In an effort to encourage men to protect their mental wellness more, we asked our male readers to shares their favorite forms of self-care.
November is Men's Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to bringing awareness to a wide range of men’s health issues and encouraging men to be more proactive with their health and self-care. While the month has become most known for campaigns like Movember and No Shave November, there is also a big emphasis on raising awareness and support for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and suicide.
Sadly, most men—especially those in Black and Brown communities—have been conditioned to simply "tough it out" or "man up" when it comes to facing mental and physical health issues. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, men are 3.7 times more likely to take their life, in comparison to women. That's why it's important that we encourage the men in our lives to not only be proactive when it comes to their health, but to also let them know it's okay to not be okay.
In an effort to show that self-care is not just for women, we asked Black men to weigh in on the ways they decompress or protect their mental health. If you're looking for new options, here are some of the forms of self-care they shared.
Writing out your thoughts can be therapeutic. So much so, that many therapists will ask clients to journal daily to help process certain thoughts or feelings. The great thing about this form of self-care is, there's no right or wrong way. It's solely up to you.
Turning the phone off
With the world being so connected, consuming too much of anything can always weigh on your mental health. Carve out a time each week to simply unplug. Pick up your favorite book or even try out some of the other practices mentioned.
Getting lost in music
Cue up your favorite music streaming service, or go old school and put something soothing on the record player. New York resident Barney Bishop shared that he enjoys throwing on John Coltrane's "Love Supreme." He says, "I just sit back and close my eyes. It's very therapeutic."
Going for a long run or working out
Peer-reviewed medical journal, The Lancet Psychiatry, published a study that found when adults exercise, it decreases the number of poor mental health days they have each month by 40%. In the study, poor mental health was classified as depression, stress, and overall emotional concerns.
Taking a bubble bath
Yes, men enjoy bubble baths, too! Try adding in your favorite essential oil, like lavender, peppermint or eucalyptus, for an enhanced state of relaxation. Take things up a notch with your favorite candle or even some incense.
Going to therapy
Thanks to social media, therapy is no longer looked at as a sign of weakness. In fact, it has become increasingly popular over the last 2 years as men and women continue to figure out how to navigate the current state of the world. There are now dozens of resources that can connect you with licensed therapists, including: Therapy for Black Men, Talk Space, and Black Men Heal.
Not only is meditation good for your mental health, it has physical benefits as well. It allows you to focus on the present, especially in times when anxiety can seem crippling. The biggest benefit is that it lowers stress levels, which can also decrease your chances for adverse health risks like stroke, high blood pressure, and more