Shaking the stigma and making men’s self-care second nature

3 min

Men can feel an expectation to be the stoic supporter of their family or to take on a tough-it-out attitude towards life’s stressors. The pursuit of these goals often pushes personal wellbeing down the to-do list. That might not feel harmful, but ultimately, you won’t be performing up to par in any aspect of life.

That’s where the concept of self-care stems from. In some cases, the idea is considered (and marketed as) a feminine activity or has been reduced to its most superficial elements like skincare.

But self-care not only makes you more effective, it builds resilience and offers a buffer from the bumps in the road when you inevitably reach them. It turns a house of cards into a structure that can withstand life events like a relationship breakdown, a job loss or the death of a loved one.

What self-care involves has never been more important for men to understand and put into action.

“Some of the things that self-care involves, it’s not necessarily fun stuff — eating well, getting some regular physical activity in,” Psychologist Narelle Dickinson says. “But if we can focus on the big picture and what basic self-care is going to allow us to do with the rest of our life, then maybe there’s a little bit more motivation.”

However, self-care can also include the stuff that does make you feel good — whether that’s keeping your grooming in check or enjoying a round of golf. It’s about seeing time for yourself as a necessity, not a luxury.

“When life gets really busy and the focus is on earning an income or doing the jobs that have to be done, prioritising yourself can get put on the back burner,” Dickinson says.

“It’s about changing the mindset towards those actions to make it a non-negotiable in a way.”

How you can practice self-care

Examine your current habits.

Rather than attempting to overhaul all your habits at once, start with one or two small activities and build up gradually. Think about self-care in advance and actively plan these strategies rather than expecting them to just happen.

This Black Dog Institute planner can help you find the best self-care ideas for you.


Healthy living
Mental health

Did you find this page helpful?

Information provided on this website is not a substitute for medical advice

Call 000 for emergency services

If you or someone you know needs urgent medical attention.

Call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 for 24/7 support

MensLine Australia is a telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns.

Sign up to our newsletter

We release two monthly newsletters – one written for men, family and friends, and another for health practitioners.

Your preferred mailing list

Your name

Your email

Stay up to date


Healthy Male acknowledges the traditional owners of the land. We pay our respects to elders past, present and future. We are committed to providing respectful, inclusive services and work environments where all individuals feel accepted, safe, affirmed and celebrated.


Healthy Male is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. This website does not host any form of advertisement. Information provided on this website is not a substitute for medical advice.

Trusted information partner of