When you examine masculinity through the lens of modern culture, most people think about big muscles, scruffy beards, trucks, and beer. But is this really what it means to be a man? Men have needs and emotions as well, which means self-care has just as much of a place in a man’s life as a woman’s.

What is Self-Care?

According to Dr. Raphailia Michael, “Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.”

While simple in theory, very few men actively practice self-care – at least with consistency. As a result, it’s become a bit of a lost art in our society.

By recognizing the importance of taking care of yourself, you can take the necessary steps towards living a happy, healthy, and productive life.

4 Self-Care Tips for You

Self-care looks different for everyone. It all has to do with your personal needs, preferences, interests, insecurities, strengths, and weaknesses. But no matter who you are, the following tips will prove helpful.

1. Take Care of Your Body

There’s a lot more to life than how you look, but there’s ample evidence to suggest that looking good provides people with the confidence to make them feel good. That’s why it’s important to take care of your body.

Balding is one issue that zaps confidence from millions of men. If you’re experiencing premature balding, it may be time to think about a hair restoration procedure – such as scalp micropigmentation, a non-surgical procedure that helps camouflage the signs of hair loss.

Anything you can do to slow the aging process will help you feel younger. In addition to dealing with balding, you should care for your skin, exercise regularly, and wear clothing that actually fits.

2. Eliminate Sugar

Most men are aware of the dangers of stress. Thousands of studies have looked at the correlation between stress and negative health effects – including premature aging, heart disease, and chronic health conditions. But stress isn’t the only thing you need to worry about.

“Sugar does the same thing that stress does: it shunts testosterone production and instead promotes estrogen,” says Yuri Elkaim, holistic nutritionist and fitness coach. “High amounts of sugar increases insulin, and insulin and estrogen kind of go hand in hand, working together to suppress testosterone function. So guys who are eating lots of sugar in any form – whether it’s from breads, pastas, cereals, bagels, donuts, refined sugars – whatever – all of those are going to have a negative impact on testosterone.”

By eating healthy and reducing stress, you’ll experience physical and emotional freedom from the chains that are currently holding you back.

3. Get More Sleep

You’ve been given the advice over and over again, yet you probably still struggle with getting adequate sleep at night. If you want to care for yourself on a physical and emotional level, make sure you’re getting six to eight hours of quality sleep.

Like anything important in your life, you’ll need to carve out time to sleep. By actually penciling it into your schedule and designating certain sleep hours, you’ll be much more likely to get the rest you need to thrive.

4. Get a Massage or Pedicure

Massages and pedicures – they aren’t just for women! While they may be more popular among women, men can – and should – get them as well.

A massage or pedicure is a simple activity, yet it offers many benefits. In addition to the physical benefits of the actual service, being cared for in such a personal manner makes you feel good. It lowers your blood pressure, promotes serotonin, and increases satisfaction. Not bad, right?

It Starts With You

In the Bible, there’s a verse that talks about loving your neighbor as your self. This verse, which has been used for centuries to help people think about how they’re treating others, is based on the assumption that you treat yourself well. If you don’t treat yourself well, then you have no basis for how to interact with others.

In order to treat others well, you have to take care of yourself. Self-care, while typically not discussed in conjunction with masculinity, is arguably the most important thing in your life.