It’s time to make self-care a normal thing for men.
Because you are worth it.
Let’s face it, this past year has turned most of our worlds upside down, and mental health is a major issue. Being separated from friends and family and forced to live/work in isolation hasn’t been easy for anyone.
But even before the pandemic, men aren’t generally as good at taking care of their minds and body. According to Healthline, “As many as 65 percent of men say they avoid going to the doctor for as long as possible, and only go when they fear serious illness. It’s even more dire when it comes to mental health.”
Let’s change that static in 2021. Here are ten manly ways to take care of your mind and body with regular self-care activities.
1. Schedule a Monthly Massage
The first self-care activity is arguably the easiest one to do on this list. Book a massage each month so you have a built-in ritual right into your schedule.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a regular massage can:
- Improve immune function
- Lower heart rate and blood pressure
- Reduce stress and increasing relaxation
- Improve circulation, energy and alertness
- Reduce pain and muscle soreness and tension
Not to mention, it’s a good way to disconnect from technology and spend one hour healing your body. A massage is even more important if you regularly exercise, sit for extended periods of time, and have extra stress in your life.
2. Regular Exercise
Self-care doesn’t need to be some big event, it can be something you do everyday like exercise. In fact, exercise is one of the most beneficial things that any person can do. Not only can it help you keep your weight at a healthy level, but there are many mental benefits as well.
Some of the mental benefits of exercise include:
- Higher self-esteem.
- Sharper memory and prevents age-related decline.
- Reduce symptoms of ADHD and improve concentration naturally.
- Relieve tension and stress which can act as anti-anxiety treatment.
- Treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication (without harmful side effects)
With exercise, it’s important to find something that you can do for the foreseeable future. You want to find an activity that you love and can continue to do for a long time.
Whether it’s swimming, weight training, racquetball, or something else, try to make it fun so you don’t burn out. If you find yourself needing extra motivation, try to find a workout buddy, hire a trainer, or join a group fitness class.
Remember, regular exercise is about more than just your body, it’s about the mental health benefits too.
3. Read a Personal Development Book Every Month
Reading is a great way to exercise your mind and upgrade your skills. Make it a goal to read one new personal development book each month.
Some of my personal favorites include:
- Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
- The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
- 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey
If you don’t love reading, try the audiobook or similar podcast instead.
4. Plan a Guy's Day or Night
For some, self-care means alone time and reflection. For others, usually extroverts, sometimes self-care means being around other men and bonding. As we get older, it’s easy to fall into a routine with family and work and sometimes neglect long-lasting friendships.
But a guy's day (or night) out might be just what your mental health needs. Here are some good activities to bring the boys together:
- Plan a golf weekend.
- Go to a baseball game.
- Dress up for a nice steak dinner.
- Sign up for a recreational sports league.
- Go on a long hike or find a 5K to compete in together.
5. Get a Professional Shave and Haircut
Another easy self-care ritual for men is to get a professional straight razor shave and haircut from a barber. It’s a great way to treat yourself and look great before a big event like a reunion, wedding, job interview, or even just for fun.
6. Get More Sleep
Sleep is one of the most underrated things that you can do to improve your health and well-being. While so many of us focus on diet and exercise, let’s not forget about something as important as sleep.
Don’t just focus on hours of sleep, but the quality of sleep too. Because we both know if you don’t sleep long enough or deep enough, it’s an uphill battle the next day. Everything tends to feel harder at the gym, work, relationships, and just life in general.
To help you sleep better, I suggest investing in a wearable heart rate monitor like Whoop. This will track your activity all day and your sleep all night. Then, you can use the analytics to find ways to optimize your daily schedule so that you can get better sleep.
According to WebMD, most adults need 7 to 9 hours, while some need 6 and others as many as 10. With a wearable fitness device, you can learn a lot more about how much sleep you need and ensure you get it to feel your best every day.
7. Try Something New Each Month
One of the best ways I’ve found to upgrade my mental health is to try something new each and every month. This is a great way to get out of your comfort zone, change up your environment, and have fun.
Some great ideas include:
- Attend a concert.
- Try out a new restaurant.
- Attend a networking event.
- Take a solo weekend trip to somewhere you’ve never been.
8. Schedule Alone Time
When was the last time you blocked off your calendar to do absolutely nothing? If you’re like most guys, the answer is probably not enough. In a society where “being busy” is rewarded, it's not common for a lot of people (especially men) to have “me” time.
But as Oscar Wilde said, “I think it’s very healthy to spend some time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.”
Start by scheduling at least one hour per week.
In that hour, turn off all technology and truly disconnect from the world. This is a great time to recharge, reflect, and see if anything comes to the surface. Oftentimes, we’re so busy in the world that even if a great idea did come our way, our mind is too loud to actually hear it.
Some of my personal favorite activities to pass the time include:
- Brain dump journaling
- Getting clear about my goals
- Guided meditation (using apps like Headspace or Primed Mind)
9. Visit a Chiropractor or Acupuncturist
Aside from regular massage visits, another easy self-care activity is going to a chiropractor or acupuncturist. If you exercise and/or sit for long periods of time, a chiropractor can help with posture and avoid injuries.
If you have a specific injury or illness, an acupuncturist is a great alternative. According to Medical News Today, this traditional Chinese medicine helps with all kinds of issues, including:
- Neck pain
- Low back pain
- Headaches and migraines
- High and low blood pressure
Give it a try to see if it can help you with a nagging injury so you can feel your best and keep a healthy lifestyle.
10. Ask For Help
The final self-care tip is something that men struggle with - asking for help. Whether it’s our ego or something else, statistics show that men don’t ask for help as much as they should. And it’s time to end that once and for all.
According to Healthline,
- Men live five fewer years than women.
- Mainly because they don’t visit the doctor regularly and depression/suicide are leading causes of death and men are less likely to reach out for help.
Whatever you’re going through in life, just know there are people who can help. You don’t have to try to take on everything yourself.
As Michael Phelps once said, “Since that day I opened up about my emotions, it’s just been so much easier to live and so much easier to enjoy life.”
Being a man doesn’t mean you need to bottle everything up and keep it to yourself. Instead, let’s make “being a man” mean that you aren’t afraid to reach out to experts and professionals for help.
Schedule Your Self-Care
Now that you have ten self-care ideas, don’t forget the most important part… actually doing it!
To give yourself the best chances of doing these activities, schedule everything in advance. At the beginning of each month, schedule time for your self-care rituals. Then, each Sunday, confirm dates and times heading into the week so that you don’t skip out.
Remember, the better you show up personally, the better you can show up in all aspects of your life. Don’t forget, you deserve it!