Ladies, be honest, what comes to mind when I say, "self-care"?
Let me guess, you probably thought of a woman (i.e. yourself) having a spa day wrapped in a fluffy robe or even a mani/pedi with matching nail polish colors. Am I right? Unfortunately, for men, the term self-care has somehow found itself coined as feminine. It's actually one of the very few gender stereotypes that kind of works in our favor and we literally dominate the self-care culture.
Let’s start A thread of black men doing skincare here pls 🥰 https://t.co/EBkO4j8kAE— Soouizz (@Soouizz)1580414721.0
As a result, some men find themselves shying away from self-care due to gender-based stigmas. They fear that partaking in self-care won't be seen as masculine. But listen up men and women, men taking care of themselves is not feminine at all! It is so very necessary. In fact, ladies we should actually be encouraging our husbands, boyfriends, brothers, fathers, uncles, and male friends to take care of themselves and indulge in a little self-care, especially during these trying times.
Here are 6 ways that men can begin indulging in self-care today:
This is listed first for a reason. It is so important that men take care of their skin, too. I mean, it's one of the first things that people see when they meet you. And guys, we can tell when you're not taking care of it. That is why I am all the way here for this recent Twitter thread showing black men taking care of their skin! Yes, fellas!
To be honest, I used to consider getting a facial as a luxury, but now I consider it maintenance for my skin. If you've never had one, it is a service performed by a licensed professional, usually an esthetician or facialist that includes cleansing, exfoliation, steaming, extractions, and a mask. Before COVID-19, I got a facial every 4 to 6 weeks while others may only get them just four times a year. How often you go is totally up to you and your esthetician or facialist. According to Men's Health, here's what you need to know before getting a facial:
- If you have sensitive skin skip your shave the day you get a facial.
- Be patient. It can take up to a week to see results from your facial.
- It may get a little uncomfortable when it's time for extractions and exfoliation. Trust me its's worth it though.
I remember when it used to be a rare sighting to see men in the nail shop but now I'm almost always guaranteed to see at least 1-2 men during my visits. This trend of seeing more men in the nail shop is expected to continue. In fact, there are more and more establishments opening that only cater to men. Alpha Male Nail Care Services in Charlotte, NC does just that! If you're in the Charlotte area, be sure to check them out!
Taking care of your hands and feet is almost as important as taking care of your skin. There is nothing I hate more than seeing a well-dressed man with dirty fingernails. Getting a mani/pedi isn't just important for superficial reasons either. Regular manicures and pedicures help prevent hangnails, stop ingrown toenails, and help to soften corns and calluses. Oh, and the massage at the end is everything! Trust me!
As someone who loves water, you would think that I would indulge in taking a warm bath for relaxation purposes more often than I do. But it was actually my boyfriend that taught me the benefits of taking a warm bath. While a bath can certainly be used for hygiene purposes or to wash away the day, it also has many other benefits such as alleviating muscle aches and pains, helping to regulate your body temperature, and helping you sleep better at night. So King, run a warm bath, put on some calming music, light a candle and enjoy.
Massages are an act of self-care that I'd say most men are probably fairly comfortable reveling in, however, research shows that more women get massages than men. Make time to get an occasional massage, fellas. You can literally get one anywhere from the spa to the airport. Massages help alleviate stress, anxiety, pain, tension, and can even enhance exercise performance.
If you scroll through social media, you will no doubt become inundated with messages on healing and meditation that are directed at women. It's actually pretty disheartening that more men are not encouraged to meditate. Regular meditation can significantly benefit both your physical and mental health. There are so many different types of meditation, so there is literally something for everyone. Headspace.com has a great write up on the different types of meditation. I encourage my brothers to browse and find the one that is right for you.
Mental health can be a bit of a taboo in the black community overall, but especially for black men who are expected to be strong and show little-to-no emotion. While it is important to take care of your skin, your body, your hands, and your feet, please don't forget about your mind, guys. If your mind isn't healthy, it really doesn't matter how healthy the rest of you is. More and more therapists are offering telehealth options due to COVID-19. There are also sites like Therapy for Black Men that can help you find a therapist in your area.
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Featured image by Shutterstock.