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Just for Dads: Prioritise Self-Care This Father’s Day

by on 08/06/2022 1418

We often see messages of self-care directed at women. However, navigating between parenting and work during the pandemic has given us, including children, plenty of reasons to feel stressed, depressed and anxious. This is why self-care has never been more important for everyone, including men.

Malaysian Mental Health Association president and consultant psychiatrist Professor Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj mentioned researchers found that fathers actually experienced higher levels of depression due to the pandemic compared to the moms in Malaysia1. It could probably be that “men tend to bottle up their emotions more than women, so when they do melt down, it seems more catastrophic,” he commented.

To prevent such anger and irritability from spilling over and affecting those around you, take a moment to reflect and give some serious thought on how to approach your self-care routine this Father’s Day. Tuning into your body and taking the time to nourish it properly will do wonders for your mental health. For some dads, it may mean taking in fresh air and sunshine while playing golf; for others, whipping up a delicious meal or taking an hour to read may be what it takes to make them happier and more relaxed.

There are no hard and fast rules in this aspect but here are three self-care musts from parent coach and psychologist, Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein, for fathers to start making themselves a priority.

1. Make the effort for self-care

Self-care is intentional. For the most part, taking care of others is almost an automatic response. It’s common for fathers to give their all to their jobs and families, and then end up neglecting themselves. When it comes to health – both physical and mental – it’s always better to know, than not know. You are tasked with the greatest responsibility of taking care of you. Acknowledge your importance and self-worth; listen to your body and pay attention to your thoughts. Make it a habit to eat well, find time to exercise, have necessary quiet time, hang out with friends; make the adjustments you need to prioritise yourself inside out. If you take care of yourself, you can better handle life’s challenges.

2. Be understanding to your partner

A big part of practicing self-care also means taking care of the relationship you have with your intimate partner. Attentive listening and reserving time for simple pleasures can improve your overall well-being. Say no to criticism, defensiveness and perfectionism in the relationship, but instead, communicate your thoughts, express your needs and set your boundaries.

3. Know the power of listening to your children

Being able to have healthy relationships with your children is truly the gift that keeps on giving. When so many things demand for your attention today, including screens of all sizes, it’s easy to back-burner their emotional needs and inner feelings. Always give your children time and undivided attention. No matter their age, talk to them and regularly spend time together for activities that strengthen your bond as a family. This special bond is one of the most genuine bonds that can renew your energy and revitalise your spirit so that you can continue living your life and providing for others from a place of abundance.