It’s the 21st century, and it’s no longer taboo for men to treat themselves. No, don’t recoil — self-care isn’t just for ladies who lunch and dye their poodles. Treating yourself simply means to indulge in a self-care activity that’s not part of your regular routine. And what better time of year to mix things up (in a good way) than Father’s Day?
Treating oneself is also a great way to unwind and relieve tension. To understand the stress-relieving potential of a little manly me-time, it’s important to first note the difference in how men handle stress.
How men respond to stress: like cavemen
Humans are less modern (biologically) than we’d like to believe. Typically, men like to let out extra testosterone through physical activities — lifting at the gym, running, playing a competitive pickup game with the guys, or banging out 30 push-ups at home. This may have something to do with the “fight-or-flight vs. tend-and-befriend” stress management mechanisms, as cited by this Harvard study.
In a nutshell, the study says that when a caveman saw an angry bear, his body triggered a natural response to either confront the bear, or flee the scene. Men today still have a flight-or-flight reaction to stressors, only now it’s triggered by being overcharged at the bar, getting stuck behind a slow driver, or inevitable work stress.
In 2017, it’s important for men to blow off steam in calmer ways. Here are some indulgent, manly activities that can help alleviate stress — and don’t involve fighting sabretooth tigers or yelling at clouds.
Male grooming and indulgent ideas to relieve stress
1. Shave and a haircut
Ever notice how you feel like a whole new man after getting a crisp haircut? There’s a built-in confidence boost after the barber finishes removing the shaggy exterior, and that handsome devil you haven’t seen in a month reveals himself in the mirror. Going to the barber is an excellent way to treat yourself. Only this time, don’t just go for the standard $20 cut. Splurge a little. Say yes to the straight razor neck shave, the beard and mustache trim, the hot towel. Ask for a shampoo rinse afterward, or even a tea tree treatment. It’s essentially a scalp massage with a tingly hair product that will completely rejuvenate you. Just don’t melt in the chair.
2. Taste fine whiskey (or whisky)
Nothing says manly indulgence like sipping a 10- to 15-year single malt scotch. No need to go to a bar and spend $20 for a glass. You can stay budget-conscious and still enjoy the finer flavors of the Scottish Highlands. Head to the liquor store and get yourself a bottle of Laphroaig, Lavagulin, or Glenfiddich, along with a couple of snifter glasses (all of this should cost you under $100). Put on some calming music. Add a splash of water to open up the spirit, and boom: you’ve transformed your house into a DIY whisky tasting lounge. This is also a great father-kid bonding activity for Father’s Day (if your child is over 21, of course).
Note: try combining #1 and #2 if you’re in a major city like LA or NYC. Places like The Blind Barber offer a complimentary cocktail with every haircut.
3. Get a pedicure
Summer’s here, and toes are out in the open. It’s totally appropriate (and common) for men to get a pedicure, especially if you’re going to the beach anytime soon and plan to wear flip-flops. Aside from aesthetic reasons, there are some feel-good reasons for getting a pedicure too. Your pedicurist will trim your toenails (which prevents ingrown nails — ouch), clean your feet, including the accumulated detritus beneath your nails, and even give you a nice foot and leg massage. Plus, you can check your phone the entire time if you want. No need to get polish if that’s not your thing.
4. Buy a new pair of shoes
Since we’re on the subject of foot maintenance, let’s consider sneaker shopping for men. You’ve probably heard the song lyric, “Hey, I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything’s right.” It couldn’t be more true. Treating yourself to a comfortable new pair of kicks can transform your entire mood for weeks, and dramatically improve posture. Everyone needs to be able to walk upright in style (especially given how often we’re hunched over our phones — but that’s a topic for a different blog post).
5. In-home massage therapy
There are many reasons why men need massages. From sports injuries to neck and back pain, to overall relaxation and general relief from the 9-to-5 tension. Massage can even cure hangovers and improve cardiovascular health. According a study in Men’s Fitness magazine, “Just 45–60 minutes of relaxation massage lowered subjects’ heart rates by more than 10 beats per minute, lowering blood pressure, and promoting serotonin, the sleep hormone.”
Often, though, men don’t necessarily want all the frills that go along with a spa day — the bathrobes, cucumber water, etc. They just want a massage, and they want it now. That’s a big part of why Zeel Massage On Demand was created — so that you can conveniently order a massage through a mobile app, delivered to your home in as little as an hour, and you can even choose the gender of your massage therapist.
Massage start times are available as late as 10:30pm, designed for the guy who isn’t big on planning. Once you book your appointment, the Zeel Massage Therapist brings the table, sheets, and everything you need to enjoy a 5-star massage. Then, you can slip into hibernation mode in the comfort of your own residence. No more driving home from a spa through stressful traffic.
There are many methods for men to treat themselves to the finer things in life. These are just a few. Hopefully you found this article helpful in brainstorming ways to unwind, either for you or the man in your life.
Looking for a stress-relieving Father’s Day gift? Look no further than Zeel’s massage gift cards for Dad.
Zack is a writer, producer and marketer with 10+ years' experience in the advertising, nonprofit and tech startup industries. He is currently the Education Production Team Lead at Foundr Magazine, a web site for entrepreneurship education and was previously Content Manager at Zeel. Learn more about Zack on LinkedIn.