Mental and Physical Self-Care for Fathers

latino man, health

To be better husbands and fathers to our children, it is critical that we take our ‘self-care’ or health and wellness seriously. We live in a time where society and culture including politics hit closer to home more than ever. Our community struggles could impact our way of life — the way we deal with pressures, anger and fear leads to more stress impacting our mental and physical health.

Latino men tend to ignore health-related issues, delay the annual doctor exams and/or not want to admit and preoccupy our family members when health issues arise. Neglecting self-care can have a negative impact and develop into unhealthy habits – mentally and physically. It’s time to prioritize, regulate our self-care and know that it is not selfish or indulgent to take care of ourselves. Get in tune by involving family and stick to those annual doctor exams – our families are depending on it and us.

It can be difficult to devote time each day, week or month to self-care activities, from our busy 9-5 jobs or entrepreneurial schedules that keep us ‘on’ all the time, to being an involved father and husband – where is the time?

Here Are a Few Strategies on Making Time For Self-Care Activities – 

Wake Up 15 Minutes Earlier
Adding an extra 15 minutes to your day can have significant long term impact. Use the moment to be solo – with your early cup-of-joe and/or news. You can set the pace of your day by meditating which provides mental clarity. Need guided mediation? There’s an app for that!

Jumpstart on Healthier Eating
You can use your extra 15 minutes a day (see above post) to cut up fresh fruit/vegetables, bag up some trail mix to take with you as in between meal snacks – when your busy day is on the road or in back-to-back work meetings where all there is at the table are sugary donuts – you’ll feel better knowing you nourished yourself with better options. Sustain the brain power, stamina and endurance throughout the day with healthier options.

Find Your Spirituality & Awareness
Sometimes we disconnect by accident. Pick up a men’s group at church, enjoy a spiritual read or book like the Four Agreements, again back to our 15 minute recommendation above.

See The Doc
When was your last doctor check up or general physical exam? Plan for a glucose/blood lab especially if you are overweight – diabetes is an epidemic, my friend. For sexual health, even if monogamous you must get a sexually transmitted infection test. Have the prostate exam cleared. Check your cholesterol levels, blood pressure and yes, get that dreaded colonoscopy done – get it done now, you won’t need another one for 10 years!

Therapy Is Not Bad
For men, this can be the biggest myth that ‘therapy is for wimps and women’. ‘Therapy is just something our Latino – black and brown men of color don’t do.’ Nope. Quite the opposite – help can be on its way – finding a provider ‘therapist’ to help us talk it out, make sense of our ‘negative ‘ emotions like guilt, shame and fear to change our mindsets and psychology to thinking differently or correcting past associations on what is blocking us – can be the most empowering thing we can do for ourselves AND our families. Embracing our vulnerability is not easy but necessary.


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