Self-care is not just a woman thing! I don’t usually write gender specific blog posts, but seeing as it is Men’s Health Week, I thought I’d give a special shout out to my gentlemen. The topic of self-care tends to carry a feminine undertone, as it is usually discussed more openly in women’s circles. But hey men, you need self-care too! Throughout my career, I’ve worked with many men, and my experience has been that there are 3 areas of life where men could practice better self-care, but choose not to for the fear of the stigma attached.
Contrary to what many men mistakenly believe, striving for guns and 6 packs, although great for the Jersey Shore character-types to “get laid,” isn’t the only reason to hit the gym. Remember GTL (Gym Tan Laundry)??? If you’ve never watched this show, good for you! It most likely means you have better things in life to waste brain cells on. But for the purpose of getting my message across, I am referencing this proverbial acronym as an example of a male focus on physique gone wrong. Guys, going to the gym and eating healthy is not just for looks! Working out is THE BEST form of self-care for many reasons. To name a few:
One, it reduces stress and anxiety. Focused activity is a great way to distract yourself from the many stressors in life—even just 30 minutes a few times a week can make a huge difference!
Two, it helps release the feel good hormones in your brain, therefore giving you a more positive outlook in life. Studies have shown, men who exercise are less depressed and have a better disposition all around.
Three, it increases your sex drive! That last one alone should be reason enough, but seriously. Who doesn’t want a better all-around experience with sex?! Exercise will do that! Exercise helps increase blood flow throughout your body. The more blood flow, the more heightened the experience.
Men inherently do not discuss how they feel and to that effect may be holding on to more stress than they realize or need to. Gender issues are a hot topic right now and a very controversial one at that. So don’t think I’m marginalizing a certain gender—some women have a hard time expressing their feelings too. However, as prefaced I’m discussing men in order to get a certain group within this population to be mindful of themselves. So, let me emphasize this, IN GENERAL (don’t accuse me of stereotyping!) men tend to hold their feelings in. This can be very detrimental to self-care. One of the main reasons to practice self-care is to reduce stress and anxiety. As a mental health professional, I’ve seen time and again what not talking about how you feel can do to a person. I’ve also experienced how quickly it can change someone’s mood to just declare, “I’m annoyed” or “that stressed me out.” You don’t have to delve deeply into the feelings you’re having—sometimes it’s enough to just say it out loud. I can’t tell you how many times a client came in with very strong feelings, had verbal diarrhea, and before I even said a word they said to me, “wow, I feel better already…I guess I just had to get it out.” Don’t be afraid to talk about how you feel. And if you have a warm and caring partner, trust me, they WANT TO KNOW. And doing so, may help ease a lot of your stress!
This goes along with my first bullet point as in it’s not just for vanity. Studies show that when you put effort into how you dress and/or your hair style, people notice and that can boost your confidence tremendously! Understand, part of self-care is feeling good about yourself. The way you present yourself to the world can help you feel better about yourself in general. Personally, some helpful advice I have given to boyfriends in the past is spend a little more on your hair! Go to a stylist vs. a barber. Yes, a stylist will cost more than a barber, BUT you will get a STYLE and not a generic haircut. Having a hair style can go a long way! It can make a HUGE difference in your appearance, which in turn can boost your self-esteem.
Bottom line gentlemen, spend some time in taking care of yourselves and you will reap the benefits!
Although my blog topics can be very beneficial to your overall health, they are not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of published information on or through my website, blog, e-mails, programs and services. However, the information may inadvertently contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. Every effort has been made to present you with the most accurate, up-to-date information, but because the nature of diet, fitness and health research is constantly evolving, we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of our content.