Without racking your brain, what comes to your mind when you picture self-care? Does your mind automatically conjure up an image of a woman on the bathtub’s edge, armed with a razor and a green facemask plastered up to her ears? Or sitting amongst a cloud of bubbles in a jacuzzi with a steamy romance novel and a glass of chilled wine in hand?
Stereotypes aside, self-care is the process of completing behaviours to preserve or improve one’s health. Whether this is a set of rituals, regimens, or practices that a person completes every day or three times a week, your self-care routine can be as straightforward or as complicated as you like. In doing so, individuals who practice self-care are more likely to be refreshed, healthier, and happier than those who don’t.
There is no reason we all shouldn’t be able to reap the benefits of practising self-care, including men. Anecdotally, the term ‘self-care’ is more commonly used by a female audience than a male since males fear ridicule by family or friends or that their manliness will come into question. However, slowly but surely, what is often described as a women’s activity is attracting a new audience, and self-care is becoming normalised (as it should) among the male population.
Self-care can mean anything you want, so long as it will help you keep mentally and physically well during those times you need it. Whether this is through reciting affirmations or experimenting with men’s fashion – there is no right or wrong way to practice self-care. Although, if you are struggling to come up with ways to look and feel your absolute best, we list several things to incorporate into your routine in our self-care guide for men below:
Look After Yourself Outwardly
One of the biggest misconceptions about self-care is that it is strictly about the improvement and perseverance of your inner-self, whereas it is just as important to look as good as you feel inside. Looking after yourself outwardly is just as important as the other health and wellness practices you implement into your self-care routine.
Not only does looking good make you feel better about yourself, but it also governs how other people perceive you based on first impressions; therefore, making sure that you pay attention to how you dress is a crucial part of your self-care routine. Being mindful of the men’s fashion choices you make – even when you have no plans to leave the house – can boost your confidence, improve your self-esteem, and minimise stress.
When you dress casually in either pyjamas or tracksuit bottoms, you subconsciously tell your brain that it’s in relaxation mode, meaning you are less likely to be productive. Whereas, if you put effort into the way that you dress, you’re kickstarting your brain into the mindset of getting things done and producing positive emotions.
You can strive to dress well by picking out your outfit for the next day the night before, choosing sustainable clothing options, organising your wardrobe so that your favourite clothes are at the front ready for you. You can find out the latest trends in fashion by reading publications such as Men’s Flair. Visitors to their site can take advantage of their style guides and grooming advice to keep themselves looking and feeling good. For more insight, visit their website and sign-up for their newsletter. Use their buying guides to break down what you need to know before purchasing new items for your wardrobe and start looking after yourself outwardly as much as inwardly.
Motivate Yourself To Get Physical
Depending on whether you’re an active person, getting physical might sound like the last thing you want to add to your self-care routine. However, research has shown that those who actively participate in physical activity can promote an abundance of psychological benefits such as improved self-esteem, better sleep patterns and decreased risk of common mental health problems.
If you’ve ever gone on a long run or completed a satisfying workout, we’re sure you’re familiar with the term ‘runners high’ and the sensations it involves. Not only is this post-workout feeling anecdotal: but if an individual engages in physical activity regularly, it can provide physical and emotional benefits.
Since when you participate in physical activity, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. As these chemicals interact with the receptors in your brain that numb your perception of pain, it triggers a positive feeling in your body that has been described as like that of the effects of morphine hence where the term ‘runners high’ originates.
You could practice this in many ways, some of which don’t even involve going to the gym, from getting out of the house and going on a jog to attending a fitness class with family or friends. Striving to get the recommended one hundred and fifty minutes of moderate exercise per week is one of the simplest ways to keep yourself in shape and practice self-care.
Devise A Nighttime Routine
Sleep is one of the most critical yet overlooked aspects of our overall health. Health professionals recommend that individuals get seven or more hours of sleep a night to function properly the following day. Without a good night’s sleep, individuals can suffer changes in how they think and feel; although these may only be short-term impacts, if it is allowed to continue, then lack of sleep can soon affect an individual’s overall health.
Some more serious potential problems associated with insomnia or sleep deprivation are heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, strokes and many more. This is why devising a nighttime routine should be a crucial part of your self-care routine to improve and preserve your overall health.
If you struggle to fall asleep at night or cannot control your racing thought, you could try implementing some of the following sleep-promoting methods into your nighttime routine:
• Purchase a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are an innovative way of easing anxiety and insomnia as an alternative to traditional medications. Designed to be five to thirty pounds heavier than your average weight -they replicate the feeling of a hug or a pet laying on you, which increases the production of dopamine and serotonin.
• Read a book. Instead of climbing into bed with your phone in hand, ready to make your last-minute checks on social media, turn your phone off and pick up a book instead. Avoiding screens and getting lost in the fantasy realm of a book is an excellent way to signal to your brain that you’re getting ready to wind down for the evening. We recommend powering down your electronics around half an hour or forty-five minutes before you go to bed and picking up a book for the best results.
• Drink herbal tea. Another way you can prepare your brain to power off for the night is by avoiding caffeinated drinks, which can have the opposite effect on your body. Instead of reaching for a mug of tea or coffee, switch this with a cup of herbal tea which has been used as a natural sleeping aid for thousands of years. Some of the best sleep-aiding flavours are valerian root, chamomile, lavender, lemon, passionflower etc., some of which contain natural occurring sedatives that can help send you to sleep and relax quicker.
Look After Your Skin
Skincare has come a long way in our modern-day, meaning that for men, it takes a lot more than some shaving foam and a razor to start looking after your skin correctly. Skin is one part of our bodies that remain with us for life; therefore, we must take care of it to ensure that it remains problem-free for as long as possible.
Not only can looking after your skin make you feel better about your physical appearance, but it can also provide many benefits for your skin, like retaining its elasticity and youthfulness and preventing sun damage. Start incorporating skincare into your self-care routine by stocking your bathroom cabinets with moisturiser, face wash, face masks, beard oil and other necessary skin products.
Ultimately, using these products can help you take better care of your skin. Still, it can also give you a couple of precious minutes each day, which is necessary for promoting good self-care and eliminating the risk of mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Give Back To Your Community
Another aspect to add to your self-care routine is giving back to your community, which is another way of improving and preserving your physical and mental health. You can give back to others in many ways, like choosing a charity to provide monthly donations to, volunteering at your local charity shop, helping at a homeless shelter, involving yourself with your child’s school as a volunteer or coach, etc.
The bottom line is that we choose to give back to our community because it feels good. Still, it also provides other benefits such as getting involved with the neighbourhood, meeting new people, creating a sense of belonging and maintaining friendships.