Well, here we are. June marks the beginning of men’s health month, a time when we recognize the complexities of male mental and physical self-care. For decades, men lived an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, physical health was paramount. On the other, men’s mental health has been a somewhat taboo subject. In this post, we’ll answer the burning question: why is self-care important for men? Then, we’ll explore some of the best self-care tips and ideas.
Why is Self-Care Important?
Sometimes, self-care is viewed as something selfish. In fact, that’s far from the truth. Self-care is a critical part of work-life balance. In a world where we’re expected to work for hours on end with few vacation days, self-care is one way that men can focus on their own health and wellness.
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Self-care is one powerful way that men can prevent burnout, anxiety, and depression. In fact, the technique has been clinically proven to help men increase their overall well-being.
Self-Care Tips for Men
Below, we’ll cover six self-care tips for men. While they are numbered, none of these categories are more important than any other. Instead, they work together to affect overall wellness – both physical and mental.
- Eat Well
Everything starts in the kitchen. Food affects nearly every aspect of men’s physical and mental health. That’s why a balanced diet is so important.
As men, it’s easy to eat the wrong things. Sure, we all know that it’s a bad idea to eat fast food for every meal. But it’s just as bad to overload on things that would normally be healthy.
For example, a protein shake can be healthy when used correctly. However, consuming nothing but protein and neglecting other important nutrients like fiber or vitamins can be problematic too. Make sure you stick to a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of leafy greens. Salads aren’t just for women!
While we all know we should exercise, sometimes we let ourselves go. But exercise one of the most important parts of self-care for men. Exercise improves heart health, overall vitality, and it can even improve mental health.
You may think of exercise as hitting the gym or going on a run. Those kinds of activities can be intimidating to start. Don’t psych yourself out – you can still get exercise without a gym membership or a weight bench. Even a brisk 30-minute walk is enough to get your heart pumping. And remember: the hardest part about exercising is getting started!
- Get Proper Sleep
In today’s fast-paced world, sleep is sometimes a luxury. But it’s important to prioritize a good night’s rest. Sleeping does more than rest our bodies and minds. It also helps reinforce new skills, plays a part in memory recall, and affects a slew of physical processes like blood pressure.
There’s no way around it: you need at least 6 hours of sleep per night. This is the bare minimum to keep yourself alert and on point during daytime hours. And 6 hours of sleep means 6 hours of sleep. Rolling around in your bed or staring at the ceiling don’t count. If you suffer from insomnia, try unplugging from electronics for an hour before bed.
- Set Goals
So far, we’ve mainly covered physical self-care ideas for men. But food, exercise, and sleep are only part of the picture.
Self-care also has mental components. And one of those is setting goals. Goals help us quantify how we’ve improved ourselves over spans of time. Without goals to achieve, you’re just existing. You don’t want to just exist – you want to thrive.
You should remember a few important factors when setting goals. First, they need to be achievable. It won’t do you any good if your goal is totally out of reach – you’ll never get there. Instead, set a series of smaller goals. Achieving them one by one will be much more manageable than striving for a grand, unachievable goal.
- Maintain Friendships
This can be a tough one. While movies like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Hangover depict the unbreakable bond of bromance extending into adulthood, this isn’t supported by science. In fact, data shows that men generally have difficulty maintaining friendships as they age.
There are several reasons for this. Men tend to bond over work, events, and recreation. In contrast, women tend to bond over emotions. In addition, men tend to prioritize work and marriage over friendship.
Whatever the reason, it needs to stop. Maintaining friendships is an important part of men’s overall wellness. That’s why we’ve included it in our list of men’s self-care tips. Keeping friends close can improve health by lowering blood pressure, decreasing chances of depression, and even extending life by nearly a quarter.
- Ask For Help
Society doesn’t exactly encourage men to ask for help. Instead, they’re supposed to “suck it up,” “walk it off,” and “get over it.” But this is actually one of the most important self-care tips for men that we included in this guide.
If you’re struggling, ask someone close to you for help. It can be anyone – a family member, a close friend, or a coworker. Don’t be ashamed, everyone needs help once in a while. Culturally, it’s becoming more acceptable for men to seek help. There’s nothing to be scared of!
Care For Yourself!
Okay, we just covered a lot of ground in this post. The main takeaway is this: self-care is important, even for men. Use these tips and create your own ideas to help enhance your own self-care routine and improve your overall wellbeing – as men, we owe it to ourselves. Good luck, and keep these tips in mind as we observe men’s health month this June.