‘Be responsible for yourself!’, ‘Take care of yourself’!, ‘Take accountability!’ and a plethora of other phrases would be either spoken or written by somebody. However, when it comes to practically doing it, one generally falls short of practising it one too many times.
There is a list of things that you might see or hear regarding self-care. Your friend might suggest starting reading a self-help book. The internet might nudge you in the direction of meditation and fitness.
No matter how true they are, have you ever wondered why you need self-care in the first place?
Sure, it’s healthy for your body, but the real test appears when a stressful situation knocks on your door and self-care seems to flow out of the window. So, one needs to understand the fact that self-care isn’t an end that is attainable. It’s a means to attain your authentic self and project it towards the world.
It’s a process that will only help you unravel yourself at each step and make you comfortable in your own skin.
With that said, let’s discuss some of the important issues related to strong men self-care which appear more as obstacles in their journey and less as facilitators.
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Is men’s self-care a myth?
Believe it or not, many think that men’s self-care is a myth and indulging in it might make them effeminate. The roots of this ideology can be traced inside the soil that is deeply conditioned by traditional beliefs and societal conventions which seem incongruent over time.
By encumbering this ideology, it’s not hard to imagine which destination a man might land. Therefore, the first step to really opening up yourself to self-care is to unencumbered all the doubts that society has imposed on you that you never asked for. Your sex is something that you cannot control or decide beforehand, but you can always decide what your gender is and who do you want to be.
Subjecting to the wrong notions of society will only make you more toxic and stray you from your authentic self. Therefore, before you begin on this amazing journey of self-care, make sure that you are not burdened with something that you inherently do not believe in. It’s a sin!
What is strong men’s self-care all about?
One of the preliminary men self-care ideas is putting yourself as a priority. Be it your physical or mental health, your self-esteem or your self-confidence, you should feel comfortable in your own skin.
Living your life by putting others at the centre will only hamper your mental and physical development which can have serious ramifications. Once you start to realise your worthiness and your importance, your life will change remarkably.
If you want to help others and love others, you need to start by doing these things to yourself first. Stay committed to working upon yourself and you’ll eventually realise the changes in your life.
When you start to feel good inside out, you perform well at work, your relationships stabilise and you achieve your full potential at every place. Resultantly, you become an inspiration to everyone around you. So, more often than not, you realise that you help others by just being yourself. You don’t even have to go out of your way to do anything special.
Now, before you begin this eye-opening self-care journey, here are certain things that you need to acquaint yourself with first.
3 things that you need to know to care for yourself:
1. Be compassionate with yourself:
According to Ellen Hendriksen, the author of ‘How To Be Yourself’, a person needs to create, ‘a supportive environment from which you can try hard things….give yourself the same support, compassion, warmth and kindness that you would expect from a good friend.’
Being compassionate with yourself is disciplining yourself and taking control of your emotions. For instance, when you were a child who loved to eat candy, your mother would refrain from giving you an extra one, because she knew that would certainly harm your health.
Now, that’s what you need to do for yourself. Self-care is about being compassionate to yourself through overcoming the temptations that might hinder your development or health in the long run.
It’s certainly hard to surmount on the first go, but once you realise how beneficial it is for you, you’ll be willing to overcome all these temptations.
2. Learn to manage stress effectively:
Fitting a call with your friend or relative into your bustling schedule is possible, but you certainly cannot fit self-care into a schedule. You cannot be like, ‘From 10 am-10:15 am, I have to love myself’, or ‘at 3pm, I have to believe in my decisions.’
Self-care is a continuous process that reflects in your life when you become positive from the inside. However, when you are constantly under stress, you cannot feel positive because, practically, you don’t have time or effort to.
So, learn to manage your stress levels effectively. It can hamper your physical as well as mental health immensely which, in turn, will pose a detriment in your self-care journey.
3. Cultivate mindfulness:
Is there a difference between ‘I am not worthy’ and ‘I think I am unworthy?’ Yes, an immense one. If you weren’t able to spot one, then read it again with extra stress on the word, ‘think’.
When you believe your weaknesses to be a part of your inherent identity, you create a dent in your self-esteem. But, when you give this idea a thought, you reduce its intensity, because thoughts can be challenged.
Instead of saying ‘I am unworthy’, say, ‘My mind thinks that I am unworthy, due to so and so incident.’ This is how you cultivate mindfulness and become aware of your thoughts.
When you do so, you start to change the false beliefs that you had been believing all this time. You replace them with positive thinking as you challenge all these thoughts and strive to become a better version of yourself.
You’ll find these three things playing a major role in any man’s self-routine. In addition, a black men self-care routine would also include setting boundaries which can also be a great addition to yours.
In conclusion, men’s self-care is necessary not only for him but also for the people he surrounds himself with. So, take the first step towards caring for yourself.