In our culture, we often talk about self-care as if it’s only for women. But it’s just as important for men to prioritize their physical and mental health. Listen to our interview with Chris Myers, an architect and the father of two young kids, about a guy’s experience with self-care.
Listener Feedback & Announcements
In previous episodes, we talked about getting gray hairs and how we want to make “silver fox” a thing for women, too. Like a silver lady fox?
Sierra messaged us: “Silver vixen! We should definitely introduce that to the lexicon…” Yes! Brilliant! We forgot that a vixen is an actual animal… a female fox, in fact. Thank you, Sierra. We are already adopting this.
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Self-Care Is Not Just For Women
We started thinking about this episode’s topic when our friend and Semi-Together listener, Chris Myers, sent us this DM: “I really love the podcast. It’s good to know that I’m not alone in my thoughts and anxiety.” He said he wishes more men talked about self-care.
This made us realize how much the self-care and personal development industries are geared toward women, and how men need those practices just as much as women do. We were excited to bring Chris on the show to talk about a guy’s experience with self-care.
Melia met Chris when she moved to Jackson 10 years ago. He’s a natural connector who brings people together (and Gill has been lucky to get to know him through Melia over the years).
Chris has made Jackson and Mississippi as a whole better in more ways than we have time to name – from serving on the City of Jackson Planning Board to spreading awareness of a once obscure Jackson flag to inspire city pride, to his work at the CDFL architecture firm in Jackson for the last 18 years.
As a principal at CDFL, he was one of the lead architects on the Mississippi Museums, which educate people about the state’s complex history and have attracted international attention. Chris lives in Jackson with his wife, Rachel, and his kids, Eli, 4, and Aviva, 6 months.
Chris shares great insights on how he manages anxiety, fits habits like meditation into his day, and is intentional about spending time with people he cares about. He says his anxiety hit its peak three years ago, when he was about to turn 40, he and Rachel had a new baby, and he was taking on a lot of responsibility at work. He would find himself feeling overwhelmed, mind racing, body shutting down, unable to move forward on the next task.
From the outside, Melia said it looked like Chris had it all together: he was one half of a power couple directing major projects and organizations, while also hosting community events and parenting an adorable kid. But it’s a reminder that we don’t really know what other people are dealing with – even if their lives seem perfect on social media.
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The cute family photos don’t always tell the full story. For the second time in a week, Rachel and I were up most of the night with an unhappy Aviva, making a hot Sunday that much more miserable. Add to that a 4 year-old who needed to get out of the house (but napped four hours late and had a meltdown at Whole Foods- see photo)and you’ve got a pretty exhausting day. And just in time for another unrelenting week at work. Nothing more to say here except that if we ever make this look easy, I apologize. It most definitely is not. Sincerely, a tired Myers family.
Chris realized he couldn’t continue feeling this way, so he made a few significant changes in his life:
- Getting up earlier to go for a walk or meditate
- Occasionally going to a yoga class
- Cutting back on caffeine
- Making a conscious decision to leave work at work
- Starting regular therapy with a focus on mindfulness
Chris talks about how important it is for men to deal with their own emotional health: “If you’re going to the airport, you wouldn’t expect your spouse to carry all of your luggage while you moseyed in empty-handed. The same should be true for your emotional baggage. It’s not that we have to hold it all inside and deal with ourselves, but it’s our problem to solve, not someone else’s.”
Steal This Tip
Chris shares his advice for fostering strong social connections: Figure out ways to spend time with people you like. It can be lunch or breakfast or a quick meetup at a bar after the kids are asleep. Even if it’s 30 minutes, the energy gained by spending time with a friend is immeasurable.
Thank you so much for joining us, Chris! We loved talking to you, and we hope this conversation helps others see self-care as something for everyone.
Get It Together / Got It Together
We each share something that’s going well for us at the moment, and something else that we’d like to work on.
Gill’s Get It Together: Not planning a Barcelona friends’ meetup for the summer
Gill’s Got It Together: Starting to pack for a trip a week in advance
Melia Get It Together: Being reactive with the kids and yelling
Melia Got It Together: Keeping up with the dishes instead of letting them pile up
Get In Touch
How do you think self-care can become a universal practice instead of something that’s seen as just for women? Share this episode with a guy in your life to open the conversation, and share anything that came to mind as you were listening. Email us at podcast[at]semitogether.com, or send us a voice memo. Leave a comment on our latest Instagram post at @semitogether or tweet at us: Gill is at @traveling2taste and Melia is at @meliadicker.
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