What do you think of when we say ‘self-care’? Often the image that comes to mind is someone lying in the tub, enjoying a glass of wine after a long day. But, self-care and the practice of self-care is much more than just treating yourself to some alone time.
Self-care has become a bit of a phenomenon with face masks and bath bombs dominating conversations as go-to self-care practices. But there are so many ways to practice self-care and in the age of treating yourself, it seems that men have been left behind, and unable to join conversations about health and the importance of making time for self-care practice.
Recent studies from Beyond Blue show that 1 in 8 men will experience depression, while 1 in 5 will experience anxiety at some stage in their lives, so it’s never been more important for boys and men to find ways to effectively manage their health to improve their quality of life and a good self-care routine can go a long way in helping manage your day-to-day.
This week, from the 13-19th of June is International Men’s Health Week, so lets start a conversation together about why men need to give a sh*t about self-care.
What exactly is self-care and why is it important for men?
Self-care is the process of taking care of yourself in the effort to improve health and wellbeing in all areas: mental, physical, sexual, even spiritual health.
It could be a phone call to a friend or a daily walk in nature, for other people it might be a 5 minute meditation practice or monthly massage to help de-stress. The important thing to remember is that a self-care practice isn’t one-size-fits-all, it just needs to be a few different things you can incorporate into your day, week or month that you know will make you feel good.
For many men, looking at self-care as a simple addition to a daily routine can help to normalise prioritising these feel good practices (that might feel a bit strange at first). And the benefits are undeniable, from heightened appreciation for hobbies, better physical health and stronger bonds and relationships.
So, how should you practice self-care?
We asked Married at First Sight’s Samuel Levi how he practises his own self-care routine. As he tells Blys,
“For me, I practise self-care in many different forms, depending where I am, and who I am with. My most common practises would be lighting a candle, and sitting in my thoughts for 10 mins with no distractions focusing on breathing. Another one I tend to do, and is easier with a busy schedule is set a 10min break aside for a coffee/tea use no cell phone and just enjoy my own company”
At Blys, we’ve got a few activities and treatments that are great for the practice of self-care:
De-stress the body and the mind:
Getting a massage, whether it be remedial, sports or even hot stone, is a great way to de-stress both the body and the mind. Physically, a massage reduces muscle tension and provides pain relief, but the physical works in conjunction with the mental as well. Massage is known for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as providing a boost to both energy and motivation. What better way to fill your self-care quota than to indulge in a muscle and mind relaxing massage?
And the best part is, your self-care routine doesn’t have to leave the comfort of your home, with Blys bringing the massage therapists straight to you! So if the thought of going to the spa stresses you out, you don’t have to worry.
Boost your energy and mood:
Looking for something in your day to make you feel relaxed and full of beans at the same time? Exercise is the answer! At Blys, we’ve got personal trainers, yoga and pilates classes all available at the click of a button. You can even book an in-home physiotherapist if you have specific goals or pain you’re looking to manage.
Feel your best:
Skin, hair and nail health is just as important as any other physical part of self-care, and is said to boost your mood and provide some much needed self-love. Instead of waiting for your annual trip to mum’s house for a trim, book a regular in-home hair or barber appointment, or feel fancy with a no-polish manicure or facial (we promise it feels WAY better than washing your face with soap in the shower!)
Open up with a good chat:
Dedicating time to self-care allows you to be vulnerable with yourself and others, and to express all your feelings, good and bad.
That’s why at Blys, we offer counselling, psychology and mindfulness services to support you when things get overwhelming, too stressful or just too much for one person to keep to themselves. A simple conversation with a friend, family member or professional may be the best way for you to practice self-care, even if it is just chatting about what you got up to on the weekend.
Ready to start looking after yourself or know someone who could use a nudge to kickstart their self-care routine?