Many men are missing out on the boom in self-care. Vanilla scented candles may sound a little too feminine. However, wellness is a basic need for any gender.
Unfortunately, men face some extra barriers:
● Magazine articles and television ads tend to target women, and the products and ideas may not appeal to men.
● There are still social pressures on men to focus more on their career than their personal lives.
● Even if they think about their bodies, they may be more used to controlling them than listening to them.
While there are challenges to overcome, self-care is just as important for men as for women. Try these suggestions for nurturing your body and mind.
Men’s Self-Care for Physical Health:
1. Exercise regularly. Men tend to be more physically active than women, so keep it up. If you usually lift weights and play sports, remember to make stretching a regular part of your workouts too.
2. Eat a balanced diet. Focus on whole foods instead of ultra-processed products. Consume at least 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit each day.
3. Sleep well. Heart and lung issues that interrupt sleep are more common in men. Make it easier to get your 8 hours by maintaining a consistent bedtime and blocking out background noise with a fan or white noise machine.
4. Drink in moderation. The CDC reports that men are almost twice as likely to binge drink compared to women. Limit yourself to 2 drinks or less a day and take days off from alcohol.
5. Avoid smoking. Giving up tobacco is one of the most important things you can do for your health. That includes smokeless varieties of tobacco as well. If you’ve tried before, try again. Most adults need more than one attempt to quit.
6. Practice skin care. You may want to take a second look at face masks. Your skin is an organ that needs attention. Wear sunscreen and shave your face after showering when it’s warm and moist.
7. See your doctor. Average life expectancy for men is five years less than women. The causes are complex, but you can increase your odds by getting routine screenings and following your doctor’s recommendations.
Men’s Self-Care for Mental Health:
1. Deepen your friendships. Many studies have found that men have fewer and more superficial relationships with each other. For closer connections, try spending more time with your friends and ask questions to learn more about them.
2. Manage stress. Find constructive ways to deal with daily tensions. Physical activity is a great way to relax and boost your mood. Other smart choices include listening to music and spending time with your dog.
3. Continue learning. Stimulate your mind. Take courses about subjects that interest you, especially topics unrelated to your career. Read books and listen to podcasts while you’re running or driving.
4. Develop your spirituality. Connect with something bigger than yourself. Reflect and pray on your own, or as part of your faith community. Study science or give back to your community with volunteer work.
5. Consider counseling. Depression, suicide, and substance abuse are higher among men, but they’re less likely to seek mental health services. Overcoming the stigma could save your life. Your primary care provider can help you find resources and treatment is confidential.
There’s more to self-care than bubble baths, and many men are catching on. Almost 60% of men said they’re participating in more self-care practices over the past 5 years, according to a survey by Miraval Resorts. Your lifestyle plays a major role in your wellbeing, so join the self-care revolution. You’ll be glad you did!