on a daily basis that'll make our day significantly better.

What are strategies you recommend to your clients and the general population to keep their fitness and their mental health tip top?

I think a lot of people don't realize that depression could come from the simplest things, but also the light can come from the simplest things. I think of people who think the gym and going outside and working out and doing things that feel good, not in the moment but afterwards, right? No one ever finishes a workout and says, "Man, I really shouldn't have done that." It never happens, but it doesn't have to be this elaborate plan. I recommend 20 to 40 minutes a day of some sort of activity whether it's yoga, running, whatever you feel doing on that day.

And then the days you feel really good, those are the days you cut kind of attack and spend an hour, two hours in the gym if you want. But I recommend everyone get to a gym. I recommend everybody do something active because it's not even just the physical. I think most people have this misconception that it's only physical. There's a lot of biological things going on. Circulation, increased red blood cells, immunity. I mean, we've learned that the healthier you are, the healthier you are. So let's all get stronger.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

The advice I would give to my younger self was pay a little bit more attention in school. I was one of those people who just never really paid attention too much. But I realized at a young age that if I wanted things to change in my life, I had to do it myself. I probably would've started a little bit sooner, but life is short and we want to, like I said before, rack up as many wins as we possibly can. So make as many people smile as you can because that smile that you give to somebody else, they're going to return to you. So keep making everybody smile, get a little bit stronger and just enjoy life because you never know when it's going to end.

How would you sum up your journey in five words?

" It's okay to be selfish. "

I think my mental health and what I've done for myself has helped me help other people. I compare life all the time to being on an airplane. The first thing they tell you when the plane's going down which a lot of times in the last year you feel your life's in a downward spiral. As soon as you start taking care of yourself, then you could help the person next to you and help them put their mask on, but it starts with you. Everybody's looking to change the world, but nobody's looking to change themselves. Start changing yourself, be a little selfish, take care of yourself and then worry about everyone else.

Learn more from Kenny on the importance of guys talking about their feelings openly and more on his work here.