Guest Post: Self-Care, A Male Perspective

by - 18:57:00

Hey everyone, hope you're well!  Today I have a guest post from Peter McDonnell, he talks about self-care from a male perspective. Get yourself a cuppa and enjoy the read. 



Self-Care - A Male Perspective

By Peter McDonnell

Many people, myself included have stressful lives in both good and bad ways.  It is becoming ever more important to know how to take time out for yourself and relax, recharge, destress, defuse, deflate, chill – therapeutic and beneficial actions come in several guises and have lots of nicknames.
 
One of my favourites is woodworking.  Because I do it as a part time hobby more than an actual job that pays the bills, it’s relaxing.  It’s also stimulating in low amounts and things like using a saw or plane often require only surface concentration of the mind, allowing the rest of it to wander peacefully.  It’s like meditation. 

There’s something about writing too, whether it’s working on my memoir about my journey from mental illness to recovery and happiness, or working on a blog post.  I find that thinking about words, story patterns and themes, what the next sentence will be – it seems to engage that part of the brain with creative juices while the rest of it is subconsciously relaxing. 

For some people doing slightly menial tasks is where the rest of their brain susses out all of their problems.  I watched an episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ recently where Sheldon (the genius physicist and main character) took a menial job as a waiter in order for his frontal lobes to remain free but slightly stimulated in hopes of finding a solution to a mathematical problem with string theory that he couldn’t see when consciously engaging his brain.  That shows his genius a bit, the fact that he considered waiting on tables to be a menial job.  I’ve done it before and I found it hard. 

It’s wonderful that there are so many different ways to practise self-care.  While it is true that men typically don’t take as many long soaks in the tub as women, or talk through their emotional complaints with their peers as much, I must confess that I like a bubble bath.  And I do talk about my emotional and mental health a lot too, to anyone that shows a vague interest.  But that’s probably because I spend many hours writing about it. 

I like to tidy too.  Well, I don’t like it exactly but I like the results.  Keeping control of your living space clears thinking and helps my brain to feel that all those little chemicals are running properly and not stifled by the stress of my environment being a mess.  ‘Tidy house tidy mind’.  People with strong healthy brains don’t tidy because they enjoy it, they tidy because they know it is good for them.  I’m sure that if there were twins with exactly the same mental health problem and treatment plan and you put one in a tidy environment and the other in a big mess, the twin with the tidiness would do better.  
  
Self-care is not just for adults with mental health problems or generally stressful lives either.  My niece is four and a half and she has nap time at school.  Her sister is two and a half and she has nap time every day no matter where she is and the only problems they have are that they don’t like spinach. 

Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of being in a position where tidying or woodworking will help them to relax – some people have more serious problems.  I would suggest perhaps do some research and find some tips online on how to help yourself, and then try and talk to a few people about it.  There is plenty of information for practically every type of problem online, even if you have some quite intense stuff going on.

When I was having group therapy in 2014 (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – similar to CBT and abbreviated to ‘ACT’) for my anxiety I was with four other people, all young women, and it was very interesting.  I was lucky to have been already well on my way to recovery from anything serious (I was originally diagnosed with cannabis induced psychosis with grandiose delusions and later picked up serious panic and anxiety stuff), but my fellow group members were more seriously unwell and they thought the advice was simply underpowered.  “How is imagining my negativity as leaves on a stream going to help?”  “Thinking of my problems as passengers on a bus but recognising that I’m the driver and in control is just crap!  Hello – I’m feeling suicidal here!” 

The problem is that often the best that someone who wants to help can do is cast a wide net.  This is why in my opinion having one to one therapy can be so useful, people are often surprised of how helpful such self-care can be.  Getting yourself to see a therapist is an act of self-care.  Self-care does not mean doing everything yourself, it means helping yourself and doing what’s good for you. 

When I had eight group sessions of ACT in 2014 and eight one to one sessions of ACT in 2015 it was free on the NHS.  It is usually available on the NHS for free but waiting lists can be long.  If you think it might be right for you, put your name on the waiting list.  I think the average wait is three months but you might be lucky.  In present day I really am doing well, especially considering that eight years ago I was a socially anxious and psychotic mess and practically housebound.  The techniques I learned in my therapy sessions continue to sit in various places in the back of my mind helping to sort out my fears and anxieties (which are normal and common) before I’ve even noticed they are there.  Honestly, I would recommend therapy to anyone!

So it’s ridiculous to expect to live a busy life and achieve things without taking time out to look after your mental well-being.

About Peter:
Peter McDonnell, 36, is a writer, blogger and mental health advocate from Basingstoke, Hampshire.  He currently has three part time jobs – a maintenance assistant at the local sports centre, a joiner in a carpentry workshop and a peer support worker on four wards at the local mental hospital.  In his spare time he writes about mental health.


 
His mental health, lifestyle and travel website and blog is petermcdonnellwriter.com    
Twitter PeterMcDonnell_ 
You can find other social media's and details on Peter's website.

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50 comments

  1. Thank you for the blogging opportunity Chloe!

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    1. Thank you for writing such a lovely post Pete! :) xx

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  2. Such a great insight to the Male perspective of self care. Great post!

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  3. I've always read self-care but from a female perspective. It is interesting to see how guys do self-care. There are so many different ways to go through self-care. I can imagine woodworking being a relaxing thing. I totally agree with you about this not being for adults. It's for anyone or all ages. Thanks for sharing some insight!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, I'm the same, I haven't seen a self care post from a male perspective before this! xx

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  4. Such a welcome read, more men should blog and get their views and feelings out there, excellent post

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  5. Great read! I wonder if there should be more crossover of self-care ways between men and women - allowing each other to tap more into undiscovered parts of the mind.

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  6. This was so interesting to read! I'll admit I've only ever really read about self care from the female perspective, and while I've found many things that are helpful, it's always good to find another way of thinking. The part about doing certain "menial" tasks is great, I never thought of it that way before (and I've seen the episode of the Big Bang Theory!) but I genuinely enjoy tidying up and cleaning when I'm feeling a bit off. Part of it is the result, but I also find the process helpful. Thank you to Peter for sharing his perspective :)

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the read! I was the same, I hadn't read any self care posts before from a male perspective, so I'm glad Peter has written this! xx

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  7. This is such an interesting and insightful post, I have just realized I have only ever read about self-care from a female point of view, so it is refreshing to hear a male perspective on the subject. I agree, tidying is such a good one, I always feel so much calmer when the house is clean and organised, 'tidy house, tidy mind' is such an accurate saying. Woodworking sounds like the perfect way to get creative and relax the mind at the same time. Fab post, so many helpful tips and suggestions - thank you Peter and Chloe! <3 xxx

    Bexa | www.hellobexa.com

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! I totally agree with you, it is refreshing to hear a male perspective on self care. I'm the exact same with tidying too, I struggle being motivated when my surroundings are a mess. Thank you for your comment! <3 xxx

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  8. I just want to say thank you for all the positive feedback/Comments. It means a lot. I have a blog on my website and though I haven't blogged for a while, the last blog phase was in the summer while looking after my nieces, I promise I will be going back to my blogging soon, probably tomorrow. Have a great weekend folks!

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    1. There's been some lovely comments! Have a fab weekend :)

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  9. petermcdonnellwriter.com

    (link above)

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  10. Also...I have some nicer pics of me on my website! Why did I like that one?

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  11. Thank you very much for sharing!! My boyfriend also says tidying up and cleaning makes him feel good and productive, and is a good way to distract yourself on other things! This is not often told from men's perspective so it's nice to read this!

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    1. Thank you for your comment Ger! I totally agree as well with tidying up and having clean surroundings can really help! xx

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  12. I only know of one other man who blogs and sonetimes writes about self care, my friend Marty. He has a website/blog where I have contributed four guest articles. It's a mental health blog. http://www.gumonmyshoe.com/?m=1

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  13. Marty (Martin Baker) is an online friend to loads of people! My first guest article two years ago, the first of many was for his site.

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  14. So nice to hear from a mans perspective on this subject! I totally agree about 'tidy house, tidy mind'. If there's clutter around me or things are messy, it stresses me out so much xx

    Tiffany x www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

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    1. Definitely agree, it's not seen very often! I also get so stressed when things around me are a mess! xx

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  15. This was a really interesting post and definitely nice to see a male's perspective on a topic we've all come to know SO well through blogging over the last few years!

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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  16. Thanks for all the positivity! After your kind encouragement to get back to my blogging, I have and will be continuing it. Today's post - http://www.petermcdonnellwriter.com/le-blog

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  17. Thank you for sharing this! It's always interesting to read about self care from the male perspective because I feel like topics like this are saturated with the female viewpoint, so I really enjoyed!

    Chynna | chynnawebley.com/blog

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    1. I definitely agree with you! Glad you liked the post! xx

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  18. This was such a great post idea! We often hear self care being spoken about in such a feminine way, a bath and a face mask can fix the world (not that men can't do those things too, of course) but we never hear about it from a male perspective. Such an interesting read x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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    1. Glad you liked the post! And yeah I totally agree with you! xx

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  19. Once again thank you so much for the comments! I'm proud to share my perspectives with all you beautiful women lol.

    I'm not planning on posting all my links here in the future, but I've done another blog post. Thanks for commenting!

    http://www.petermcdonnellwriter.com/le-blog/using-sport-to-keep-healthy-mentally

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  20. Also, any blogging tips are greatly appreciated,I know you guys have it all down to a fine art.

    Pete xx

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  21. Really interesting post from a male perspective. Must admit I'd never considered hobbies such as wood work could be therapeutic! I support anything where you are just focussing on the task in hand is a form of meditation. Great post!

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    1. Glad you liked the post! I'd never think of something like that as theraputith either, but I guess we're all different and different things stimulate us :) xx

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  22. This was such an interesting read and nice to see something from a male perspective. Thank you for sharing. Imogen x www.imogenchloe.co.uk

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  23. Thanks Alison, thanks Imogen. New website - anyone interested?

    Same address petermcdonnellwriter.com

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  24. Interesting and fresh point of view on self-care! Glad I stumbled upon your blog :)

    - Marina W
    http://www.waitmarinawho.com/2019/01/roermond-netherlands.html

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    1. Thanks very much Marina. I checked out your blog too- very beautiful! I will hopefully read some more of it soon

      Pete

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    2. Aw glad you enjoyed the post, I shall check out your blog too :) xx

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  25. So interesting to read from a male perspective, explains why my boyfriend is always tidying and nagging me to put my things away!! Thanks so much for sharing! :) x

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    1. Sounds like a keeper

      Thanks for commenting! I'm glad you liked it

      Pete

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    2. ahaha I think I'm the one who nags my boyfriend to be tidy and put things away :') xx

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  26. This was such an interesting read! It was nice to see things from the perspective of a man, because most blogs I read are always written by women. Great post!

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  27. I twant Hugh to this was a great post and it illustrates the importance of mental wellbeing!

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