The world self care seems to be popping up in the media everywhere I look and it is apparently the latest trend among progressive women. So why you ask am I talking about it here? The simple answer is taking the time to relax, step back from your daily life and spend some time getting to know yourself is just as important for men as it is women. While the origins of this term come from a soft woke place, that doesn't mean we can't take things and turn it up a notch. The core concept though is the same, so let's take a look at some fun self care ideas for men.
What Is Self Care and Why Should Men Care?
Self care is the simple act of taking time out to focus on yourself, be a little selfish by putting obligations and other cares aside and focus on the most important thing in your life - YOU! The goal here is to improve your mental status by getting back in touch with who you are and gather a better understanding for what you want, need, and love without having society tell you how to feel. It's not just kicking back, relaxing and doing nothing. Instead, it's a deliberate act to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical self.
Self care is also a recognition that mental, emotional, and physical health are all closely intertwined and that to be a healthy man you need to make sure everything is aligned.
For most men though, this all sounds like foreign concepts. After all, men are supposed to be rough and tough, able to withstand the verbal and physical assault on a daily basis. We've been taught since the time that we were little boys that "real men don't cry". Unfortunately, that's led to a shorter lifespan, higher likelihood to commit murders, and dramatically higher chances to die by suicide. In 2017, men were 3.54 times more likely to die in a suicide attempt and resulted in 69.67% of suicide deaths in the United States. That's one statistic I know we don't want to be the best in!
So, let's work together and change how men look at self care ideas. While a massage, scented candles and meditation sessions might be great for some guys ... here are some self care suggestions for the rest of us. Some of these are bigger than others and while some require a journey - others can take only moments to explore. That's sort of the point here. Don't look at taking time for self care as something you can't afford. Take the first step and go on from there.
Focus On Fixing Something In the House or Yard
Fixing something is a great way for a man to tackle self care. Worry, doubt, uncertainty all weigh heavily on one's mental health but when you can accomplish something special then that tends to help us feel good. Start small with an easy task such as hanging a photo frame on the way, fixing an uneven table leg, or simply removing that stack of boxes from the hallway and move up from there.
Go Fishing And Get Back In Touch With Primal Man
Some people enjoy meditation and that's really what this is if you think about it. Sitting silently in a boat with plenty of time to think while focusing on a single task at hand is a great way to get back in touch with your masculine side. Plus, spending some time out in the fresh air and sunshine is a great way to improve your physical wellbeing too.
Get In Touch With Yourself and Explore Your Sexual Side Solo
Some of you may stop reading right here but as men, too much of our identity gets tied up in our sexuality. So take some self care time to explore new ideas, try something different, and maybe even treat yourself to something different than your hand. By exploring the world of sex toys for men you can have a fun time but also learn something new about your own body and what you like so that you can share that later with a partner for even more excitement.
Try a Food That You Don't Think You'll Like But Have Never Tried
There's a lot of foods that I didn't think I liked ... until I tried it. For instance, I tried some Greek yogurt on a plane recently and turns out it wasn't bad. That's a small step forward to opening the mind but you can apply the same thinking to an exotic cuisine such as Ethiopian or Korean for an even better effect.
Go Hiking On a Trail You've Never Explored Before
Exploring a new trail means that you can't just exist on autopilot. There's new sights, sounds, and adventures around every corner and that's a great way to open your mind.
Volunteer At An Organization You Care About
While self care is intrinsically about a man taking care of himself, the emotional feeling of helping others and doing good is a fantastic way to recharge your body, mind, and spirit. Whether it is helping to create hygiene kits for homeless families, playing basketball with a kid at the Boys & Girls Club, or just simply taking dogs in the shelter for a walk around the block. This is self care opportunity is as much about helping someone else as it is about helping you too.
Treat Yourself To A Spa Day or Professional Shave
While other ideas on our list of self care ideas for men have focused on the rougher side of being a man, there are few things in life that feel better than a good massage, facial, and a professional shave. For me, it's more about the act of having someone take care of you than the benefits of the treatment itself.
Take a Long Shower And Take Time to Explore Your Body
While it is a wonderful treat to have a professional take care of you, sometimes just taking a moment to explore your own body is a good way to center your emotional and mental self as well as better understand your physical side too. I don't mean exploring yourself erotically - we've covered that above. However, simply taking the time to feel for lumps and bumps that might indicate a problem as well as appreciate the muscular tone of your arms, legs and other parts of your body. By getting in touch with yourself, it is much easier to share what makes you tick with your partner too.
Go Through Your Email In-Box and Delete Unread Messages
One of the easiest ways to de-stress and get rid of a mess is to clear out your inbox. For me anyhow, simply the process of watching my "unread" number go from 123,000 to 100,000 to 80,000 or less is a huge stress relief. It isn't just the fact of having fewer emails but there's an emotional release that you've made an impact and that's one of the most important aspects of self care that men can appreciate since there's an immediate reaction.
Take a Class In a Manly Skill Like Smithy, Woodworking or Auto Repair
Some guys were raised with dads and brothers who trained them in the masculine arts like woodworking, auto repair, and plumbing. Others, like myself didn't have this and while I'm lucky to have gained other skills, now's a great opportunity to learn something new, explore a skill that I can bring to my daily life and use to improve confidence. If you want to try to do something different then there are online sites like Skill Share where you can take courses ranging from management and leadership to art and photography.
Clean Out Your Closet and Donate Your Un-Wanted Clothes
This one is a two-for-one! Cleaning out your closet allows you to improve your mental state by eliminating a mess and you can get emotional satisfaction by knowing your unwanted goods can go to help someone in need.
Reach Out To An Old Friend And Say Hello Again
One of the big challenges we have today is that there are inevitably friends we met at a conference, hung out with at a previous job, or simply used to see around the neighborhood and then we lose contact. Sure, Facebook is a great way to see photos of kids and celebrations, but how about reaching out to an old friend and saying hello again!
Plan a Guys Weekend With Your Friends
Self care doesn't have to be a solo endeavor. Call your friends and plan a guys weekend to do something together that aligns with self care and rediscovery of masculinity. Regardless of what you are doing and where you are, there are tough conversations and questions that will come naturally when with a close group of guys that can help realign your mental and emotional balance.
Lock Your Phone Away In a Drawer For the Weekend
This one is easy - just put your phone away in a drawer for the weekend and eliminate distractions from social media, friends calling, and the flurry of notifications that pop up incessantly. While it might be awkward initially, use this digital detox to learn and rediscover new ways of answering questions, take the time to get up and turn the lights on manually, and maybe even just walk to the store for dinner instead of calling for delivery.
Create a Work Of Art (or just enjoy some creative play!)
The ultimate combination of mental, emotional, and physical expression is art and so is just playing in a creative medium such as sculpting or painting. This is your chance to create a great masterpiece or just have fun getting dirty with paint on a canvas, clay on a pedestal, or just chipping away at a piece of wood till the inner spirit is revealed. Nobody even needs to see your creation but creating art like this is a great opportunity for self care since you use physical energy in creation, emotion flows through your body, and mentally it can be therapeutic to focus on a single task while eliminating distractions.
Whatever path you choose for your self care day, just remember that it's all about you. There's no right or wrong and while you might need to pause the task, taking care of yourself is journey that should never end.