What do men do for self-care? I asked myself this the other day. I was thinking how often my girlfriends and I talk about our self-care practices, but when it comes to my male friends, I have no idea how they interpret self-care, or if they even consider it a practice at all. That’s the thing about the term “self-care”–it’s so amorphous. On social media, we see posts about crystals, palo santo and flowery skincare threads. In this sense, self-care seems overly feminine. I absolutely know this is not the case, and that everyone, regardless of gender, practices self-care in some way, so I wanted to get the opinion of some men on their interpretation of self-care and how they practice it.
Chris Phillips, VP at Apartment Therapy
“I realized only recently that I've been doing self-care wrong. It really isn't about deliciously-scented things you can buy or large indulgent treats. It's more about a regular practice of feeding your creative, caring, curious soul. (Click to Tweet) I walk from Soho to midtown Manhattan at least once a week–stopping to check out some of the bookstore carts outside, wandering through Union Square as the farmer's market closes and looking at everyone's shoes. I need that alone time and walking (and dodging traffic) helps me keep my mind free of distraction and my phone.
My son and I go to church every Sunday at a small and amazingly diverse Episcopal parish in Brooklyn. The community, the ritual, singing Amazing Grace - I feel the pull of the community, the hope for the world coming from a higher power. My son and I also love the Oreos after the service.
Self-care can also be about the tools you use to take care of yourself. I have an amazing backpack that keeps the tools I need for my day all neatly stowed in one grab-and-go space. And I am in love with Tile trackers - I get so much peace of mind from always knowing where things like my wallet, keys and Kindle are.”
LCC: Chris makes an excellent point. Self-care isn’t just about buying things just because you like them or they make you feel good. Self-care is an emotional and spiritual practice that helps you to feel safe and joyful–whether that’s taking a long walk to clear your head, or engaging within a community.
Follow Chris here.
John Rigsby, Stylist
“For me, self-care is about living your life in a way that’s the most enjoyable to you–staying active and healthy, but always keeping balance in mind. I am always sure I take time for myself after running around the city for fittings–the constant go, go, go of my job requires time to wind down after so I don’t burn out.
I was raised by a very strong woman who believed nutrition, exercise and beauty regimens were the best investment you can make for yourself. I love to do an elaborate skin care routine, both in the morning and evening. I’m also one of those people who loves baths! I’ll take one almost everyday–they’re just so much more relaxing than showers. Showers seem rushed to me. In the bath, you can relax, unwind, take time for yourself.
It’s all about balance. I love to spend time with my friends and husband and have drinks and good dinners. You can have a few glasses of wine, but the next day make sure to counter with a nice green juice and salad–just be mindful of your body’s balance. I feel like people tie the term “self-care” to health and wellness, but wellness is also about doing things that make you happy and enjoy life so you can live it to the fullest.” (Click to Tweet)
LCC: Truer words have never been spoken! Yes, taking care of yourself means staying healthy and having a skincare journey, but if having that glass of wine or ordering that side of fries makes you happy, go for it. Self-care is also about enjoying your life and spending your time in ways that serve you!
Follow John here.
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Craig Elbert, Co-founder & CEO, Care/of
“My wife and I just had a daughter–in addition to our two-year-old son. Given that, I don't wind up with TOO much time for self-care. But I would say that on the weekends, I try to take advantage of my son's nap schedule to try to catch back up on sleep. And when I get into work in the morning, I like to start with a fresh ginger and lemon juice. I figure it helps with immunity and also manages to perk me up.”
LCC: Finding time to practice self-care can be tough when you have two other little humans to look after in addition to yourself. While I don’t have kids, my friends that do always told me to sleep when they sleep, especially when sleep is such an important part of self-care. Also grabbing yourself a ginger-lemon moment that makes you feel energized isn’t a bad idea either...
Follow Craig here.
Alex Iskold, Managing Director at Techstars
“In engineering, when you classify features and bugs into categories, you assign them a priority.
P1 means urgent—most important—needs to be done now. P2 means important, get it done soon. And P3 means nice to have, maybe one day. Make yourself and your well-being the highest priority. Make taking care of yourself P1. Chaos causes stress, but the most important thing is to schedule time for yourself.
I became a vegan about 3 years ago, and I absolutely LOVE it. A plant-based diet has made me a lot more productive, and a lot more clear headed. I have a lot more energy, and I am so much more empathetic and effective at my job. (Full disclosure, occasionally I cheat—sometimes I have cheese and when I went to Maine I had seafood. Hey, I am not crazy!)
Like eating good food and sleeping, exercising is an essential tool to make you more productive. More importantly, exercising leads to a more enjoyable, more clear-headed life. My go-to exercises are running, yoga and strength training. I mix them up during the week.
Realizing that you are put on this earth to take care of you is important. Realizing that if you don’t make yourself a P1, not only you will suffer, but your loved ones, your co-workers, and your startup is an important realization. Take the time to think about your lifestyle. What is important to you? Are you mindful of yourself? How can you be happier and more productive?” (Click to Tweet)
LCC: These are great questions to think about when starting a self-care routine. It’s so important to realize that you are also a priority. As Alex mentioned, when you don’t carve out some “you” time, all other things in your life begin to suffer as a result. We’re constantly in go-mode and focused on professional success, which we then tie to personal success. It’s equally as important to invest time in yourself!
Follow Alex here.