by Andrea Watson | December 23, 2020
Bubble baths. Yoga. Getting your hair done. If these self-care ideas don’t appeal to you, then you may be a man. But what is self-care really, and isn’t it just for women? Well, self- care is taking the initiative to actively engage in something that is good for you that will maintain your mental health and wellness. And no, it is definitely not just for women. Unfortunately, it is marketed in such a way that it looks and sounds like it’s just for women, and this is simply an injustice to men, which is wrong and sad.
So what can a man do to break through the flowery-scented barrier and claim some self care for their own? You may be thinking of hitting the gym or focusing on nutrition. These can be self- care things, but it is far too easy to turn these activities into competitions, and men have way enough of that to begin with, so for this post we’re going to skip over it. Physical self-care is great, but it must be balanced with other types of self-care including spiritual growth, emotional well-being, exploration, and connection.
Now some of these ideas may sound “girly”, but they are really not. Any of these activities can be done and should be done by men. First off, we have meditation. Wait! don’t turn away. Meditation is manly, just look at all the monks in the East who practice meditation every day. They experience spiritual growth like there’s no tomorrow. Anyone can benefit from meditation. It is grounding, focuses the mind, opens up new ways of thinking, solidifies or helps build belief structures, and heightens awareness. These are all great things for spiritual growth and the science backs up meditation as a go-to solution for stressful situations and stuff.
Next we have sleep. Yes, sleep. I cannot advocate sleep for women and not for men. It is for all genders. A short midday nap can put pep back into everyone’s step. It acts as sort of a reset for your mindset. There are not many other ways that are better for letting go of negative crap than sleep. While we sleep, our brains are processing information like crazy. It helps us work through problems and difficult situations. It refreshes us and grants us an extra new start to the day. It just gives us a break from everything we’ve got going on for 30-90 minutes or so. Sleep is important if if you are like many other people, then you probably need a nap during the day. So go ahead and get one!
Add an extra few hours or so of male bonding time per week. Identify your true buddies-the ones you can count on and the ones who haven’t drifted away over the years. Identify a block of time during your week that you can reserve for hikes or going for beers or working on cars with those other men, even if it means cutting something else out of your schedule. Interpersonal relationships are important for men and to keep those, they must be fostered.
Build a man cave. Women have taken this concept and have made she-sheds (space just for her where she can unwind and do whatever she wants) and this is a good thing. A man needs a space where he can be himself without any judgement or interruption from the outside. This is a place where he can do whatever he wants, be it watching a game, admiring his gun collection, working on his favorite hobby, or playing video games, or whatever. And it doesn’t have to be super decked-out and fancy, either. It can be just a designated room or space that he can build on over time.
So there are a few ideas for men’s self-care. I hope you can come up with some of your own and I hope you can start doing whatever it is that you have chosen right away. After all, men live under constant pressure and everything is a competition. You need a break. You need to take care of you. If you do, you will naturally become more effective and efficient at whatever else you are doing in your life. A well person is better at functioning than one whose wellness is slipping. Until next time,