The Four Pillars of Self-Care for Men

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Picture a guy who spends all his gym time bench pressing. The upper body might be impressive, but it looks a little absurd stacked atop spaghetti legs. And no cardio time probably means weak lung capacity. Throw in disregard for basic skin care and you have a thoroughly out-of-whack specimen on your hands. 

Obviously, that is not what you should strive for. Self-care is all about understanding your various components and taking adequate time to keep flowing in harmony.  

A healthy life is all about balance. So let’s take a look at four pillars of self-care: exercise, sleep, mental health and skin care.

Skin Care

At first blush, skin care may feel out of place in this list, but your skin is a pretty healthy barometer for your overall health. Sure, it’s true that a person with glowing, perfect skin may be a full-on sociopath. But that can be true of fitness buffs or anybody else who excels at any one of these pillars. 

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Again, this is all about balance. 

Bags under the eyes, wrinkles, dry skin—those can all be signs that you’re working too much, sleeping too little and that you’re relinquishing your health by not properly protecting your skin from the sun.  

Obviously, we put a pretty significant premium on skin care. And it’s not about vanity. Healthy skin suggests a commitment to a healthy life. Take it seriously. We have a pleasurable little routine that’s easy to implement:

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These cornerstones of men’s health bleed into one another—success in one arena begetting benefit to the others. And there may be no greater boon to your overall health than commitment to exercise. 

As the Mayo Clinic notes, adequate exercise prolongs life expectancy and keeps your testosterone level where it should be, all while “helping relieve tension, depression, anxiety and anger.”  

young happy male athlete

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If that doesn’t sway you toward a commitment to physical well-being, perhaps you need to hear how little it takes. You don’t need to run five miles a day or spend an hour killing yourself at the gym. More from the Mayo Clinic: “Research shows that as little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can boost energy levels, the ability to sleep soundly and self-image.” 

If you can’t find time for a brisk 30-minute walk each day, you need to take a good, long look at your approach to life. 


There’s an unfortunate near-fetishization of being able to thrive on very little sleep, especially among men. Sleeping four hours and working 15? WHAT A MANLY MAN. That needs to stop. Every guy needs proper sleep. Think that man is functioning pretty well on four hours? Give him three or four more and then check out his performance. 

It’s hard to overstate the value of sleep. There’s no exaggeration in this statement from the Sleep Foundation: “Sleep powers the mind, restores the body, and fortifies virtually every system in the body.”

The Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per night for people 18-64.

Mental Health 

What’s the point of having a great job, a solid income and a chiseled physique if you’re just flat out miserable? 

Depression, stress and anxiety are rampant. And too often, men feel like doing anything to address their mental well-being is another sign of weakness. That has to stop, dudes. 

A healthy mind is critical. Whether you’re anxious from time to time, dealing with run-of-the-mill blues or you’re flat-depressed, you need to do something about it. 

The benefits of meditation are vast and well-established. Every guy can benefit from a little bit of quiet calm. There’s no shame in taking a moment to breathe and center yourself. And if you’re truly suffering, seek counseling. 

One of the finest ways to display your commitment to living a healthy life is to present a healthy face.

deep breathing

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A good life is a balanced life. Don’t sacrifice one arena with a hyper-focus on others. Treat yourself right. You’ll benefit and so will everyone around you. 

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