Men are unique and have emotional needs for self-care that are specific to them. Self-care is an important topic that a lot of men don’t talk about. It is unfortunate that men are told by society, the media, and even their families that they need to be constantly working and grinding in order to live a happy and successful life. However if men neglect self-care, they are at a higher risk to experience burnout, to be numbed by feelings of chronic emptiness, trembling in the wake of constant anxiety, and they may even experience depression. In mental health counseling, we know that prevention is key- here are five self-care tips for men!
1. Work out and do it often. Mental health affects physical health, and vice versa. Working out releases endorphins, which cause men to feel better and a healthy body, can also lead to a healthy mind. Working out can also lead to a cathartic release of stress.
2. Spend quality time with friends/family. This does not mean sitting around binging Netflix. What we mean is being intentional about taking time out to spend with people you care about, and having meaningful conversations and experiences. This allows you to feel more connected and less isolated. This is particularly often avoided by men, especially in times of stress men tend to internalize and not show their vulnerabilities wheras women ‘tend and befriend.’ Bonding hormonoes such as oxytocin are released when we spend time with loved ones!
3. Journal. Mental health experts recommend writing in a journal because it allows you to get excess thought out of your head. Also later on you can read through what you’ve written and reflect on your own personal growth. Plus journaling tends to help us slow down our thoughts when we are spiraling out of control.
4. Go for a walk. Sometimes what we need to feel less overwhelmed is have a brief change in environment. Take some time during the day to take in nature if the weather allows, or simply take a quick lap around the office. This can interrupt the monotony of the day, and give your mind a much-needed break. It is all the better if you can have that walk in a green space or other natural setting which has been proven to enhance the stress relieving effects of exercise alone.
5. Say “no” and do not succumb to feel guilty about it. The word no is truly powerful. It allows you to set boundaries, and mean it. By saying no and meaning it, you allow put your comfortability and well-being first. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
6. Cultivate hobbies such as skiing, playing a guitar or other instrument, or drawing. Nomatter your age it is never too late to learn a new hobby, they release stress and add variety to the monotony that can sometimes hallmark life.
7. Get to know your feelings! Come on guys, we know it is true, in some studies men even hold a smaller number of vocabulary words associated with emotional reasoning and identification. We feel and we feel a lot, it enhances our mental wellbeing when we learn to understand our feelings, reactions, and accompanying thoughts!
What are some other ways you can engage in self-care? A good self care plan is as individualized as you! Give it some thought and try it out!
This post was written by Henry Ternier. Henry is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh.
To get an immediate appointment with Henry Ternier, LPC, NCC please reach out at 412-322-2129
830 Western Avenue Pittsburgh PA 15233