If you’re like a lot of men, you probably think self-care is a women’s issue. Honestly, you couldn’t be more wrong. Self-care isn’t a gendered matter. Whether you call it self-care, me-time, work-life balance, or simply looking after yourself, self-care is something that’s needed by every man, woman, and person on the planet.
Constantly chasing commitment after commitment wears you out. If you don’t build time to stop and check in with yourself, it’s only a matter of time until stress affects your health. That can manifest in anything from mental health problems to a heart condition.
Self-care is a key part of how people cope with the stress of daily life — from little things like a pressing deadline at work to big things like death and divorce. Unfortunately, a lot of men are skipping out on self-care, and it’s hurting their health.
As Popular Science explains, despite the fact that they represent the majority of the workforce in many of our most dangerous jobs, men are less likely to go to the doctor, seek mental health help, and practice self-care than women. This needs to change.
Right now, you’re probably thinking of all the reasons you can’t do self-care: You’re too busy, too tired, too broke, you can’t afford it, your problems aren’t big enough. But the thing is, self-care doesn’t take a lot of time, money, or energy, and self-care isn’t about solving a crisis — it’s about preventing one. If you’re ready to get serious about taking care of yourself, this is where to start.
1. Fix Your Sleep
Good sleep is not optional for good mental health. When you’re sleep-deprived, you can’t think clearly, your memory suffers, and you’re more likely to develop anxiety or depression. If you already live with anxiety or depression, insomnia worsens your symptoms — but good sleep relieves them. If you’re ready for some quality shut-eye, take these steps:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day. Yes, even on weekends.
- Get rid of the old mattress you’ve been sleeping on for years and invest in a comfortable mattress that lets you sleep without tossing, turning, or waking up in pain.
- Quit your all-day coffee habit. Believe it or not, that cup of coffee stimulates your brain long after you’re finished drinking it. Lay off the afternoon caffeine and switch to water if you need something to sip on.
2. Feel Good About Your Appearance
When you feel good about how you look, you move through the world with more confidence. A positive self-image is also good for your mental health: Low-self esteem has been linked to depression, social anxiety, and body dysmorphic disorder, among other mental health issues.
Liking how you look doesn’t require conforming to whatever the latest trend is. If you want to improve your appearance, focus on grooming yourself, finding clothes that fit well and feel comfortable, eating a good diet, and staying active. You should also try to avoid triggers that make you feel bad about yourself and instead work toward self-acceptance.
3. Do Things You Enjoy
When is the last time you did something because you wanted to? Not because you had to. Not because someone else wanted to and you chose to go along. When is the last time you did something just because it made you feel good? Whether that’s partaking in a hobby, traveling somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, or simply relaxing outside on a sunny day?
Chances are, it’s been a while. People have a habit of neglecting the things they want to do in favor of the things they have to do. In reality, a balanced life needs healthy measures of both.
It’s tough to argue against the value of sleeping well, liking yourself, and enjoying life. And at the end of the day, that’s what self-care is really about. So stop making excuses and start making yourself a priority in your own life.
Brad is a self–care advocate and created selfcaring.info to share his knowledge with others.