Men simply don't know how to self-care properly. We either retreat into our normal habits of entertaining ourselves via sports, gaming, partying with the fellas or just go casper on everybody by saying "mans are off the grid". That's all well and good, but without proper channels to take care of our well being, we can fall further down rabbit holes of escapism and silent suffering when the pressures of life gets too much. One of the reasons men have a hard time taking care of themselves is because self-care is reserved for ladies and I can't even lie, the ladies do not play around with that. Women in general, know how to self-care whether it is getting their hair and nails did, a nice massage, yoga, exercise, meditation, or having a glass of wine while watching 90 Day Fiance, women got options. For men, our options are taking out our stress on the court, field or in the gym but there are so many different ways that we can self-care and some we are already doing. However, we need to do a better job of intentionally setting aside time to do just that by building a healthy routine we can follow on a weekly or monthly basis.
My dear friend Sister Drew challenged everyone on social media to post their "Self-Care Routine" so I decided to participate and wanted to share a bit about mine, not knowing that I'd be one of the only males to do so. What is more important is the signifcance behind her post as it is in celebration of what she calls Drew Day. Drew Day is a celebration that Sister Drew made in honour of her late brother "Andrew Newsome". On this day, the Drew Community acknowledges what they are grateful for in hopes to spread laughter, love, and healing vibes to others. Andrew's birthday is November 8th which is why Drew Day is celebrated on this day. Sister Drew challenges the Drew Community to share something that will positively impact others. When she announced that I was the winner of Self-Care Challenge and presented me with a prize, I was shocked but humbled by her expression of gratitude since I know what this day means to her. So in honor of Drew Day, I'm sharing my own My Self-Care routine to encourage us all to set more time aside for it. Now, my routine is quite versatile as I have many ways I like to de-stress but here are just a few ways that I self-care:
Tea - My tea of choice is Chai and I usually have one every evening to get me relaxed after a long day. I have my own special way of making my tea so even that process alone is therpeutic for me. If you are not into Black tea, there are always a ton of herbal teas and warm drinks that have a variety of benefits including for sleep, digestion, and relaxation, plus it's a good alternative to alcohol but I do enjoy a nice mixed drink ever now and then.
Music - Music is definitely therapeutic so this is a no-brainer. However, I use different kinds of music for different purposes depending on my mood. If I really need to focus, I put on my underground hip hop playlist and get to work. Alternatively, I use sound therapy to unplug. Specifically, I listen to rain sounds to settle my mind right before bed. There's something about the faint sound of rain that just puts my mind at ease and relaxes me. If you want to give it a try, there are plenty of nature sound playlists on Spoitfy that help you minimize all that noise that is already in your head.
Reading - I literally have a few books to finish so I am dedicating 30 mins a day of reading which keeps my mind fresh. With online learning being very accessible, there are so many different ways to engage with text, I mean you can even read with your ears via audio books. Altnerativly, you can read a blog, or go old school and flip through a magazine/newspaper. The point is you are focusing your energy on reading and learning something new. For me, I gravitate towards books about entrepreneurship so I have Profit First by Mike Michalowicz on rotation right now.
Grooming - Now, I know us men may not view getting a cut as self-care, but it is. It's not about just about looking fresh; it's about the confidence a fresh line up can bring and also having a great conversation with your trusted barber. Sidenote: I'm not sure what's going on in the NBA these days but mans are out there with crooked line ups so that says a lot when superstars decide to forego the 3-4 week line up rule. Outside of that, men's grooming has definitely boomed over the past few years with Men's Grooming Clubs in the Toronto offering trims and facial masks. However, if you are not the type to go to the salon to get a $120 hair cut, you can always do some grooming at home. I've found that cutting my own hair not only saves me money but gives me the time I need to just look fresh for myself and my lady. Spend some time to cut your hair, trim and treat your beard to some beard wash, balms and oils, mascape those sensitive areas and throw on a wave cap to finish it off.
- Therapy - This is probably the most important way men should Self-Care and we do not do it enough. Depression and Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for men in the US*, however men continue to suffer in silence because therapy is not the "manly" thing to do. We are taught to "tough it out' or "man up" and "figure it out' when the truth is, we are in severe need of help. Therapy is way more accessible so men do not have an excuse as to why we are not actively seeking to better ourselves and heal through therapy. The pressure of being a "man", providing, and competing with the likes of Michael B Jordan can wear you down :) So why not take the necesssary time every few months or so to discover more about yourself. And trust me, your special lady will love you for it, but not only that, your friends and family will notice a positive difference in you. I'll have to get more detailed about this in another blog piece because this one is major key.
Now this is not an exhaustive list by any means and there are more than a few ways for us men to reduce stress and take care of ourselves including gaming, sports, meditation/mindfulnes, exercise (biking, running, yoga, cardio, step/spin classes etc), prayer, manicures/pedicures (yes that's for us too) and much more. I mean you can see how comfortable I be when I'm in my self-care mode, shoutouts to my wife for capturing my good side :)
So fellas, you have more than enough ways to self-care so make sure you incorporate more than a few of these into your weekly or monthly routine, especially therapy! See below for some resources I mentioned above you may want to check out:
Shout outs to Sister Drew for always promoting Self-Care and for challenging us to share. She came up with this to continue on her brother's legacy and promote positive vibes to everyone watching. It's a very special day for her and many people who are inspired by her selfless acts of love and support. Beyond Drew Day, Sister Drew collaborates with her mom Mama Drew and supports her community by investing time and money to give back to students going back to school and more. Be sure to follow Sister Drew to keep up with all her amazing initiatives, you go girl.
As for me, I am going to continue to self-care and encourage all my fellas to follow suit because I know I'm not the only one who needs it. Please share a few ways you self-care in the comments and let's spread the message of health & wellness to all those around us. Happy Holidays!