While grief styles may shift for both men and women, exploring our own style of grieving can provide insight into how we as individuals need to work through the messy part and feel supported. How we care for ourselves as grievers can also give focus and attention to what we need to do for self-care.
Strong feelings of grief can collide or even coincide with our own ideas of masculinity or femininity. Roy Ellis (www.royfellis.com) is a therapist, author and speaker who makes his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Roy points out that men and boys are predominantly taught from an early age not to “identify with their softer and vulnerable sides.” That may mean hiding their grief, and it also makes it hard to talk or think about self-care and what might be helpful in their healing.
The majority of men, Roy says, are instrumental grievers. “That means we tend to be practical; we tend to use our energy to express our grief and mourning through things that we do, not how we’re being and feeling.”

That grieving style may point the way to some healthy self-care techniques. Time in nature – perhaps walking or biking, hobbies, sports and fitness can all be good self-care activities, if they’re tackled with an eye to healing and wellness. It’s especially important for men to engage with others – which may be the exact opposite of what they’re inclined to do when dealing with grief or loss due to work-related injury, illness or a fatality.

For each individual, no matter their gender, self-care may look a little different. Start by making it a research project to learn a bit more about self-care and figure out what works best for you. Here are a couple of resources, specifically for men, to set you on your way:

Psychology Today: Five Self-Care Ideas for the Modern Man

The Manual: Complete Guide to Self-Care for Men

Roy Ellis

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