Even in the 21st century, men are still stigmatized for proudly showing off their self-care rituals. As such, wellness salons barely get male customers, and wellness products are often targeted towards women alone. There is so much prejudice against men who constantly work on their appearance and well-being, as society sees that habit as feminine.
Thanks to social media and modern gender studies, the stigma is starting to dwindle. But we still have a long way to go. Until now, many men are still hesitant to participate in wellness activities. A study has found that companies struggle to engage men in corporate wellness programs.
Moreover, even the modern man is still afraid to come clean about their mental health ordeals. Because of the standards and norms society has placed on their gender, men are more likely to engage in harmful habits to cope with their poor mental health instead of getting treatment.
That said, here’s why males should defy the standards, despite the criticism and stigma:
No One is Immune to Stress
Mental health issues usually start with stress. If you feel stressed at work or with just about anything, you should feel free to express that, because stress is a normal human response. It doesn’t choose a gender. Talking to others about the effect of stress on your life can foster camaraderie, empathy, and support. As a result, you can avoid feeling isolated, which often leads to drug addiction and worsened mental health.
By openly talking about stress, you can educate others that it is a medical issue. No one is immune to it, not macho men who train hard in the gym, not tough men who serve in the military. When people realize the medical implications of stress, they can seek treatments for it and see hope.
Untreated stress results in poorer mental health, which manifests itself into physical ailments. Men usually use alcohol or drugs to cope with their stress, because therapy and counseling, especially for men, aren’t normalized in society. Hence, a lot of them end up with serious diseases in the long run, such as cirrhosis, gastritis, and changes in the brain. These are all effects of long-term alcohol misuse.
Once your mood begins to change often, your work performance declines, your weight fluctuates, you lose interest in your hobbies, and feel physical symptoms, it’s time to seek help. You can surround yourself with positivity by hanging out with your friends and bonding with your family. If that isn’t enough, talk to a therapist. You don’t have to be at your worst before reaching out to a mental health professional.
By going to therapy and being open about it, you add to the list of men bravely conquering their mental health problems. As such, you are contributing to the progressive normalization of men treating their mental health properly.
Self-care Activities For Men
Getting physical isn’t the only effective self-care activity for men. You can also create a skincare routine, enjoy aromatherapy while soaking in a tub, or get regular mani-pedis. But those routines only have superficial effects. To make your mental health benefit from your self-care habits too, consider these activities:
Reciting affirmations is basically giving yourself a positive pep talk. Before starting your day, take time to pause and remind yourself that you’re good enough. Believe that you can overcome the day’s challenges, and that negativity has no space in your life. At the end of the day, pause again and rewire your brain. Tell yourself that you did well today, and you’re ready for tomorrow’s challenges. Thirty days of adding affirmations to your self-care routine will drastically change your life and mindset.
Try Stress-reducing Herbal Treatments
CBD oil and ashwagandha are great herbal treatments for stress. CBD, in particular, is effective in reducing anxiety and soothing stiff joints. Ashwagandha, on the other hand, has properties that control cortisol (stress hormone) levels, while simultaneously increasing testosterone levels.
Use Essential Oils
If you have trouble being productive or sleeping, breathing in essential oils will help. Try peppermint to boost your concentration, and lavender for improving your sleep quality. If stress has also caused your hair to fall off, apply rosemary oil to your scalp.
Bond With Your Loved Ones
Loneliness can feed negative thoughts into your head. Instead of pushing away your loved ones when you’re stressed, pull them close. Make space for them in your home. Build an outdoor fire pit or heating system so that you can hang out comfortably on your patio while conversing and stargazing. Simple moments like that have incredible healing effects no alcohol and drugs can match.
Taking breaks for the sake of your mental health doesn’t make you any less of a man. Destroy the idea that overworking or debauchery are the “manly” ways to de-stress. You’re a human being with wellness needs, not a robot that has to follow whatever’s programmed in it.