Self-care is not only for those in recovery, nor does it consist of periodic activities incorporated into a routine. Self-care at its core is a mindset; it means putting yourself first to become the best version of yourself. Such practices that promote mental and physical health are more than just something to check off your recovery to-do list. They are essential in adding meaning and fulfillment to your life.
However, most men have difficulty practicing self-care and often neglect their mental and physical health needs. A lack of self-care for men could result in putting on weight, chronic aches and pains, lack of energy, and even depression. It is crucial in maintaining sobriety and achieving goals that you practice self-care. Let’s look at why you might be neglecting self-care practices and how you can correct these destructive habits.
Poor Work-Life Balance
Most men think of themselves as providers for their families. If you are of this mindset, then you may be placing your needs last on your list of priorities. The habits you develop when neglecting yourself amplify if you work a demanding job. Suppose you are working long hours and commuting in heavy traffic. In this case, these elements of your day could leave little time for you to focus on eating right, exercising, and practicing other therapies that are essential for recovery.
Additionally, it can lead to burnout and have you deferring to old habits such as using substances to cope. Further, these poor habits not only prey on your mental health, but years of neglect and inactivity lead to chronic physical ailments that further perpetuate your stress and anxiety.
It’s Not “Masculine”
Self-care often gets the reputation that it is not “masculine” enough. Therefore, you might view slowing down to practice self-care as a sign of weakness or detrimental to your concept of masculinity. However, measuring your worth based on how much you can bear is dangerous to your health and overall wellbeing. While being self-indulgent might not appeal to you, especially if your usual mantra is to “suck it up,” the long-term consequences negatively affect you and your loved ones.
Practicing mindfulness and attending meetings regularly are crucial steps, but seeking professional care to help you understand the triggers that feed your negative thoughts and habits is too. Pinpointing these triggers will help you identify and avoid stress and burnout, and debunk any fallacies you might have about masculinity. Further, regularly checking in with yourself when self-care is needed is essential in implementing positive thoughts and behaviors. It also enforces your ability to open up and express your needs to your loved ones, which in turn strengthens bonds and communication. Working through your emotional needs on a healthy basis will expose and break the stigmas surrounding masculinity. It also helps define what masculinity means to you.
Make Time for Yourself
It’s easy to get caught up in your daily routine, but finding personal downtime for yourself is essential to the body and mind. Better yet, all you need is just a few minutes to reap the benefits. You can start by spending time participating in activities that make you feel the most alive, which could even permeate into other areas of your life. You might enjoy volunteering, playing music, or writing. Going for a walk on lunch or focusing on breathwork during your break resets and replenishes your mental and physical wellbeing. If you have very little time to yourself, try to incorporate self-care into your schedule, such as listening to your favorite music, audiobook, or podcast on your drive home from work.
It is also vital that when you make time for yourself to validate your needs by setting boundaries. Setting boundaries with the negativity that follows you home—from work, for example—and how to separate yourself from it will help reinforce self-care practices. You can start by limiting your screen time at home, especially during social events and family time such as dinner or game night. Doing so will not only keep you in the moment with yourself and your family, but it will also bring more balance to your life.
Don’t Feel Guilty
Self-care is not selfish. Sometimes following through with self-care is easier said than done because guilt gets in the way. This happens because sometimes, making time for yourself means having to say no to others. That hour you put aside for the gym or meditation instead of hanging out with friends or family could lead you to feel a sense of shame or even remorse.
Self-care is essential for boosting your mood, energy, and overall health, so you are more present and pleasant when tending to other responsibilities. Ultimately, your self-care practices benefit you and those around you; therefore, you should not feel like you are sacrificing or neglecting anything when taking time for yourself. Self-care aims to rejuvenate your energy and refresh your mind.
Self-care is a practice that promotes better mental and physical health and helps incorporate healthy habits that sustain recovery. The stereotypes that surround masculinity should not influence one’s motivation to self-care. Rather, self-care should be a part of your recovery story. At Choice House, we help men discover the true definition of masculinity, regardless of whatever internal or social stigmas come with it. Self-care is not limited to its stereotypes. Rather, being masculine means taking control of your life and putting your needs first in order to lead a healthy life, beginning with self-care. Our models of therapy and treatment help men develop the tools necessary to express their desires and vulnerabilities. We also incorporate real-world scenarios to better prepare you for challenges after your transition back into everyday life. If you are struggling to bring balance to your life, the time to seek help is now. Find out more by calling us at (720) 577-4422.