Why You Should Start Practicing Self-Care As Early As Possible
Dr. Angel Rivera
You Only Have One, So Let’s Set Your Body Up For Long Term Success
The term “Self-Care” is thrown around a lot, and it can mean a number of different things to different people. However, some aspects are more important than others.
In preparation for Movember, we’re looking at some ways that men can start taking care of themselves earlier. Movember is a campaign focused on raising awareness about men’s health issues, specifically mental health, testicular cancer, and prostate cancer. Many of these issues are ones that are best dealt with at an early age.
Staying moving is one of the most important things you can do for your body. Moreover, starting earlier can have lasting effects as you get old. Regular physical activity can lead to reduced stress, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of heart disease. There are many ways to get you moving, here are just a few ideas.
Stretching daily is essential to physical self-care. It promotes flexibility, can increase your range of motion, and is great for stress relief. Some forms of stretching, like Yoga, can even be great for your spiritual self-care. If you don’t stretch already, try adding just a few yoga poses to your morning routine. Even a few minutes of stretching can have a positive effect.
Cardio exercises, like running or biking, are some of the best ways to maintain your health. Almost anything that gets your heart rate up is cardio, so you can try a number of different ways to find what works best for you. Swimming, playing organized sports, jumping rope, hula hooping, or even just walking are all effective ways to raise your heart rate.
Cardio isn’t only good for your heart, there are a number of benefits. Regularly doing cardio can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, as well as help manage stress, make you sleep better, and even improve your sex life.
Take Care Of Your Mind
More and more, people are having conversations about the importance of taking care of your mental health. Practicing self-care to take care of your emotional well-being can sound daunting, but you can start with just a few minutes a day.
One popular way to take care of yourself is by practicing mindfulness or meditation. Practicing mindfulness has a number of scientifically proven benefits, like reduced anxiety, increased body satisfaction, and improved attentiveness.
You don’t need to commit to climbing the Tibetan mountains to learn to meditate. All you need is a quiet space and some time to yourself. If you’re not sure what to do, there are plenty of resources to help you get started. Apps like Calm or Headspace have guided sessions that can lead you through meditation basics.
Another way to take care of your mental health is by talking to a professional. If you’re really struggling, seeing a therapist or a psychiatrist is an essential step to protecting your long-term mental health. Suicide is one of the top killers in the United States, and 1 in 5 adults experienced some form of mental illness in 2019. If you’re having mental health issues, you are not alone and there is help for you. If going out and finding a therapist sounds daunting, there are plenty of options online for therapy or psychiatry.
Watch Your Hairline
One important aspect of self-care to get started on early is your hair. Up to a quarter of men start losing their hair before the age of 21. Both men and women can experience hair loss at an early age, so it’s important to get ahead of the issue.
Taking certain vitamins can help to protect your hair before you lose it. Having a deficiency of vitamins like biotin, zinc, or omega-3 fatty acids can cause you to lose hair faster, so it’s important to get these in your diet. Try incorporating foods like milk, eggs, avocados, or fatty fish into your meals. If you don’t get enough of these vitamins naturally, you could consider taking a supplement that includes them.
Another option is talking to a doctor about medication. There are plenty of different hair loss medications, from topical treatments to pills like finasteride. They work in a variety of ways, and many need to be prescribed by a doctor, so be sure to talk to yours about which is right for you.
Check In Downstairs
Cancer is the leading cause of death for men in the US according to the CDC. It’s important for men as they start getting older to check in, as some cancers can be detected early in self-exams.
About 500 men die each year from testicular cancer in the US, and almost 10,000 are diagnosed. It’s important to catch testicular cancer early, as with any cancer, early detection is one of the most important factors in cancer treatment. Thankfully, routine testicular self exams are quick and easy and can help detect most problems early on.
The best time to do an exam is after a warm bath or shower, as heat relaxes the scrotum which makes it easier to check for abnormalities. Check for any swelling, and then gently roll each testicle between your thumb and index finger. Look for any changes, such as hard or smooth lumps, changes in size or consistency, or even a change in shape. If you find anything out of the ordinary, make an appointment with your doctor.
Another exam to talk to your doctor about is the prostate exam. Prostate cancer is the second leading cancer in men in the US, only behind lung cancer. Fortunately, there are multiple different ways to detect prostate cancer early, with both a blood test or traditional digital rectal exams. Talk to your doctor about which is right for you, most men should be screened once a year.
Spoil Your Face
Your face is the most recognizable part of your body! Taking care of it should be a high priority as a young person. Hormones are stronger at a younger age, so you’ll have more skin issues, and getting ahead of things like wrinkles is something you can never go wrong with.
Developing a skincare routine can help keep your skin healthy and radiant as you age. While it can be seen as a feminine thing, it’s important for men to also take care of their face, as there are specific issues that men deal with more commonly. For instance, sebum production is naturally higher in men, which causes your skin to become more oily. Other issues, like dry skin, adult acne, or skin tags can all be prevalent in men. If you tackle a skincare routine early, it can keep your skin free of these issues and you looking younger for longer
The basics of a skincare routine are really simple. You don’t need to go all out on masks, toners, or makeup (although you can if you want to!). To start off, try just 3 simple steps:
It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes each day to nail these steps. If you build a skincare routine into your self-care, you can find yourself looking years younger!
One fairly male-spesific step is daily shaving. Some men prefer to live the Duck Dynasty life, but if you do shave at all it’s important to use high quality razors and shaving products. Otherwise, you can have razor burn, irritation, or even scarring.
One easy way to improve your shaving is switching to a safety razor. Not only will they provide you with a closer shave and are less wasteful, your skin will be less irritated and you’ll save money in the long run. While you might get a nick or two more when you’re starting off, your skin will be healthier than if it’s being tugged at by a cartridge blade every morning.
Taking this self-care advice is helpful for any man. However, it can be especially beneficial if you start earlier. Don’t try to throw too much at your body that it will have to recover from. If you work preventatively, you can stop issues in their tracks.
If these tips were new to you, consider participating in campaigns like Movember or No-Shave November to bring awareness to other men. Growing a beard or a mo’ this fall could help a life!