The 82°E Guide to Demystifying Self-Care for Men


Although perceptions are changing, many people view self-care through the traditional notions of indulgent, frivolous activities: think spa days, facials, bubble baths, or pedicures. But we’ve now come to understand that it is a ritual that extends far beyond these indulgences.


According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

“Self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health. When it comes to your mental health, self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. Even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a big impact.”


Understanding the Gender-specific Perception of Self-care

When it comes to self-care, there is a stereotype that it is only for women. However, this is just a misconception, and following a self-care regimen is equally vital for men to recharge and rejuvenate themselves while maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle.


It is also especially crucial for men to practice self-care because most men have been conditioned by societal norms to be strong in the face of challenges, and to push through any signs of weakness or vulnerability.


As a society that values productivity over all else, many men naturally put off self-care activities until they feel they’ve achieved enough or earned the right to practice them.


The problem with this thinking is that most people never allow themselves to accept that they deserve to slow down, listen to their body’s needs, and do what feels good, perpetuating a cycle of self-harm—on themselves and on those close to them. Due to this, many studies have shown that  men have a higher risk of disease, injury and death than women.

Common Myths About Self-care

Self-care for men is riddled with myths and misconceptions, some of which are:

Self-care is a Selfish Indulgence

Self-care is serious business—not indulgent or selfish at all. It helps improve your long-term well-being, your energy and cognitive capacity, and your ability to nurture relationships with those around you.

Self-care is Expensive and Time-consuming

Self-care is not synonymous with luxurious spas, hectic gym workouts and complex dietary plans. Self-care is a practice that is simple, affordable and accessible—it can be anything that makes you feel recharged. Working out, listening to music, playing a sport, cooking or even your skincare routine are all self-care approaches.

Self-care is Only for Women

Regardless of gender, self-care applies to all humans as it helps promote self-confidence, overall health and well-being, and helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Self-care has Short-term Temporary Benefits

Indulging in mindful self-care activities generates feel-good hormones that uplift a good mood and a positive mindset. Incorporating self-care in your everyday life has long-term benefits like a healthy body, a happy mind, improved immunity, increased creativity and productivity in your work, etc.

Self-care Challenges for Men

Overcoming Societal Barriers

In a world where societal norms associate masculinity with stoicism and toughness, self-care may be mistakenly considered a sign of weakness. This belief has neglected the need for self-care for men. It is all about acknowledging that men, too, deserve time and tactics to look after themselves.

It's important to challenge this approach by changing your perspective and mindset to see self-care as a necessity rather than a luxury.

To overcome such societal barriers, acknowledge your needs to assess your mental, emotional and physical health and place a priority on self-care.

Self-care is Important for a Healthy You

Following a healthy diet plan, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, staying hydrated, and setting aside some time for skincare and body care are the foundations of self-care. A mindful self-care approach is crucial in reducing stress, promoting relaxation and cultivating greater emotional resilience.

How Can You Begin Your Self-care Journey?

Encouraging men to embrace taking care of themselves as an essential component of healthy well-being involves strategies like :

Take Small Steps

Start with small steps to incorporate self-care activities into your busy daily routine. Choose simple practices that suit your schedule, like doing a daily digital detox, focusing on your breath for a few seconds every hour, taking a short walk, or spending a few minutes reading a book at the end of the day.

Explore, Experiment and Set Goals

Focus on small, attainable, realistic goals that are easy to stick to and help you stay motivated. You may need to try out different self-care activities before you find what feels best to you, so don’t lose motivation if something doesn’t work out. Treat your self-care as a journey, and don’t focus on the destination.

Consistency is Important

If you want to experience the long-term benefits of self-care, you have to practice them consistently. Integrate them into your daily or weekly routine by setting aside a fixed time to practice whichever activity you like best. The most important part is to show up and do it consistently, not how well you do it.

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