Whether you're the gregarious, life and soul of the party type or more of a wallflower, we all enjoy some alone time. Not all the time - life would get pretty dull without people to share it with. But every once in awhile, it's nice to clear your head, take a bit of time to breathe. Studies show that we all benefit from a bit of peace and quiet. Also, let's be honest, our significant others probably benefit from a bit of a break from us, too!
This has led to the invention, in recent years, of the "man cave". In fairness, it's the term that has been invented more than the concept. Men have always had their little spots to get away to. The study, the shed or, in some cases, the pub.
But the man cave is subtly different. It introduces the aspect of cosiness. Not the kind of cosiness that involves hanging out with family - the Danish idea of "hygge" isn't really a man cave thing. It's more of a comfortable nook to be alone with your thoughts.
Any man who is familiar with the feeling of walking into a room and wondering what they went in there for - which is all of us - will be sure of one thing. You don't want to get all settled down in your cave and then remember you wanted to bring something in with you. So it's important to make sure your space is set up correctly. If you want to take an hour to relax, make sure the whole hour is relaxation.
Something To Drink, Sir?
If you want to relax, then one thing that will make it easier is a drink. No, I don't mean an alcoholic drink, although one can help if that's what you enjoy. Just the mere act of sipping any drink can allow you to unwind. So your man cave should be well stocked with options to make that easier. A kettle or a coffee machine is pretty much essential - for tea, coffee or something a little more opulent like hot chocolate.
Cold drinks, too, are good to have around. A mini fridge, well stocked with bottled water, soft drinks and fruit juice is a worthwhile investment. You can, of course, fill it with beer if that's your preference. If you prefer, a bottle of something a bit stronger is an option too. Then you can indulge in the TV trope of retiring to your study with a glass of scotch, like all unwinding high-powered executives.
The Personal Touches
When you share a bedroom, it's a bit of a childish move to make the room all about you. Yes, we all have our favourite football teams and movies, but posters in a shared room feel a little bit territorial, don’t you think? So the perfect place for those little touches is in the man cave. If you're a travel buff, try a map of the world with pins in to show where you've been. And other pins to show where you want to go.
Film posters, a collage of beer labels, even a guitar - it depends on what you feel makes the room "yours", but all are decent options. And the man cave is also the place for gadgets, books, and those guy touches. If you're a gamer, it's an ideal location for a console. Your degree certificate can have pride of place. And even the little touches like a man mug or shot glasses make it feel more like a nook just for you.
Feel Like A Quick Power Nap?
During the course of a day, the human body goes through spells of pure wired energy and, conversely, feeling knackered. Studies show that excessive sleeping during the day is generally bad for you. It makes it less likely you'll sleep well at night. But 15-30 minutes of shuteye can have a restorative effect if you deploy it correctly. Once, or at most twice, a day is enough. Too many half-hours add up to hours.
Equipping the room with a recliner, or even a futon or daybed, can make it the perfect place to grab some rest if you're working from home. If you find yourself staring at a page and not being able to take anything in, take a quick nap and have a look at it again when you come out. Just don't let your man cave become your bedroom. Don't be that guy.
If you live with your significant other and/or kids or family, then many of your best moments will be spent watching TV together. But then, there are always things you want to watch which they don't. Watching Strictly or the X Factor with the family is a nice evening in. But subjecting them to your favourite documentaries or a Fawlty Towers box set might not win favour with everyone.
Set yourself up with a TV and Blu Ray player - or just as many streaming services as you can justify. You can then have a place to excuse yourself to when you want to watch something for yourself. Don't make it an everyday thing - but if you can't talk everyone into watching Anchorman for the twelfth time, you have the option.
And Finally, Don't Make It TOO Cosy
There's having alone time, and there's being anti-social. So bear in mind that the man cave shouldn't be surrounded by a forcefield. It shouldn't be a place you go at the merest excuse. Alone time is great, but remember that there's a world outside it.
Sometimes, that world will want to come in, too. Whether it's your significant other or a friend or two, that cosy space can be nice to share every once in awhile. A rug on the floor or a second chair will stop it from becoming known as "the tantrum room" or "where Daddy lives now".
With enough of the right stuff, a man cave can be the perfect refuge and a place to do your best thinking. So take the time to think about what it needs, and get it right.