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Care Leads To Care: Learn How In Our Unique Study

In March 2021, we did a unique study to find out how men care for themselves and the people around them. With our partners Promundo, a global leader in engaging men and boys to promote gender equality, we learnt amazing things happen when men care for their emotional and physical well-being. This World Mental Health Day, let’s discover how we can love, grow, heal and thrive together.

Caring for those around you starts with caring for yourself.

Our study revealed that when men embrace care for themselves inside and out, it creates a ripple effect that benefits everybody in society. Men’s self-care doesn’t just have the power to change the world today, but for future generations of boys and girls as well.

With this study, we want to redefine what self-care means to men, challenge the stereotypes of masculinity that hold men back, and help more men care for themselves and their families, friends and communities.

Read our stats and tips below. And let’s start making that change together. Today, not tomorrow.

What are the benefits of holistic self-care?

Practicing a variety of activities – including eating well, exercising, meditating, relaxing, socializing and skin and body care rituals – helps improve our overall well-being. In turn, this holistic approach to self-care, when men balance physical self-care, emotional self-care and social connection, helps us care more for others too. Here are the stats to prove it.

Dove Dads Book

 

Holistic self-care boosts our life satisfaction.

Men who stay in regular contact with people, ask for help, meditate, read books and focus on their diet – in short, who practice holistic self-care – are 2.2x more likely to feel balance in their lives, 1.6x more satisfied in themselves and 1.4x more satisfied with their partners. 

Self-care could be great for the economy too.

Research by Promundo and Unilever estimates that eliminating behaviors related to stereotypical masculinity could save the US economy $15.7 billion.*

How can I make holistic self-care a daily practice?

This study shows that holistic self-care can help us create a world in which caring manhood is normative. So, what’s stopping so many men from embracing it? 

Time demands, economic constraints, racial injustice and societal pressures to adhere to masculine stereotypes are all barriers that can hold men back from self-care. As Jadyn, one of our interviewees, states: “Caring for oneself can be seen as a feminine thing. And men who [practice self-care] may be laughed about or become shamed.”

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It’s time to support each other and break that cycle together. Here are some tips to make holistic self-care part of your everyday routine:

  • Nurture your mental and emotional well-being.

For the men in our survey, physical self-care was practiced on average 4x a week, while emotional self-care was 3x a week and social connection only 2x a week. Experts say finding a better balance is vital. “Men should be thinking of their mental health as deeply connected to their physical health,” suggests Dr Wizdom Powell. “They should also consider focusing on mental health to demonstrate masculinity.”

  • Don’t let stereotypes hold you back.

Men who adhere to masculine stereotypes are 14% less likely to care for their emotional and social needs. Previous research led by Promundo and Unilever also suggests these stereotypes are linked to negative health outcomes for everybody.

  • Laugh, communicate and have fun every day.

“Manage pain and emotions by laughing every day,” says Dr. Rashawn Ray, Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland. “Talk to the funniest people you know daily. Communicate regularly with those you love. Refresh yourself by doing things you enjoy and exploring new hobbies.”

  • Teach your sons a new definition of masculinity.

Dr. Gary Barker, CEO and Founder of Promundo, believes teaching children social connection and emotional self-care can change the world. “They cry, they connect, they listen, they care, they sleep when they need to, they are brave enough to walk off the field when they are hurt,” he says. “We need to find ways to make all those qualities the ones we all agree our sons (and daughters) need.”

*Heilman, B., Barker, G., & Harrison, A. (2017). The Man Box: A Study on Being a Young Man in the US, UK and Mexico. Promundo-US & Unilever.

‘Care Leads to Care’

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