We know, guys: There’s work, the kids, the dog, that one squeaky door …it’s a lot, even if you have a partner to help manage it all. When there’s an all-too-familiar clip to each day, it can feel like there’s zero time left for self-care. Though the ladies still seem to have the “me time” market cornered, time to unwind is imperative for every person. And though I keep saying how there are far too few men in nail salons, self-care doesn’t have to look like that. Try these out-of-the-box ideas that pack the same punch as a pedi.
Sink or swim aren’t the only options in a stressful world: You can also float. If the idea of finding a meditation app and sitting with your thoughts is underwhelming, try float therapy. Tubs are usually 10 inches deep and packed with up to 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. (Yes, even The Rock would float!) Greatly reduced sensory input helps turn off your brain and may also reduce pain, muscle tension, and depression. Bonus: It’s too risky to check work email or text while on your back in the water. It can wait!
Easy as CBD
An estimated 14 percent of American males have an anxiety disorder, and cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical found in marijuana, has emerged as a promising alternative therapy in the management of these disorders. Commonly found in trendy men’s self-care items like tinctures and beard oils, CBD has also been credited with setting the stage for a better night’s rest, with research suggesting cannabidiol may favorably impact sleep disturbance.
A little (outside) dirt doesn’t hurt. In addition to the good feelings that come with improving your home and growing your own food, time at home in the garden is beneficial to health. Whether it’s hauling dirt, raking, planting, or mulching, gardening is a highly physical task that can take you out of everyday stressors and increase perceived health and well-being. As you age, the benefits remain. One study found that non-exercise physical activity like gardening can cut the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke by 27 percent, and lower risk of death from all causes by 30 percent. I’m going to go out on a limb and say picking up dog poop probably counts, too.
Race a friend
The buddies we bum around with often determine how healthy our habits are. If work stress has meant your workouts have fallen to the wayside, grab a pal and decide to set an (attainable) goal together. And no, it doesn’t have to be an Ironman. The growing popularity, even among Baby Boomers, of the sprint triathlon— usually a half-mile swim, then 12-mile bike ride, followed by a three-mile run—make it a popular racing goal for weekend warriors or full-time working folks.
Chart a path out of debt
An uncomfortable yet well-known fact: money is among the biggest stressors in relationships—and it’s a clear net negative for our mental health and well-being. The average US household has about $6,000 in credit card debt, and boy do those interest rates come at a high cost to our health. Get a handle on exactly where your money goes by booking an appointment with a financial advisor or importing your bank info into an easy-to-use online budget tracker.
Phone your physician
Men report they’d rather clean the bathroom than go to the doctor. Yes, it’s true—but are you surprised? Societally, men tend to put themselves on the back burner when it comes to their health. Fortunately, it takes far less time to call the doctor than to listen to someone beg you to call the doctor. So, do yourself a favor and call! And also … it’s your turn to scrub the toilet.
Numbers don’t lie
Did you know men are more likely to die by suicide but less likely to seek professional help when they are depressed, especially as they age? Male suicide rates are higher than their female counterparts in almost every country.
Cool as collagen
Collagen is a key structural protein that provides strength, elasticity and regeneration for our skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones. Taking a regular collagen supplement may
• reduce sports injuries like sprains, strains, ruptures or breaks when taken with a vitamin-C gelatin supplement
• enhance muscle mass and strength when taken after resistance training.
• improve skin hydration, elasticity, and overall appearance
• be found in supplement form or in the grocery aisle in products such as bone broth, beef jerky, or coffee creamers that have added collagen to their ingredients.