Alright fellas, let’s get real for a second: Do you practice self-care?
Now, we want you to be honest, so really take a moment and think about it. Is self-care something you prioritize, or even understand?
If you answered, “I don’t know”, “Maybe”, or anything other than a firm “Yes”… we need to talk.
Now, we get it… The first thing most men imagine when they hear the phrase “self-care” is something like this: a woman in a bubble bath, surrounded by therapeutic scented candles, with cucumber slices on her eyes, and a glass of white wine in her hand. And some men just aren’t into that, no matter how relaxing it sounds.
What we’ve seen from surveys and online forums is that the self-care industry is largely targeted toward women, thus leading men to believe that it’s a women’s only club.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Self-care isn’t just for ladies.
It’s for dudes that crunch numbers, bros who like to get their hands dirty, and every guy in between.
But that’s not the only issue. Most men look at self-care as a waste of time. In their minds, any amount of time that’s focused on self-care means a loss of productivity and work, and to some men self-care is just plain anti-masculine.
Can you blame them? The society we live in has geared self-care toward women for the last several decades.
Thankfully, in the last few years, there’s been a shift, as more companies are advocating to make wellness and self-care more accessible and appealing to men. The male population has started to take notice, which is why more men are embracing self-care with open arms and minds.
So, let’s take a look at what self-care for men really means.
What is self-care… for men?
Believe it or not, self-care is much more than grooming yourself to look good on the surface.
In fact, the World Health Organization defines self-care as:
“The ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
In other words, men’s self-care or self-care in general is about promoting your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and wellbeing. It’s about prioritizing your health first so that you’re strong enough to face and conquer life’s daily struggles, anxieties, stressors, and challenges.
But here’s the issue…
Men have been programmed to perform, provide, protect, and stay productive even if it means neglecting their own well-being. It’s known as feeling pressured to remain in “The Man Box”, a term that implies “manly” behaviors or stereotypes that keep men behaving tough and masculine while ignoring self-care and their mental health.
And that’s just not sustainable… for anyone.
This brings us to…
Why men’s self-care is important
In the last several years, researchers have found that daily stress can wreak havoc on your body.
In fact, stress-related illnesses are at an all-time high, and the men in our society either ignore the warning signs of stress-related illnesses or deny them altogether.
And that’s not all…
As it turns out, unemployment or job loss can throw men’s mental health off, causing depression, hopelessness, and even suicide.
And the worst part is, men are less likely to reach out for help than women when it comes to their health and wellbeing.
In fact, some men have no idea that their health isn’t OK, until their symptoms can no longer be ignored. And in some cases, it’s already too late.
To put it in perspective, we invite you to look at it this way…
On any given week, or day, do you make a mental list of the following…
- I’ve gotta get more done,
- I’ve gotta figure out this problem,
- I need to tackle these obstacles,
- And then I’ll take some time to relax my body, rest my bones, and recharge my mind.
Now, here’s the problem with that logic: The last thing on your list is rarely ever checked off. Which means taking time to care for yourself is not a priority.
But the more you push off caring for yourself, the less you’ll be able to accomplish from your list.
Think of it like this…
When you’re on a plane and severe turbulence sets in, you know that securing your own oxygen mask must be done first before you can assist in securing someone else’s.
The same holds true for your daily life. By prioritizing your health and wellbeing first, you can in turn have greater mental focus, energy, and physical strength to achieve your desired goals.
So, how can men practice self-care?
Men’s self-care ideas
You may be surprised to learn that you already know exactly what you need to do in order to feel better and be healthier. It simply boils down to actually doing it.
This is why having a list of self-care ideas can help. So, here are a few men’s self care ideas to practice at home…
1. Eat whole foods
If there’s one thing we stand by, it’s that food is medicine.
Food is more than fuel you need for energy. In fact, whole foods like organic vegetables, fruits, and lean meats can help fight disease, inflammation, and keep you active and feeling young.
Now, we’re not saying you can’t have a slice of pizza or a can of beer, but we are saying that pizza and beer shouldn’t be the foundation of your diet.
Men are typically bigger and have more muscle than women, so they tend to need more calories throughout the day. Shoot for a diet filled with various organic protein foods, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and whole grains.
2. Get quality sleep
You know the saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”? Well, a lot of men think sleep is a waste of time. But the truth is, sleep is perhaps the most valuable activity you can do in a 24-hour day.
Quality sleep enables you to feel better, stronger, think clearer, and be more active. In other words, sleep recharges your body to function properly. It allows your muscles, joints, and organs to recover, restore, and prepare for the next day.
Lack of quality sleep will negatively affect every other area in your life.
Daniel Berkelmans, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, stated:
“Regular physical activity helps to maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of many chronic conditions and injuries.”
But that’s not all. Other benefits of exercise include:
- Improved sexual health and quality sleep
- Improved mental health and mood
- Sharper thinking and learning skills
- Stronger bones, joints, and muscles
4. Spend time with family and friends
Face to face interaction and communication with the ones you love has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
That said, spending time with family and friends helps you create stronger bonds and relationships with other people as well.
5. Go outside
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), going outside can improve your overall health and wellness.
Not only do the outdoors offer various physical activities, but it provides fresh air that can reduce stress and promote mental health.
Michelle Kondo, a social scientist with the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, made this statement:
“There are many physical and psychological benefits of nature that scientists have observed, which can better help us understand how nature supports wellness in the body, mind and community… We are finding that isolation is a killer, and that the outdoors really provides that space for us to come together under trees or to walk together along trails.
6. Discover new or old hobbies
Sometimes exploring new or old hobbies can get you out of your funk and into a better state of mind.
Reading a book, riding your bike, developing a green thumb, or playing a new sport can really stimulate your mind and body.
Not only do hobbies relieve stress, but they build your self-esteem, confidence, and patience.
Don’t be afraid to explore what interests you, and if you need to take it back to your childhood hobbies, so be it.
7. Pamper yourself
Now we know that most men don’t like the word “pamper”. Maybe it sounds too feminine for them. But the truth is, men need to be pampered, too.
Here’s the thing… Pampering for men comes in all shapes and sizes. A relaxing massage is a form of pampering. So is yoga, meditation, playing sports, going camping, sitting in a sauna, or relaxing in a hot bath.
That’s right fellas, a soothing hot bath is very similar to a long soak in a hot tub, especially when you incorporate a therapeutic bath balm.
What’s more, topical CBD has been shown to be very therapeutic for your skin.
That said, the more you incorporate organic skin care products and therapeutic bath balms, the better you’ll inevitably look and feel.
8. Ask for help
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it wasn’t built by one man. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Asking for help shows that you are strong, confident, and resourceful. It means you may not have all the answers or the ability to do something on your own but admitting that truth is the real sign of strength.
A wake-up call for men and self-care
Whether macho men want to admit it or not, they need self-care. And by making it a priority, they can be of better service to themselves and to the people around them.
Now that you know self-care isn’t selfish, anti-masculine, or exclusively feminine—but rather necessary to better your physical, mental, emotional, and sexual health—give some of these self-care practices a try. We promise, you’ll be glad you did.
For questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to our Alki team. We’re happy to help in any way we can.