Men need and benefit from self-care as much women do. When committed to, it builds upon and creates a more positive relationship that you have with yourself. It is vital for stress and mood management. Knowing how to take care of yourself is a lifelong task. It develops over time and requires practice and ongoing commitment. It’s not expensive, but does require personal investment.
I have worked with male clients that sometimes don’t seem to understand the concept or recognise the importance of taking care of themselves. The idea of self-care, just doesn’t seem to feature for them, and it can take some work to come up with ideas, as to how to apply it to their lives.
Here are some ideas….
Lessen your expectations of yourself
You can start working on this by softening the self-critic inside your head. When you berate yourself, and speak harshly to yourself pause for a moment and think about how you would to speak to someone you care about. Then adjust your internal critic accordingly. Its important to stop and challenge your negative thoughts and criticism because your thoughts and their tone influence your behaviour. When you speak kindly and validate yourself, you take the first step towards integrating other ways to take care of yourself.
Make exercise and healthy eating a daily commitment.
Exercise releases the body’s feel good hormones, which help to banish depression and stress and offers an instant mood lift. When incorporated regularly your body becomes more accustomed to managing stress.
High quality sleep
Not rocket science but deep, consistent sleep underpins and supports just about everything. With poor sleep, health problems and well being can slide pretty quickly. Not getting enough sleep is linked to anxiety and depression, detracts from memory, creates weight gain, and impairs positive mental health.
Spend time with friends and family
Good mental and physical health are byproducts of social connections, but these connections take time and energy. Family and friendships creates meaning. Healthy relationships create a sense of purpose and belonging, you reap what you sew. Love them and invest in them.
Spend time in nature
Nature is amazing for the soul and spending time in it has obvious and proven benefits for both your mental and physical wellbeing. Research suggests that nature reduces hypertension, improves cardiovascular health. It improves mental well being by reducing anxiety and has a restorative effect on mental fatigue and vitality.
Reach out for help when you need it.
This can be easier said than done particularly with the pressures and roles placed upon men by societies and themselves. It’s ok to, take a risk by being vulnerable it may get the help you need. Not asking for help when you need can be a form of self-sabotage, mix it up by self medicating with drugs and alcohol is a recipe for disaster.
If you have made it to the end of this article and take one thing away. Please let it be quality relaxation (Not just zoning out with Netflix). The benefits of high quality relaxation and /or meditation are evidenced and numerous. In the world we live in, it can be hard to take time for ourselves and be still. You could try the Headspace App, which will teach you how to meditate mindfully in ten minutes. 10 minutes of meditation are the best investment you can make in your day.