Self care is a pretty big buzz word. Take care of yourself. Identify what you need and give yourself the care to address it. Perhaps a warm bath with candles, a walk around the block, or curling up into a little ball in your basement does the trick. Or maybe a guided meditation or kicking like a wild animal in your fitness class is what helps. It’s about recognizing those feelings of guilt, the feeling of, “I need to give more of myself” or “I should be giving more of myself” and realizing that you can’t pour from any empty glass. Your health is important too. Yet it’s hard to remember to put your oxygen mask on first while flying at high altitudes.
We talk a lot about self-care for women. Yes, women often take on more work, particularly unpaid work around the house. Yes, women often clock more hours when it comes to raising children. Yes, women are often the ones who take care of their aging parents. Yes, women are often the ones responsible for hidden work like remembering which day is pizza day and when to register kids for sports. We know that a lot of women put others needs above their own, making their self-care particularly important.
But what about men? What about self-care for men? Our society teaches our little boys to, “Suck it up and be a man.” We teach our little boys to be tough, to show no weakness. Crying is for babies. For sissies.
Toughen up. Be a man.
You put two guys together whose wives are going through cancer and what do they talk about? Beer. Fishing. Sports. Probably anything but cancer.
I simply can’t accept that they have nothing to say about cancer. Instead, our society has made these topics out of reach for men, even in the quiet comforts of their own home, when no one is even looking. Topics that make us vulnerable. Topics that expose the smooth skin under that rough outer shell.
Let’s change the language we use around our little boys. Let’s teach our little boys that their self-care is important. Let’s remind men that they need self-care. Let’s make it okay for men to actually practice self-care.
Let’s redefine what it is to be a man.
Open up. Be a man.