Growing up in Iceland in the '80s and '90s there was not much talk of men’s self-care. Men were silent and strong, went to work and took care of the family. There was no time or interest in self-care, and truth be told, if someone had mentioned it, he would have been seen as very strange and most likely subjected to ridicule.
How far we have come! Men are now fully recognized as emotional beings who need take care of both their physical and mental wellbeing. As a man, if you dedicate the time, there is a good chance you will feel happier and more balanced in your life.
What is self-care for me?
As a whole, it involves tending to my mind, body and spirit, by taking care of intellectual, social and practical needs.
A few examples:
- Interacting with others — your friends and family as well as your coworkers, but also people who are different from you, and challenge you to think differently. All these interactions are important for good mental health and can help strengthen relationships, improve mood and wellbeing, and offer a sense of belonging.
- Giving to others — giving can improve your mental and physical health, whether it is volunteering or getting involved in your children’s school or sports community. I promise you, that you will feel good if you take the time to help others.
- Getting a good night’s sleep — turning 50 years old, I’ve found this to be one of the most important things I can control. After a good night's sleep, everything is better, and I’m ready to take on the day ahead. I aim for a good 7-8 hours of sleep.
- Taking time to meditate — I usually do a 15-20 minute meditation, and find it helps to ease my anxiety, reduces stress, and keeps me motivated and focused.
- Taking care of your skin — a good skin routine is as vital for men as it is for women, helps you stay fresher and younger looking, and helps prevent sun damage. Don’t forget to choose a moisturizer with sun protection.
- Finding your passion — find the activity that you enjoy and take that time for yourself. Hiking, exercising, golf, painting, playing the piano - anything that brings you joy. Doing something you love builds confidence, makes you happier, boosts brainpower and increases your productivity.
"I like tempo and rhythm. I love it when I have structure, but can still be a little bit free within the walls of that structure."
I try to go to bed around 10-10:30pm and I wake up at 5:45am. I take my dog for a walk, drink water with lemon and apple cider vinegar, take my supplements, and join my CrossFit community for a workout at 6:30. I’m usually back home around 8am to take a shower. After showering I use a moisturizer on my face that contains sunblock and take just björn marine collagen to nourish my skin from the inside. I’m ready to dive into work at 9am. I like to take a little time off after lunch to meditate, and I fulfill my passion and creativity almost every day by cooking something nutritious and good for my family. Weekends are usually for friends, new and old. So, as you can see, I try to maintain a routine that ticks off all the self-care boxes. If I don’t have time, I make time.
Stress, lifestyle demands, and bad nutrition can take a toll, making it even more important to take time, slow down and take care of the most important person in the world—you!
Drop me a line if you want ideas for self-care rituals that can work for you.