31 Days

Day 8

Create Your Own Self-Care Rituals

Words by Cory Ohlendorf

Earlier in this series, we dove into what makes a “modern gentleman” these days. The point was that while there are some enduring ideals of masculinity, the concept of being a good man is constantly changing with the times. And in a world that often dictates strict norms and expectations for men, the concept of self-care has historically been overshadowed, dismissed or even stigmatized. Thankfully, the tide is turning as a new generation of guys embraces the importance of nurturing their mental, physical and emotional well-being.

Men investing in self-care illustration

In this enlightening exploration, we dive into the significance of self-care and unveil the secrets of some exceptional and successful men who have made self-care an integral part of their lives. These are not just stylish men interested in looking their best—they're trailblazers and world travelers who understand that even the busiest man needs to take a beat, slow down and prioritize those things that bring some joy and peace into their life.

And no, it doesn't always involve lighting incense or aligning your chakras. Ensuring that you set aside some time to recharge your batteries doesn't make you a “softboi”. After all, self-care can mean a lot of different things to different people, but at its core it refers to anything you can do to make yourself feel good. It's an investment in your mind, body and spirit.



Ten Thousand Founder

Keith Nowak, Ten Thousand Founder

I've never been good at thinking about recovery or downtime as an important part of performance. My mindset had just been to work as hard as I could until I physically needed a break, which most often came as a weekend of sitting around the house. But over the last few years, I've had to learn to balance running Ten Thousand as a way more complex and larger company, being there and present for my daughter and my wife, and keeping myself fit and healthy, which requires a lot more work now that I'm over 40. Making this all work together required a new perspective: I have to be able to perform at a high level over a long period of time and across a lot of different areas.

I now think about work and life performance as a long continuous effort rather than a series of all out sprints. The only way this made sense to me was to build my life into a very structured routine. To quote Jocko Willink here, 'Discipline equals freedom.' With a disciplined routine, I'm free to put everything I have into whatever I'm doing at the moment because I know that in the course of the day, week or month, everything—including recovery and recharge—will be accomplished. During the week this is easy: up early to workout, a few minutes with my daughter before commuting to work, at the office from 8:30 to 7, home by 8:30 for a quick dinner and in bed by 9:30. Commuting has been great for a routine because it's a fixed schedule I need to adhere to and because it creates two hours a day of non-training 'me time' that I can use to read, listen to a podcast, or just chill out and decompress. Weekends are harder to follow a routine, especially with a three year old running around, but my wife and I come up with a plan every Thursday night that makes sure we both get time to work out, be together as a couple and get time separately with our daughter, while also checking off all the random stuff that has to get done around the house. This isn't all that insightful or clever, but a disciplined routine has been the unlock for me that's provided the time and energy to be the leader I want to be at work, the father and husband I want to be at home, and the person I want to be in general.”


Huckberry Co-Founder

Andy Forch, Huckberry Co-Founder

I began my career as an investment banking analyst and have been an entrepreneur for the last decade, so I'm still on the journey of defining what self-care means to me. But if I had to sum it up, Laird Hamilton's 'wheel of life' metaphor comes to mind; essentially, each one of us individually is the hub and the spokes are things like physical health, mental health, career success, family, friendships/community, etc. The wheel is at its strongest when all of the spokes are strong. You can roll for a while when one of them is damaged and broken, but at some point you'll sputter out. Whenever I'm feeling out of sorts, I try to take a step back and see where I need to invest some time. Because sometimes you need to slow down to speed up.”


We're aware of our relation to other people any time we're holding our phone. That can't be a good thing, can it? My idea of self-care is for going to a matinee of a very long movie by myself or reading a novel that's a hundred years old (with your phone across the room). It's harder to slow down and do anything that's not measured by a productivity metric. Art for its own sake is a rare pleasure. And if anybody asks you where you're going tell them you're meeting with your estate lawyer.”


Art Director

Ruben Hughes, Art Director

For me, self-care means saying 'no' more often. As a creative, I can often see myself one way or the other in a project that comes to my door, but it can also bring unintentional stress. I'm thankful for having the opportunity to say no and focus on what brings me happiness and balance, especially when I need it. The list keeps going on, but I recharge by connecting with loved ones, going on long walks with my dachshund (dog therapy is a real thing), journaling and listening to music.”


Jack Henry Founder

Kyle Bardouche, Jack Henry Founder

Self-care is a deep personal desire of mine. I've come to need it for mental wellbeing and resilience. And recently, I've discovered that my needs are pretty simple and minimal. I have been focusing on the basics: Breathwork, walking and yoga. When I want to indulge a vice, I'll incorporate some infrared sauna and cryotherapy. I'm completely obsessed with the Open app for my daily breathwork and meditation. It's a great way to get into it and maintain a practice.”

Wise Words

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.

- Author and psychiatrist
Jean Shinoda Bolen