Self-Care for Men
By Kevin Lahey, Clinical Intern
With Father’s Day on the horizon, all of us at Owens & Associates Counseling and Therapy Center wanted to take some time to talk about self-care, and specifically, self-care for men. It’s important to recognize that “Self-Care” is a pretty broad idea, so let’s take a second to define what it means. The National Institute of Mental Health (2022) describes self-care as the process of actively doing things that will help you live your best life, as well as improve and maintain good physical, mental and emotional health. It’s important to mention that self-care shouldn’t be confused with “self-soothing”. Self-care is a long-term process aimed at producing results that last over a long period of time whereas self-soothing actions are actions that are taken help you cope with distress and anxiety in the short-term, and these actions aren’t always good for us. As an example, self-care would be eating a healthy, well-balanced meal despite stressful things happening in life, whereas self-soothing would be binge-eating an entire bag of your favorite kind of chips. Sure, those chips might taste good, but you’re not really doing yourself any favors in the long run.
Obviously, participating in self-care is easier said than done. Unfortunately, life just gets in the way sometimes. We’re often expected to be constantly moving forward, so it can be difficult to find time to step back and take time for ourselves. Maybe we had to stay late at work and ended up missing dinner, or taking care of a new baby prevented us from sleeping properly. Things like that really do add up and can impact our overall functioning. Along with that, American culture has put men in a particularly tough spot, as masculinity norms often discourage seeking out professional help and taking time to better oneself. Seeking help or working on yourself is often seen as the “weak” thing to do. Instead, many men are expected to “suck it up” or “deal with it”, but in reality, seeking help and acknowledging the need to care for yourself is one of the strongest things someone can do.
All of us at Owens & Associates Counseling and Therapy Center understand that reaching out for help can be difficult, but we’re all in your corner. We can work together to help you find ways to properly engage in self-care and help you to lead a healthier, happier life. Maybe you need someone to speak to about improving your diet and sleep, or maybe you’re having trouble finding enjoyment in things that you used to love doing. Whatever the case may be, Owens & Assoicates Counseling and Therapy Center has plenty of therapists able to work with you on your self-care journey in a way that works for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us at (847) 854-4333.