#TheSelfCareSeries: Black Men’s Edition

Self care is something I hold very dearly to my heart. I cherish it so much that I decided to create a whole series dedicated to various forms of it. However, while reflecting on these posts and drafting possible ideas, I realized that many of the concepts I had in mind were more geared towards women’s self care. I realized that a lot of times self care gets pushed under the rug when it comes to men, and I feel that it should be encouraged and emphasized more- especially in times like these. With all the political issues, societal pressures, and mental health issues that men (especially black men) face, I decided to take the initiative and highlight 5 black men and their journeys with self care.

As promised, here’s the 3rd installment of the #SelfCareSeries- Black Men’s Edition.

McFredy A. | Fitness

24

Brooklyn, NY

“Self care is the best care”

How did you start getting into fitness?

I started taking fitness more seriously in the beginning of 2019. I wanted to feel better mentally and physically. Also jokingly, I thought if I focus on my legs more I’d be able to dunk and give women bigger than me piggyback rides. But that’s neither here nor there. The choice to be more fit was an attitude change and to bring more of a discipline to my lifestyle.

How has fitness contributed to your self care journey?

Fitness has definitely given an immediate boost to my attitude. It always gets my mind off of things for that time period. The choice to actually work out by myself does wonders. I’ve found out I’m more positive with myself and I’m not trying to out-work my workout partner. I get to set my own pace and that’s something I take with myself in other areas of life. 

It’s my body so how I get to my results is my business, which is the same as- it’s my life- how I get to my destinations is my business too.

Describe a typical workout day- what are a few staple workouts you always try to incorporate in your routine?

In the morning, the first important thing is water. After that, I usually bust out 2 sets of 25 push-ups, 2 sets of 10 dips, and whatever third thing I can find to do at home. Then I usually end my day the same way, I usually get bored with workouts so that third workout varies. When I go to the gym though- cardio for 15 minutes every time. 

Cardio is important!!!  Let that one sink in. Oh and legs. Fit in a set some squats or wall sits.

After cardio/legs though, its whatever body part I decide to focus on. I did a 30 day straight challenge back in January and focused on the chest. I know the gym workers were like “Chest Again” but I didn’t care. It was barbaric but fun. By day 17 I said “im buggin out” but hey you gonna see this chest man. Fitness has become a fun hobby for me.

Keep up with McFredy by following his social media platforms!

St

Nnamdi N.

25

Atlanta, GA born and raised in NYC

“Self care is important”

What are a few ways that you practice self care?

I pray, reflect, and forgive.

Describe your journey with self care- how has it helped you process your emotions in times of distress?

Every morning, I ask God for direction and try to ask for strength and wisdom to handle the day. Life is filled with challenges, adversity, and hardships –– there are many things that you can’t control in life, so I focus on only what I can and let God handle the rest. I kind of have this mindset of everything that I go through in life is preparing me for my purpose or greater things to come. Knowing God is on my side allows me to develop a healthy mind and not burden myself with my failures. 

Before I go to bed, I reflect. From every conversation to every task I completed or did not complete. I try to unpack it and learn ways I could’ve done things differently and how I can improve and be better for the next day. I know some people may say I am being hard on myself or that’s a bit intense, I really don’t think so. I’m just honest with myself and I am really never even striving for perfection to be honest. It’s all about progression. I think of this as me journaling but in my mind. When I reflect I am able to move on and not focus on the past. 

Forgiving is very important to me, and doesn’t mean that you have to be best friends with someone- it just allows you to move on and not hold any ill feelings towards someone. Being mad at someone takes up a lot of real estate in your head and it can be a distraction.

How do you think practicing self care has helped you improve your mental health?

Practicing self care has helped improve my mental health tremendously and I owe that to praying, reflecting, and forgiving. Of course there are other things like working out, grooming yourself, etc because when you look good you feel good. But prayer, reflecting, and forgiving has taught me the importance of patience, progression, and love. You have to embrace the season you’re in and keep marching. I’m a big believer in God and those 3 things he talks about in the word a lot. Prayer cleanses your soul, reflecting helps you understand and improve, and forgiving releases any animosity from your heart.

Nnamdi is also in the process on launching his own social media app centered around mental wellness- a2i. Keep up with his journey by subscribing to the newsletter here!

Keep up with Nnamdi by following his social platforms!

Dequan W.

22

Queens, NY

“Self care is taking care of yourself today so you’ll be in a better position tomorrow.”

What are a few ways that you practice self care?

I practice self care by just trying to make sure I’m doing great right now and setting myself up to be even better tomorrow.

When do you feel like you first understood the importance of self care?

I understood the importance of self care this year. I was in a bad state of mind, was struggling financially, and just felt lost in the world. I wanted better for myself so I decided to pour into myself more. I got a therapist so I can talk about my feelings, I gained multiple streams of income and worked on my ideas and they’re doing good so I’m happy about that. Everything changed when I decided that I wanted better, if I didn’t I’m not sure where I’d be or what I’d be doing.  

How do you incorporate self care into your daily routine?

I work on my goals daily, I’m a serial planner. I plan literally everything. I try to filter my social media intake so I’m only reading and watching things of value. I don’t mask my feelings or anything anymore, I 100% feel everything and try to navigate life through logic and emotion.

Dequan also has a food blog- Quanny Eats , as well as an online directory for black creatives in different areas- The Salient Network , be sure to check those out as well!

Keep up with Dequan and his brands by following their social platforms!

Osiris C.

23

Philadelphia, PA

“Self care is the best medicine.”

What are a few ways that you practice self care?

I eat healthy, workout/ yoga, avoiding negativity, the arts (coloring, painting, drawing, sewing), dancing, actively journaling, and taking care of my hair and skin as best as possible.

What does self care mean to you?

To me, self-care means taking the time, whether it be daily, weekly, monthly, etc. to do the things that bring you absolute joy and peace. Self-care can mean a lot of things for many people. Some find self-care in skin routines, for others it is meditation, and for some it’s simply blocking someone’s phone number to not have to deal with an individual who is bringing nothing but negativity into their life. We often get so wrapped up in everything going on in the world and are so distracted by social interactions and with what others are doing, that we forget to do things solely for ourselves. 

How do you think practicing self care has helped you improve your mental health?

It brings you peace of mind. Looking at just fitness for example, in my own personal experience, I used to be extremely insecure. I used to be very overweight, and was also closeted for most of my life. The combination of those two things alone distorted any type of self-love I had for myself for the longest time. I came out my junior year of college and that was a huge weight off of my shoulders, but the literal weight I carried around served as a constant reminder that I was not happy with my body. I’ve been an athlete my entire life and have always worked out, but for some reason I never was okay with how my body looked. It wasn’t until having to be in isolation during all of this COVID-19 mess that my views began to change. Prior to quarantine, much of my vigor towards “being healthy” and working out was geared at being this good-looking and fit person that I thought I needed to be based on society’s standards. Even as I’ve lost weight over the years, I still found every flaw possible and stuck with those flaws like white on rice. Which is not what being healthy should be about. It wasn’t until I was forced to be alone for months that I began to take my workouts and eating habits as something of self-care, and not something that was going to help me be this fit person I wanted to be in society.. I was like, well I can’t go anywhere, I can’t see anyone. Imma just do this for me. I began to go on social-media less, oftentimes deleting the apps off of my phone for days at a time, just to give myself the mental environment to focus solely on me. Slowly, my habits became less about others and only about me. And when that happened, I began to enjoy it more. I began to listen to my body more. I began to love my body more. And it was until May 9 (I wrote this date down on a sticky note and taped it to my bathroom mirror), almost two months of quarantining alone, that I looked into the mirror for the first time in my life and had absolutely nothing bad to say. I looked in the mirror, looked myself up and down and all around, and for the first time in my 23 years of life authentically loved the person that I saw reflected in the glass. Since that day, my entire mentality towards myself and life in general has changed. And the crazy part is, I don’t think my body is necessarily far off from where I was prior to covid-19, but it’s the fact that I dedicated so much energy to just caring for myself and loving myself that my own perception of myself began to change. I can truly say every last insecurity I have carried around for the past 23 years of my life went out the window on that day. 

Keep up with Osiris by following his social platforms!

Nuri A.

21

Long Island, NY

“Self care is key, everything starts from within.”

What are a few ways that you practice self care?

Reading for the mind, exercise and diet for the body, and meditation for the spirit. There are other little things but these four are the most crucial parts of my routine. 

As a black man- why do you feel that self care is important?

As a black men self care is important because trough these actions, whatever they may be, we become closer to ourselves. We as a community are not the children of slaves but the grand children of Kings and queens. I treat myself as such & everyday as I care for myself I inch closer to the royalty within, becoming the best version of myself.

How did you go about finding the best self care outlets for yourself?

To know what you need you must first know yourself. Self-evaluation was the tool that I used to find the outlets that work for me. 

When I’m not engaged I know that my mind can wonder. As a remedy for that I meditate to practice mindfulness, being in the moment. Self care is just the nurturing of the self. Know yourself & know your body, the rest will happen naturally

Keep up with Nuri by following his social platforms!

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