How to deal with Sadness as a man.

Sadness, and emotions in general and not something we discuss very often as men outside of tragic events. When someone passes or other tragedy strikes, we give a small window where it is acceptable to feel sad before you are expected to then go back to normal.

But sometimes things in your life, including that loss, compound time over and you find yourself sad. What’s worse is sometimes we don’t know what is causing our sadness and we instead act angry or stressed out, because we are, but also because are sad and don’t know how to deal with it.

Firstly, we as men and fathers, need to identify if we are aggravated or angry because of a trigger or stimulus, or is it that we are saddened about other things that we are just not able to express? We hold in all these emotions all the time to be the strong rock of our families. Sometimes shit just piles up and then you lash out, or snap at those around you and that you love. This is not what a Versatile Dad strives to be.

Once you can identify what’s wrong, you can then attack it head on. Talk to someone, your spouse, your buddies, even to a long dead pet or relative, just to get it out and off your chest and mind. If you need to have a quick cry, do so, but out of sight of your children, because masculinity still needs to be preserved and crying about an issue won’t fix it, but it can help offload that tension from suppressing it.

Then do active steps to make things better. Clear your mind by meditating and working out. Go outside and get sun and fresh air and doing a walking meditation or simply blank out your mind and live in the moment as you walk or watch nature. Readjust you’re focus into what will help and benefit you and yours, instead of living in the past. Never forget it, but don’t ponder on it as it’s over and all you have is the now. Look for happiness in knowing you can affect change and course of your life and by being strong, mentally calm, violent if need be, but also compassionate and caring as the world and day dictates. Well rounded is not just in your education and training but also in introspection and mental health.

Take care of yourself brothers, look for the good amongst even the darkest of darkness and you will find it. Reach out if you need help or just someone to talk to. Healthy activities and goals will help. Professional help can also not be understated, but it also starts with your own iron will.

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AFD

Martial Arts during lock down. Comparing the different options I have found. Ninja, Aikido, or JKD/ Krav Maga -Oh My!

By AFD

So for anyone who has read this blog for a while, you know that both authors are Dads who care about our families, like to train and workout, but also that we are both seasoned martial artists.

Both of us have trained together for 7 years. We training in Tiger Kenpo Aiki Jujutsu. I made it 2nd Kyu, B made 2ns degree black belt – Nidon. We are both also instructors in Contemporary Jeet Kune Do, under the curriculum by Paul Vunak, and his Progressive Fighting System. I have trained for a few years in Krav Maga, and recently have begun training in Aikido. Way different then my previous arts and training styles. Very traditional Japanese.

Why do I tell you all this? Simply to give me and B credit when we critique or are critical of different arts/styles and quality of instruction. Our instructors are some of the very best. From our local Sensei who was a state champ and led many winners in fighting and style competitions. To Vunak and his crew who have trained military units and special forces around the world.

So thanks to the current world situation and lock downs/ pandemic procedures most gyms/dojo’s/training centers are closed or limited in their reopening. I am also one to be cautious as my son still has a heart condition and I am not wanting to bring anything home (esp. COVID19) to get him sick. He has already been sick once since we brought him home and I felt terrible about that.

Where does that leave training? Well my dojo for Aikido is doing some classes online, but in an art based on energy and feel, that is a bit tough to train. I could go in person but until everyone besides me gets vaccinated, I don’t want to put my kid at risk. I also train Krav Maga there and that is even more hands on as we are heavy into grappling and BJJ.

That leaves online tutelage – either an online school with live classes in arts you can learn solo with striking, kicks, kata etc. or pre recorded lessons with drills and muscle memory exercises ( like much of our JKD training to supplement or remind of more complex movements taught at seminars etc.)

I have found 4 different opportunities that have worked out in some situations, and not as much as others.

4 Options:
1. Ninjutsu (Ninpo) martial Arts training online via a private web portal and training videos with interaction with other members during live web training and facebook groups.

2. Live stream of Ninjutsu and Japanese Jujutsu dojo classes that are live monitored and put up in a private facebook group to rewatch. Supplementary live class training outside once lockdown ends and weather gets warmed.

3. Live online video stream from a live Aikido class I could go attend in person. OR just attending said class in person – mentioned above.

4. Live Stream/Recorded live stream of JKD Concepts in an instructors group to train with B in person for the length of training )2 day seminar in this case). The was live with Q&A, weapons etc. B and I went to his house and spent houses watching the feed and training as if we were there in the seminar.

So – What did I Figure Out?
1 and 4 are good if you are a dedicated person and can create class like training sessions for yourself and/or can practice long without someone watching you… I had trouble with this – I need more structure and to have interaction.

2 and 4 were my best options.
The JKD with B and having a live training as well as being able to watch (and rewatch later) the live training and seeing others training helped keep us engaged and got in a good lesson and workout.
The Ninjutsu and Jujutsu online with the interactive Zoom class and the online private group with postings of the videos and other training materials to supplement was my favorite “pandemic”/Solo training option. Where I would have needed a partner imagination and or my freestanding weight bag helped add in the resistance and striking targets I needed.
The forms can be done like Kata and in most cases are preformed slowly at first and then accelerated later.
The break falls and kicking/striking from the break fall (Ukemi) are different then in Aikido and over all the class very much feels like a Shotokan Style Karate class.
I enjoy it and the welcoming and friendliness of the other group members is refreshing. With the option to train in person when things get nice and back to normal as well as having online training when not/ unable to it helps progress more quickly.
The ability to then go back and watch classes where you were involved lets you see your training issues and how to correct all under the eye of a dutiful Sensei.

I highly suggest making yourself harder to kill. I also suggest it as a means of defense for yourself but also you family. It’s a critical skill most people think they have but never test in a safe way.
Martial Arts especially is helpful when teaching your kids confidence and self control. Respect for an authority figure but also helping keep themselves safe, when you aren’t there.

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AFD

Brew Day – No-Boil Dry Irish Stout (Greyson’s Blarney Bitter Stout)

Hey all,
In honor of my son, and with St. Patrick’s Day rapidly approaching I have a quick Dry Irish Stout beer recipe that can be brewed and drank within 2 week ( with a force carb system) or a month without.

This recipe will be very close to a Guinness Foreign Stout clone. The dark malts and added mild hop flavor from the Bullion hops give a nice mellow bite to this Bitter Stout. If you have a nitrogen system I suggest you give it a go and see how it turns out, but its great on CO2.

Grain Bill, Hops & Extract:
2.5 lbs golden lite DME
12.5 oz Marris Otter
10oz Roast Barley
2.5oz Caraffa II
1.25oz Black Patent
1 pack W34/70 dry Lager Yeast
1oz Bullion Hops

I steeped all the grain with the DME and enough water to hit 2.5 gallons at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. I then removed the grain and whirlpooled the hops for 30 minutes before removing from heat and letting cool to room temperature (over night).

I transferred the wort to fermentation vessel and pitched the dry yeast. Kept at 70 degrees for 6 days before cold crashing and conditioning in a fridge (or outside -winter here) for 4 days.

I kegged and force carbonated overnight for 12 hours at 40 PSI before bumping the gas down to serving pressure of 12 psi.

The results are amazing. Creamy thick foam, complex flavor with notes of toffee, coffee, roasted break and a slight bitterness from the hops and dark grains.

Slainte folks!

Mmmm Greyson’s Blarney Stout… Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day 🍀🍀🍀☘️

The ageless athlete and mobility – What All Dad’s should know.

Simple Exercise, executed consistently will maximize longevity.

We all know that the healthy habits we can stick with are ones we will do and will benefit us most. Crash diets, workout programs and supplements may work in the short term, but if they are not sustainable they are not functional.

Strength, as we have previously discussed, is crucial in being able to move and live longer. But what we haven’t really discussed it mobility. Building muscle, staying strong helps increase testosterone and reduce fat as well as allow us to maintain more muscle mass as we age allowing us to keep moving and doing activities we love. However, if you do not train mobility – the ability to manipulate your muscles and joints in multiple planes of movement – is similar to being a robot. You may be big and strong but you won’t be able to wipe your ass or tie your shoes, and that will only get worse as you get older. That is not something you want.

This also impacts activities like playing with your kids/grandkids/etc. They have amazing range of movement, whereas I am betting you do not. I am guilty of letting myself get muscle bound by not stretching enough or just going into my lifts and only training those movements. Martial Arts will let you know quickly where you are not flexible enough and can help get you more bendy quickly, but can also get you hurt if you aren’t careful.

Yoga is a good option if you like that kind of stuff but I don’t. It’s too woowoo for me and not my style. Dynamic stretching would benefit many of us, but still can limit your range of motion. My suggestions then are – Taikokyu ( think stretching using a staff to assist you into really nice stretches and even self PT). Secondly I would say Mace exercise movements. Yes it looks funny but that with a good dynamic stretching program and foam rolling will unlock your tense shoulders, back and neck. The Taikokyu or Dynamic Stretching will open up hips, low back and legs.

I encourage you all to start doing something for just 15 minutes every day or two to help start loosing yourself up.

Lastly – meditation for 5 minutes a day, or even just quiet deep breathing where you clear your mind, will make your day of stress and tension drop away. It will help you dream better at night and will help you think more clearly during your awake hours.

Add these practices in to your programming, if you haven’t already, to see your performance everywhere else get better.

Stay Strong!

AFD 1*

Full Body fitness to support you while you carry your kids..or their stuff for them. Dad Life!

Hey All

It has been a hot second since we have had a chance to talk about the necessity for over all strength when dealing with your kids.

I know myself, I have let an injury and being a new Dad be an excuse to let my diet and exercise go out the window. Especially with a pandemic and no need to see other people.

That is not an excuse for the Dad Bod I was letting myself get. Too much beer/mead and sitting on my ass all day working or taking care of GAD (my son). I found that even with a herniated disk in my neck I could walk, I just chose not to. I had an excuse every time – Oh I am tired, my arm hurts, I didn’t sleep well, I’m so busy – What that was is me not owning the day, owning self, or my mental and physical well being.

I started getting weaker and not being able to hold my son as long before needing to transition him or sit him down on my lap. He was only 13 lbs and I couldn’t carry him more than 5 minutes. My back would hurt or my neck. It was because I was letting muscle atrophy by not using them. The same goes when I would carry him in his car carrier, or transport any of the crap you need when you go somewhere with a baby. I was getting weak and fat.

What did I do you ask to motivate myself and get back into shape? I had my wife tell me and be honest about how I looked. I wanted to be attractive to her and I wasn’t. I wanted to feel strong and confident, but I didn’t. I owned that I was being a lazy bitch and decided I needed to start working out again, and also get medical help with my neck injury.

8 weeks of not working out due to a herniated C5-6 in my neck led to nerve damage down my right arm. Physical Therapy twice weekly as well as Gabapentin helped me get back into the gym (my basement). I went back to 3 days a week, 3-5×5 reps of compound lifts, 3 times a week. I also did at home PT exercises. I limited myself to only 2-3 glasses of mead or wine a day and reduced all carbohydrate and sugar consumption to a minimum.

In 3 weeks I dropped 7 pounds. In the mirror you could see my gut getting smaller and my love handles going away. I was starting to feel stronger again even though all my weights had gone down.

Slowly but surely, I am almost back to my original weights. I do no cardio but I do stretch and meditate more. The big lifts – Squat, Bench, Deadlift, OHP and Weighted Pull Ups – have helped me rebuild functional strength carrying my son or his shit. It has helped and is continuing to help me bulletproof my body from the ravages that other poor lift choices and injuries try to impose upon you.

That all said here are the resources I used to change myself in a brief 2 month period that you too can implement and begin to see change.

Diet:
The Slow Carb Diet & The Drink Your Carbs Diet – Both the 4 hour body book and The Drink your Carbs Book are worth the read and will give you more insight into simple dieting that works.

Training:
Tactical Barbell & The Ageless Athlete. Simple & Sinister.
These 3 books will help you develop a daily routine (M-F) that will give you functional strength ( and size if you want it) while also giving you a condition program to keep your cardiovascular system operating well.

You can get Slow Carb Diet info here – 1 page cheat sheet
Everything else you can get on Amazon or somewhere else online.

Invest in yourself for you, and a longer healthier life with your family. Be the role model you want to be for your kids. Everyone knows Daddy is the strongest- now do what it takes to back that up.

AFD 1*

Brew Day – Cyser, Mead & Apple Cider Hybrid

2.5 gallon batch of Cyser – Mead Cider Hybrid

You will need our staple equipment of a fermentor, Airlock, Stir stick, 5lbs of Honey and 1 gallon of Organic Apple Juice and finally, yeast.

Process:
Add .5 gallons of water and 1 gallon of apple juice to fermentor.
Mix in your honey into the juice/water mixture.
Top off with warm water to the 2.5 gallon mark.
Pitch your yeast ( D-47, 2 packets)

Within a week, you should have a boozy mead/cider mix, taste each day after this point until you get to a sweetness level you want. About a week after that it should be a dry/tart Cyser.

You can now bottle and enjoy, add some sugar and bottle for 2 more weeks to bottle condition (make fizzy) or put right on keg and Force Carbonate (this is what I do).

Then Enjoy!

You can scale the above to a 5 Gallon recipe as well.

2021, vaccines, getting back to normal?

So we are almost 3 months into 2021 and the world is still a pretty screwy place. A new regime leading a puppet and now finally vaccines being distributed to get the world to a place of “herd immunity”.

Between older parents with co-morbidities and a new son with heart defects, this pandemic has led to the need for more isolation then my wife or I would have otherwise allowed. Feeling like prisoners in our home due to relatives and media hyped risks.

That all said – my wife and I are now vaccinated as are our parents. We are returning to going out to eat, visiting places and in time – a week or 2 – I will be returning to training martial arts in the dojo. Ninpo, Aikido and Krav Maga will be back and getting this last 5 lbs of lock-down fat off.

It is time for the world to return to normal. Fuck all this “new normal” shit. If we don’t go back out to be the social animals we are and experience the interactions and exchanges with others in our country and countries we won’t get as much joy and pleasure out of this life as we should.

More posts to come in 2021 – more brewing – more martial arts and more DAD life tips.

It’s time gentlemen to carpe drum and become the best partners and fathers we can be.

Naps are key

I have a 7 week old son.

He sleeps at max 3-4 hours at night. 60-90 minutes every 3 hours and then eats and plays. I am also working full time again, trying to help my wife feed/burp/change/play with my boy.

I am trying to limit my working hours to 10 a day. I am trying to not drink all my homebrew and trying to work out.

All with only 4-6 total hours of sleep a night.

I did not know the value of naps until I fell asleep on the floor playing with my son. His mother took a funny picture of it after she had picked him up.

I was less then amused.

Due to lack of sleep and recovery I have pinched a nerve in my neck and have been going to the Chiropractor every other day for some kind of relief to the shooting pain down my arm. Typing and using a mouse and gripping my coffee cup are painful activities. Feeding my son is brutal.

Take care of yourselves and grab recovery naps whenever you can. Learn from my mistakes.

I also tried brewing Sake ( Japanese alcohol). I will write a post about that soon.

1*

AFD

Brew Day 2: Peach Session Mead

Today I am writing about a recent brew I did that I bottled today. It tastes AWESOME. If you like Peach with just a touch of honey flavor on the back end, then you will love this mead.

Now I know its cinco de mayo and I will be enjoying a taco salad and cerveza later, but right now I need to express how great this mead is and would go well with some flan or Churros! Now to get on with how I brewed it –

I used a flavorful Peach Tea blend (2 bags) and 3 pounds of clover honey to create this spring/summer sipper in just 5 days. That’s right, just 5 days. Some people will say that is sacrilege, but anyone who has tried this mead will protest! I steeped the tea in 4 cups of water and let it sit till it was room temperature. I then added 3 pounds of honey and .5 oz of Wyeast nutrient into my (clean and sterilized) fermentor and mixed the hell out of the solution. I then added more water to get my final volume to 2.5 gallons. a final stir to make sure everything is all mixed together and a good amount of oxygen taken in, I pitch my D47 yeast (2 packs).

I let the wort ( un-fermented beer or mead/wine) ferment for 3 days at 68 degrees. On the 3rd day I sampled the mead and it was semi-dry, flavorful of peach and some vanilla and petulant ( slightly fizzy). It had a good aroma on it and hazy very hazy ( think Wheat Beer). I did a gravity reading and the mead was sitting at 6% AVB on the nose.

I decided I liked the ABV and flavor so much that I cold crashed the mead by placing in my fridge for 48 hours. Now some will argue that technically the mead was still fermenting and I could have gotten the ABV higher and had the mead clear more if I just has waited. Well screw that. I liked how it tastes, its at the alcohol level I want and it frees up a fermentor for another brew!

I bottled the mead this morning and have enjoyed it chilled with a splash of seltzer as well as straight in a highball glass over some ice. Its very reminiscent of peach tea and can be served similarly.

Training for busy guys, physically and mentally

Training is critical to keep skills up, strength and conditioning going, and to be honest a boost of endorphins to reduce stress and help you feel good. You could be training in strength, skill, martial arts, doesn’t matter; what does is finding time to get the most out of whatever it is you are doing. I personally train in the martial arts and strength/conditioning as a prior and current first responder. For me then with a full-time job, preparing for a new baby, helping my wife, and regular house hold chores, finding time for self care is something I have the schedule. Here are the tips and tricks I use.

Make training a Meeting with yourself you can not cancel. If you have it on your calendar, and you have it reserved, you will be more apt to show up. I schedule a 45-1 hr block daily immediately after work. This keeps me on a schedule and it also helps it become a habit, a decision you don’t have to think about.

Be efficient and effective so you aren’t wasting your time. Use the 80/20 principal here. 80 of your benefit will come from 20 of your actions. You can also think of this as the Minimum Effective Dose or MED. This is again, what is the minimalist amount of work/activity I need to do, to get the most out of the time I am putting in? This applies to Strength and conditioning, but also works for combatives/Martial Arts/ other skills training.

KISS – Keep it simple, stupid. Don’t make things more complicated then they need to be, because once you do that, you may make excuses to not do it because of the complexity you have injected into the skills training. This rule can apply to all areas of your life, reducing stress and limiting mental drain.

Pick a training type that fits into the above in any skill, and you will succeed. It will be small victories each day that will compound into big wins. Just like compounding interest on a loan, use these smaller sessions to achieve that victory everyday – so even if the rest of the day goes to hell, you accomplished this.

For Physical Training – get kettlebells and dumbbells. Barbells are even better and train full body 2-3 days a week. The bigger the movement like compound lifts ( Bench Press, Deadlift, Back Squat) the more bang for your buck. Use any of the 5×5/5×3, 531 programs out there, or my own choice of Tactical Barbell. I am in and out of the gym weight training in 35-45 minutes. I always have something in the tank when I need it. I am as strong as ever and its simple so I am not mentally drained about my lifts.

For Conditioning – using kettlebells and HIIT will get you smoked, breathing hard and soaked with sweat in as little as 15-20 minutes, 2-3 days a week. That’s all it takes to get into good shape or maintain your current build while handling the rest of your day and keeping you strong for a lifetime.

For Martial Arts/ Flexibility/Combatives/Skills Training – 15-20 minutes of mental focus and minimal space is needed. I run through imaginary attacks based on scenarios I have done in training or on the street. I do Aikido and Krav Maga so you have drills or Kata you can do to keep your mind sharp and ready. If you have a training partner, that’s even better. 10-15 of stretching, dynamic stretching or light yoga will keep you from being locked up and weak in your older years, extending your quality of life. Think of it as a long term investment in being able to do what you want for longer. Be that golfing, fishing, hiking to just being able to get out of your chair without help.

For mental training – 5 minutes, do box breathing from my previous posts, do a simple body scan, or install and use a free app like Calm. Everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Rogan, Tim Ferriss, to multi-millionaires do some type of mental training to keep them focused, calm and happier. 5 minutes can be used when you wake up to prepare for your day, while out for a walk, or as you are laying in bed at night before sleep. This is a large ROI right here.

So taking all of the above into totals:
Physical training + flexibility + mental training = 45-60 minutes a day.
Flexibility + Mental = 15 minutes a day
Skills work = 15- 20 minutes to any of the above.

That’s it. You don’t have to do it all every day. Just try to do something little everyday for those small victories to help supplement your life as a husband and father. Stay frosty.

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Keep Calm, Carry On, Breathe.

Hope Everyone had a good holiday weekend this past weekend. I know being separated from Family and friends can make these times seem even harder.

Between being under pseudo- house arrest, and continued social isolation, many fathers are finding it hard to balance the increase in home time where now, home is home, work is home, and in some, unemployment is home; how long will we have our home?

There has been a resurgence recently in the Mediations of Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism as a whole. While I personally do not promote stoicism outright, the concepts from Aurelius in regards to self-control and calmness are a way to overcome negative emotions. The concept of Logos or a form of logic that drives all things as “fate” is a bit too woowoo for me, but how the Stoics respond to such actions is more attractive.

Marcus Aurelius - Wikipedia
A marble bust of Marcus Aurelius at the Musée Saint-RaymondToulouse, France

Keep Calm, Carry On – This is my understanding of Stoicism: no matter how bad a situation or how good, how you choose to respond and look at a situation dictates how you ultimately fair in the event. It does you no good dwelling on how bad a situation is, how much pain you may feel, or how hopeless it may seem. All that does it keep you were you are, burning your most precious commodity, TIME, while not getting you back to a position where you can actualize change to better yourself or life for your family. Some may see it as putting on a brave face, or “fake it till you make it”, but it has been shown that how other see you respond to a situation, will directly impact how they react.

With all that said, being around you family all the time, dealing with a nagging spouse, kids, barking dog, coworkers on yet another obligatory “virtual” happy hour, or the new job search, just remember that this is an opportunity to enhance those relationships, engagement with your kids, grow your career with coworkers, or even a find a new, better position to help you find peace/ happiness with a new job. You need to identify what is bothering you, evaluate how you are responding to the situation and step back for a second. Calm your mind, look for some positives in what can or will be next, and act as if those things are already going to happen.

Finally, take a breath. It will help you with all of the above as well as give your brain and nervous system the resource it needs to help you make actionable that which you now are trying to execute.

In the words of Winston Churchill – ” If you are going through hell, KEEP GOING.” Only by going through will you get out!

Winston Churchill - Wikipedia
The Roaring Lion, a portrait by Yousuf Karsh at the Canadian Parliament, 30 December 1941.

Things to Do and Learn During Isolation This Easter/Passover (Keep Sane and Make Your Own Booze!)

Happy Friday All,

I know the coming weekend is a popular holiday with many of the world’s big 3 religions, Easter, Passover, Ramadan. It will be very different this year with the social lock down and stay at home orders. Just because you can’t go out doesn’t mean you still can’t celebrate with friends and family.

Thanks to the advent of different technologies you can Zoom/ Facebook Message or FaceTime your friends/families/parents/dog or cat/ goldfish(?). Regardless you can use this weekend and downtime to advance your skills that you can share with those people (and almost all of them over video chat). I am going to list some options below and then link out to other posts and sites I have either made or have found extremely helpful. Lists of ingredients/tools/materials needed are listed as well. So without further adieu:

Learn an instrument: I personally love playing the ukulele and have a few. You can find affordable starter soprano and tenor (bigger, lower tones, better for bigger hands) on Amazon, MusiciansFriend, and other sites. I personally love my Makala ukuleles with Nygut strings. Sites to help you learn basic chords with TONS of songs are out there but I love this site. This is also awesome as its a great starting point for your kids to get into other musical instruments such as guitar!,

Learn another Language: My wife and I love to travel. I lived abroad for many years and was exposed to many languages in Europe. Since my wife and I have started seeing each other we make it a point to go adventure! Now I know right now that’s not an option but that gives you more time to learn a language in as little as 5 minute a day playing games and listening to stories. https://www.duolingo.com/learn is a free resource that allows you to create a profile and go out an learn TONS of languages _FREE_. I have used this to teach myself German, which I used to navigate Munich,Germany, Austria and Switzerland! “Eins Mas, Bitte” ( a Mas (1L stein) of beer please!) I used it to help me remember my high school and college French and I have even started learning DANISH on there – Jeg Drikker Ol! (“I drink Beer”, remember start with the essentials). There is an app that you can download as well from Duolingo and can be installed on you iPad/phone/android devices. This is a great way to expose your children to another language and help educate them when online school meetings have lost their appeal.

Learn to make your own Alcohol: Beer, Wine, Mead – All use the same basic principals for fermenting sugar into alcohol. How they taste, the volumes, and the creativity in formulating recipes are all up to you!
I will add more posts in regards to wine and beer, but go online to find resources locally, such as local brew shops, who can provide you a vast knowledge of where and how to start brewing, but also to help you with any questions you may have. This also helps your local communities and the economy so do your civic duty and drink up. Personally I have been brewing only Mead (Honey Wine) recently. I do it many ways mixing in fruit or spices or Hops. I primarily make Mead in 2 styles, wine style ( 12-15% alcohol), or Session style (4-7% alcohol and carbonated like beer). You can get a decent Session mead from raw ingredients to something you can drink in as little as a week!

Dry Hopped Session Mead

The folks over at Groennfell Meadery in VT have great resources online to teach you how to make and trouble shoot your own meads at home, and the head Meadmaker Ricky, is a delight with his knowledge and awesome “Ask the Meadmaker” YouTube videos. https://www.groennfell.com/blog

Self care – Meditation: There are many apps out there that will give you guided meditations and many more videos on YouTube etc. to help. The simplest tool I have found to help anyone start is Box breathing. Here is how is goes:
1. Find a quiet area and sit comfortably or lay down and close your eyes.

2. Clear your mind and just focus on your breath, coming in, going out and how it feels in your head/chest/back then arms and legs.

3. Now just focus on the breath, inhale for a count of 4. Hold it in for a count of 4. slowly breath out for a count of 4. Hold you breath without air in your lungs for a count of 4. Then repeat inhalation instructions. Do this once or twice a day for 5-10 minutes. You will feel clear headed and calmer with lower levels of anxiety after.

This is a technique taught to first responder’s, Navy SEALs, Military and other professions of high stress situations. You do not even need to sit down and close your eyes but this activity helps calm the nervous system and is an essential *Life Hack* when things are just getting too intense.

Alright everyone – I hope you enjoyed these tips and advice. Much much more to come in the future around these topics and many more. The meditation/Breath technique will definitely help during this pandemic and being stuck at home. Thanks all for reading! Happy Easter/Oester/Passover!

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AFD

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