I’ve never been very good at self-care. It’s not a skill that I’ve naturally taken to. Particularly as a guy, I was raised not to worry about things like that. My parents were from the school of “pull up your socks, tuck in your shirt and get on with it!” I’ve had to learn for myself that self-care is vital to life.
Learning to look after myself has felt like a lifelong journey. Along the way, I have been helped very much by my partner, who has encouraged me to do things like look after my skin, get a decent haircut, and to wear clothes in colours that suit me. However, self-care goes a bit deeper than this. It’s more than just looking after your appearance – it’s actually about caring for your body and your soul.
Looking after my body as part of my self-care has been something that I’ve struggled with. I’ve always been a fat boy and was never very athletic. I never felt connected to my own body, but with age I’ve learned to do things that help maintain it. I have to go to the doctor to have the various aches, pains and things that go wrong attended to in a timely manner. I’ve developed an understanding that my body needs maintenance.
I’ve also learned about fitness. I’ve discovered the gym – and I love it. I love lifting heavy weights, stretching my body, and pushing myself. I also love the results it brings, even though they seem to be very slow in coming.
I’ve had to learn to look after my mental health. I’ve learned that I have to deal with stress, and develop better interpersonal skills. I’ve done courses in things like self-esteem and communication, and thought about situations to come up better ways of doing things. By applying tips that I hear to my life, I’m bringing about small improvements.
So why is self-care so important to me? My journey has been about filling in the neglect that I felt as a child, coming to terms with that and developing my sense of worthiness to be looked after. The more I look after myself properly, the less I feel the need to indulge myself in ways that cause me harm.
Self-care is really a skill that is vital to learn, develop, and grow in. It’s for men, it’s for women, it’s for everyone and most importantly it’s for me!