Self-care is not just for women.
But most of the men I speak to think self-care equates to (no, not that!) a pack of beer and a take out in front of the TV. Most men have no idea of the concept and how to apply it to their lives.
Self-care and what I call ‘beer and take out care’ are very different.
Self-care is about promoting and increasing your overall mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Self-care is about putting activities in place now in order to strengthen your base. If life is like a pyramid the stronger your base is the less likely it is you will fall.
Self-care is a life long commitment to you.
Beer and take-out care is roadside repair! Something has gone seriously wrong so beer and take out will fix it until tomorrow. But this short-term solution will not do anything to serve you long term.
Here are my ‘Top Ten Self-Care Tips For Men’
1. Exercise Good, Eat Good: What man doesn’t want to feel good, look good and pick up heavy things? Not only does exercise release endorphins, which are also known as the happy hormone but exercise is also a great way to release tension and rid your body and mind of whatever frustrations built up that day! And lets be honest, what guy doesn’t walk out of the gym after a hard session with their chin that little bit higher and their chest a little big bigger!
Good food is the perfect compliment to exercise. Eating well does not have to be complicated or time consuming. Eating well will ensure that you have limitless energy, vitality and clarity.
2. Read: Whether it’s for stimulation, relaxation or recreation reading is a great way to engage with your imagination, develop awesome communication skills and take a relaxing break.
3. Shower: Hot showers are not only perfect for relaxation but they are great for muscular and joint pain associated muscle tears and muscle overuse (how are ya DOMs?). The warm water stimulates circulation and blood flow while loosening joints, tendons, tissues and muscles. Hot water is also great for cleansing the skin and reducing blemishes.
4. Walking: Taking walks outside in the fresh air helps to promote clarity and focus. If you have a mental block, or just feeling frustrated take yourself outside for a brisk 10 minute walk. No phone or distraction, just you! Do not let stress build up when a quick 10 minute walk outside is so helpful!
5. Practice Positive Self-Talk: Offset the self-critic inside your head and adopt a gentler and kinder approach to talking to yourself. You are your own worst enemy because you believe all the bull shit you have been telling yourself for years. Start to use positive language and positive self-talk to counteract the times when you undermine your efforts or criticise your results. Use positive self-talk enough and you might actually start to believe you are as awesome as your girl friend or mom thinks you are
6. Get Some Headspace: Schedule some personal time every week and learn to say no! Being a man does not make you invincible to overwhelm. Download Headspace or My Calm Beat if you are tight for time but committed to creating some personal headspace.
7. Journal: Use a journal (or your phone ‘notes’) to document important things that happen through out the day and how it makes you feel. Use this as a tool to reflect on your accomplishments and to celebrate your success. Take stock of what you are grateful for and what made you happy.
8. Set Goals: There is no greater feeling than achieving the personal, professional and physical goals you have set for yourself. Make big and scary goals and create a plan of action for the duration including how you will reward you hard work and celebrate your success.
9. Hang Out With Like-Minded People: I know you have had your friends for a long time and these friendships run deep so I am not for once suggesting that you drop them. Nevertheless you and your friends have grown up in different directions and don’t share much of the same interest anymore. It’s hugely important to find and connect with people who share the same values and beliefs that you do and there is no better way to find these people than by taking up a hobby!
10. Sleep: Poor sleep is linked to depression, anxiety and stress. Lying in bed for 7-8 hours a day is not the same as sleeping for 7 -8 hours. Sleep in a cold room and avoid all technology for up to 1 hour before turning in.
Because I am so passionate about self-care I have saved the best for last.
11. Ask for Help: Do not feel like you have to take on the world all by yourself. Humanity is a team sport and no one will ever think any less of you if you ask for help. Not asking for help when you need it the most is preventing you from achieving the best possible outcome.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so even if you have all your shit together right now it’s important to practice these tools as consistently as possible.