Instead of giving a new self-care idea today, I’m going to target a group of people who are notorious for not taking care of themselves:
Men.Listen up fellas, there is nothing beneficial about the “walk it off” philosophy when you apply it to all areas of your life. Everyone needs to destress. Everyone needs to practice self-care.
Let me tackle some misconceptions about self-care.
Self-care is just exactly what the words say. It’s taking care of yourself. If you have a dog, and the dog gets sick, you would try to make it feel better or take it to a vet, right?
Why wouldn’t you take care of your own mind and body with as much concern as you’d give an animal, a car, a computer, or anything else around you?
“Real men (insert anything after these two words to explain why you don’t do self-care.)”
Well, that’s not right. Real men DO. Real men cry. If you lose the love of your life, a dear family member or friend, a beloved pet, or a host of other reasons, you’ll cry because that’s how our bodies are made. Real men get sick. Real men make mistakes.
Here’s a quick test for you to find out if you’re a real man. Are you a man? Do you have the ability to perceive yourself as a separate being from the world around you? Do others have the ability to perceive your presence and interact with you? Congrats, you’re a real man.
Breaking through the ideas our culture pushes about what is and isn’t manly can be a challenge. Are you up for a new game with progressively harder levels? Here’s how to play.
Level 1: Get a haircut. Even if you have long hair, go have someone cut out the dead ends. Ask for a suggestion for shampoo or conditioner. If you’re not sure what your hair might need, think about whether your hair is dry, sheds lots, breaks or feels brittle, is too oily, gets frizzy, and so on. One of those ideas will lead you to what you want to ask about. You don’t have to buy from a salon, you can just get something at the store. People will assume you’re buying for the lady in your life, so don’t be afraid to grab that feminine looking bottle.
Level 2: Take some time for yourself. A day off, a few hours to yourself, whatever it is, during that time you’re not allowed to do anything for anyone else, not even if you’re going to tell me you feel recharged after doing things for others.
Level 3: Feed your brain. Pick something interesting and start studying it independently.
See where this is going? Ready for the boss fight?
Boss fight: Have a spa day… and take a friend. Massage, manicure, pedicure, skin treatment, facial, haircut, the works. Be a manly man and come out looking and feeling like you should be featured on a billboard.
While I phrase all of this in a semi-jesting tone, the fact is that men are more prone to suffer from the long-term effects of stress than women. Part of the reason why is simply that men have been taught to neglect their own needs in favor of some vague sort of role they still think they need to fulfill.
I’ll tell all you men the same thing I tell women. This is not the 1950’s, or whatever “golden age” those ideas about being a man came from. Our world has changed. We have to adapt to it the same way we adapted to the ice age and to not being in an ice age. Women have worked hard to liberate themselves from the ideas that restricted their options in life. It’s time for you to have the same freedom to determine your own fate, men. That means you also get to admit when you need to recharge.
So get out there and do the self-care, fellas. You deserve it.