Self-care can be an excellent way to prevent stress, which is way too common in our fast-paced life, and disease. Self-care encompasses different things that you can do to live better and feel better, not only for yourself but also for your family. You probably want to increase your lifespan and spend more time with your kids, be there during their important life occasions, or enjoy precious moments with your grandchildren.
Many men have always considered self-care as “a girl thing.” They think that practicing self-care is a sign of laziness, or it shows that they’re not busy enough (and it makes them look unsuccessful), or some type of luxury that they can’t afford (“I can’t take time off from work, I have to make money to pay bills.”). However, things are changing, and more and more men are discovering the importance (and reaping the benefits) of self-care.
It doesn’t necessarily mean a day at the spa sipping Champagne or a shopping spree. Self-care means giving your body and your brain the time to rest and recharge by engaging in activities (or not engaging in anything) that can elicit positive outcomes, increase focus, confidence, and happiness, boost creativity and productivity, and motivation, promote healthier relationships, and optimize overall well-being. Our modern society glorifies busyness, but are you always productive? Could it be that you are working longer hours because you are tired or stressed out and need to slow down to become more productive?
Self-care is a way to respect your body and your mind and give them necessary space and time. Self-care makes you more resilient, it strengthens your physical and mental health, it makes you feel energized and restored, and it allows you to achieve more balance in life. Self-care can be the most generous gift to yourself and to those you love. Why not start on your Father’s Day this year?
I normally engage my coaching clients in four different categories of self-care: physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, and professional.
Below are some recommendations for each area:
In addition to eating healthy, sleeping, and exercising, physical self-care can mean spending some “me” time or hanging out with friends, visiting a museum for some inspiration, watching the sunrise, or just doing nothing. Find a hobby you love, like playing sports or painting, or read a great book, and involve all of your senses! This can all contribute to lower stress levels and to enrich your daily life.
Mental / Emotional Self-Care
Give priority to YOU in your personal and professional life. Say “NO” more often in order to focus on what’s most important, take a digital detox whenever possible, stay away from difficult relationships or negative situations.
Learn something new. This has been shown to promote neuroplasticity (the ability of your brain to change neural pathways) and neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons). Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Be more mindful by paying more attention to your thoughts and feelings. Journaling is a great activity as it can lift your mood and make you more aware of who you are and where you want to go in your life.
Also, don’t be ashamed to reveal your emotions, and most of all, accept them without any judgment. Let yourself go, cry if you need to, laugh when you want to, remove anger and fear from your day. Even if you are a man, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t express your feelings
Do you have a pet? Awesome! Taking care of your dog or cat helps you find more meaning and purpose in your life, and you feel more accomplished (not including wonderful walks or runs with your dog as part of your physical self-care)
Spirituality has nothing to do with religion, despite what many people think. Instead, I see spirituality as the connection to our inner self, the development of our inner dimension which is essential for happiness, self-growth, and optimal well-being. It’s that inner energy that lets us guide our life.
Ways to tap into spiritual self-care include experiences that can make us feel good and improve our outlook about life, from removing negative energy to connecting with nature, honoring your beauty and uniqueness, celebrating you.
Meditation is also a great spiritual self-care practice, and it’s easier than you think. Even just a few minutes a day can make a big difference. And if you add affirmations that can give you greater purpose in your life, you can repeat them during the day whenever you experience a challenge or you feel blocked.
Whatever you do in your business, self-care is extremely important. Taking breaks during the day helps with focus and productivity. It’s as important as eating healthy, sleeping, and exercising. Our bodies and our brains are not machines, they cannot work 24 hours a day. We need to stop what we’re doing and dedicate time to ourselves that gives us pleasure, happiness, positivity. Even if you’re working on a project at work that gives you excitement, you still need to take a break to recharge.
Research shows that most people can only concentrate for a maximum of 60-90 continuous minutes before needing to take a quick break to stretch, move, maybe get a drink of water or a healthy snack to fuel body and brain before they resume for another session. If you have the ability to enjoy the outdoors during your day at work, go for a walk during your breaks and take advantage of sunlight and nature for some Vitamin D and inspiration!
During your self-care practice, always pay attention to your breathing. Besides supplying oxygen to our entire body and brain (and getting rid of waste and toxins from them), it puts you in control of your emotions, stress, fears, and it allows you to have more clarity, be more productive, more present and intentional with everything you decide to do.
Never feel guilty or ashamed for prioritizing yourself. By creating healthy habits and finding “me” time, you will thrive in life and in the workplace. Give your body the tools it needs to do its main job: keeping you healthy. Start living your life in a different, more fulfilling, and healthier way on your Father’s Day!