BURN OUT

I am burned out. I am burned out from work, from training, from working out, from life’s ever continuous stresses. Combined I am beyond burned out. 

I do not have a vacation scheduled till summer. I do not have enough PTO to “take a day”, because of needing to use my free PTO to attend to my sick child when he was admitted to the hospital.
I do not get enough sleep a lot of nights, because I am attending to work emails or trying, TRYING, to find spiritual answers and Martial Arts instruction or learn from my teachers on my own. I spend hours doing stressful things for my job, growing ever more taxing and demanding.

I try to work out daily, either cardio from walking or kettlebells to help balance and PT injuries from years of lifting heavy weights.
Thanks to inadequate sleep, elevated stress, and recovering injuries, I am not losing weight like I want, leading to more estrogen and cortisol in my system.

This is a negative feedback loop, keeping me tired and fatter then I like and should be. I try to dedicate time to being a good and attentive father and husband, yet work and house needs keep me from being as present as I want to be.

I AM BURNED OUT.

SO – how do we fix this?

I am going about it this way:

Taikokyu – Mind Body Breath – Daily. I am stretching and meditating and breathing. Working my body’s musculoskeletal systems and organs. Focusing and clearing the mind of RELAXING .

Kettlebell workout 3 days a week – Complexes of sets and reps for time. Hitting all the major muscle groups, increasing strength, endurance and hyper trophy 25-30 minutes a day.

Ninpo/Aikido – I will train aikido 1.5 hours once a week, and I learn and read and practice basics of ninpo 10-30 minutes daily. Even if it is just kata for ichimonji no kata. I will also mentally drill Gyokko Ryu and Wing Chun/ JKD. I may consider even returning to Krav Maga once a week to keep my skills sharp against real opponents.

Be Present – I try to spend as much time as I can daily with my son while he is awake. Not always not stressful, but being there and experiencing him makes me happier and my heart fuller then I would have thought. I then spend evenings with my wife, even if its just spending time in the same room together, not doing the same activities, we get to unwind and talk.

Daily I try to be a “good” – fill in the blank for you, whatever that means. I think being rounded and trying to enjoy the here and now and continually try to better oneself is the core essence of growth.


This is how I intend to fix burnout. A few beers with friends and a trip to the shore doesn’t hurt either, but those are not as frequent as I need. I need to refocus on my Budo, my why, and also grow, be confident, and stop this constant struggle. Embrace the stresses, alleviate what you can, and proactively work on you. A stronger you is an anti-fragile you.

Using Travel to Reconnect

So as many of you know, and for those who do not, my wife and I love to travel. I lived abroad for almost 10 years in the UK and experienced many countries and cultures growing up. Since meeting my spouse I have tried to share that with her, and she has become addicted to it.

For us, its not just saying we went somewhere and saw something. We do it for the experiences. Bavaria, Germany and Austria are where my soul feels at home sometimes and I long to go back. Ireland and Northern Europe, my ancestral routes. Italy, where a quarter of my heritage originated, Iceland – where I experienced a spiritual awakening and connection with the earth that I must return to.

With everything opening back up due to COVID ending as WW3 begins, my wife and I thought against Europe, but are instead going on another adventure trip, this time to Alaska. MG and his wife will be joining us as we head into the great white north to experience arctic terrain again with unprecedented beauty.

What I find when we travel though, is my wife and I reconnect and enjoy being together again. Our normal issues from day to day life seem to fall away and we have that spark and excitement again. It lets us experience new things together that we can think back on in the future. To identify more and more different things we like to do, and experience all our lives have to offer us.

Now am I saying this is a panacea to all of marriages/relationship woes? No. But if you and your partner can connect and reestablish healthy activities together, experience new things together, work and forge that commitment again, together – you are going to find you are probably happier together as well.

Now I am not saying book a trip to Europe and all will be fine. A lot of people can’t afford that or Alaska, but you can afford camping, maybe staying with friends in other states, or hitting up motels along classic Route 66. Either way, you can find ways to affordably see things you never have before, even in your own country. Do not let life slip you by, the world is too big and beautiful with great peoples and cultures to only stay one place.

Go live life, reconnect with your honey, and enjoy what time you have!

Heck one day … maybe you even take the kids!

AFD 1 *

Getting leaner and lighter without giving up pizza ( or other food you love)

Do you want to eat foods you love but also lose weight at the same time?

It is easier then you think. Now, you can’t eat all the stuff you love at every meal in any quantity you want, but you can strategically do it without counting calories.

Make 2 out of your 3 ( if you choose to eat 3) meals a day healthier and lower calorie meals. How do you do that? Follow steps below:

Breakfast –
NO CEREAL ( looking at you fruity pebbles). These cereals are high in sugar and though they are fortied with vitamins and minerals, they over all don’t fill you up. Eat a protein like eggs, egg whites, sausage, ham, Scrapple. Eggs are a solid choice and you can add light cheese if you like. Avoid bacon and other higher fat meats – fat has more calories then protein or carbs. Try to have a good grain if you like having toast, whole grain or ancient grain breads with a jam or jelly. If going that route, use one with no added sugar.

Lunch –
Same theory as breakfast: Have a protein source, a good carb ( veggies – raw or cooked (steamed/baked), potato, sweet potato. Avoid adding tons of butter to everything, instead use and cook in olive oil. Add in some other heathy fats like avocado. Protein sources should be lean cuts of beef, pork, turkey, chicken, tofu, fish. Avoid sauces that are fat heavy. This doesn’t mean no fat, but pick better fats.

Dinner –
Eat what you like. Just keep the same ideas above. Do this most of the week. We are going for 60-70% adherence here.

Alcohol –
This is NOT a carb. Drinks can have carbs in them as drinks come from the fermentation of fruits and grains (wine and beer). The drier a beer or wine the less sugar (Carbs), but the alcohol is itself its own macronutrient.
What you need to remember here is that Liquor (vodka etc) is a grain alcohol that has been distilled and has no sugar left in it. Due to this fact, its got less calories than all other types of drinks.
So with that information, when drinking remember to drink lighter calories drinks like vodka soda, light beers, dry wines and avoid anything with added mixers ( soda, sugary mixes, etc.).

If you are going to drink, restrict it to 2 drinks daily, as alcohol slows or stops your body from burning other foods for energy and prioritizes the alcohol, because your body sees it as a poison and wants to get it out. Drink in the evening so your body has burned food and body fat all day for energy, then when you drink, it won’t affect your diet. Remember also – heavy alcohol consumption is bad for your liver and sleep and recovery and, well you fucking get it lol.


You don’t need a cheat day on this diet because as long as you follow the above most of the time, you can have a burger here, pizza there.

If you follow this way of eating you will lose weight.

Now – you won’t be skinny as a reed on this diet, but it will allow you to keep your weight down and if you are overweight it will help the pounds initially fall off. You will at some point get to a plateau where you will not lose any more weight. That’s because the amount of food you are eating possess enough calories that you no longer are eating in a deficit. To help you could: workout, eat less “bad” foods ( looking at you deep fried anything in sauces), or simply eat smaller food portions.

Here is the real secret: Workout by lifting weights 3 days a week, walk instead of driving (if you can), go for a walk 2-3 days a week, and use the stairs (not elevator). You do this AND eat mostly like above – You will see dramatic changes in your body and how you feel.

Thanks everyone – more posts like this and around weight lifting and engaging your kids to come.

1*

AFD

How to be a better father in 3 easy steps

Hope cliche is that title? In actuality its many many tiny steps every day, but we can sum them up into 3 broad ranging categories.

1. Be there and be aware –
When you are with your children, be there. Not just physically being there, but mentally engaged as well. Interact with them, ask questions, ask how they are doing, engage with them. Play with them. This will build good memories for the both of you, as well as allow you to have a more personal relationship. Think about what it is they are doing and saying, this will help you feel more connected and not regret later on in life.

2. Put down the phone
This seems pretty straightforward after our last point, but giving a phone or device to your kids to entertain them if not helping them develop. You have regressed socially thanks to your device, it is doing the same to them as well as creating a potential addiction. Studies are showing the degenerative effects these technologies have on our kids development as well as exacerbating things like ADD and ADHD. You have probably noticed it yourself, not being able to stay on track with a thought, or engaged in an activity without mindlessly looking at your phone. Put It Down.

3. Talk to them and think about them
Let you kids know you love them, you are thinking about them and are proud/sad/happy, whatever. This allows your child to know it’s ok to have emotions and that its safe to share them with you. You by communicating are leading by example. Now this isn’t a psychological cure all, but it will help. Plus, who doesn’t like hearing their parents tell them they love them, are proud of them, miss them, and are going through the same emotions we all go through, but don’t always vocalize. — This works great with your partner too, who would have guessed?!

Well gents, that’s all for now. Meditate on this and be proactive in executing the above. It will help make you happier and help your kids develop.

AFD

Live in the NOW – you won’t regret it!

We here all to often to not worry about the future or to wallow in the past. For many of us it seems unlikely we can focus on the “now”, this present time and what we are doing.

We all know that we should live in the now, experience our kids growing, bonding and spending time with our spouses, yet we waste the now thinking about the future and or the past. We don’t enjoy the now as we should, instead attributing excitement and joy to some point in the future, a future that may never come.

I know it is easy to say “live in the now”, but doing it is quite different within our society. I am guilty of it as anyone else. I will be sitting there thinking about my work day ahead or what will need to happen to go to somewhere in the future instead of observing and engaging with my son, watching him as he develops language and eats his breakfast. Making funny faces and learning as he plays with his toys or even when I wish he could just talk instead of use the 30 or so works he has now and how adorable it is

I think back to when he was an infant and how I was impatient for when he was awake more or doing more things. Now I miss the time spent feeding him his bottle or figuring out how to use his hands and how to roll over. I miss those times because I was thinking about the future, and I am missing the now and feeling bad, because I am focusing too much on the past. I remember a line from Kung-Fu panda from the old Turtle master Oogway that sums this up.
“ Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called a present.”

Enjoy the now because it is all you have and will give you memories in the future when you watch your family in different ways.
Be ever present in the present, get off your phone and enjoy your real life, in the now, because this is all you get.

AFD 1*

Introductions are in Order

Let’s get things rolling shall we? First things first, I’m Matt – here on after known as Griff or MG on here. I’m 34 and live in NE New Jersey. I’m a Penn State Grad, (class of ‘09), an avid sports fan – Yankees, NY Giants, NY Rangers and all things Penn State. I also have a love of the outdoors. I’ve been fishing and hunting since I was young and I’ve been snowboarding for the better part of the last 10 years. More recently I have developed a love for home brewing. Most importantly of all, this past June I became a father to an amazing little boy. Hopefully I’ll be bringing you all some amuzing observations, some helpful tricks and insights along with my humorous, whimsical and sometimes warped point of view on the world around me. I’m excited to join BPD and AFD here at The Versatile Dad. Until Next time.

Have a Good One,

MG

New Writer Incoming

Hey all

Happy 2022 – or you know 2020 part 3.
We have a new father coming on board to contribute to the site and bring in a fresh set of eyes as BPD and I have been up to ours in diapers!

MG is the new contributor and is also a new father. We share a love off Brewing, Sports and Fishing. We are friends and alumni of the same University ( WE ARE.. PENN STATE) as myself and BPD.

New stuff coming down the pike at you fast and hard for 2022.

Till then Keep Frosty

1*

AFD

Pets and letting go.

Hey all – I know it has been a bit since our last blog article but had a lot of stuff going on and well, as the title gives away, its about our pets.

My wife and I have 3 cats, yes I know that is a lot. They are all close in age 11-12-13 yrs respective. One day last week our smallest boy ( and youngest cat) threw up and then became lethargic and very much not himself. A trip to the 24 hour emergency vet brought the finding of an abdominal mass and subsequent testing confirmed a highly aggressive, malignant tumor. He has months, not years, the Veterinary Oncologist informed my wife and I.

I knew the older cat would be going soon as She is getting up there in years. Never ever would I have expected this from the baby. He still acts like a kitten and looks it too.

We did his first round of Chemo today and he is doing well. 1 shot a month and then a pill every 2 weeks with steroids daily to hopefully get him in to remission.

Eventually though we will have to make the decision to say good bye when quality of life is no longer available to him. We do not want to make the decision, but we also do not want him to suffer. Losing a pet that you have know almost their whole life, who are like children to you, is a heartbreaking thing. Having to choose the hour of their last, makes it even worse.

My wife and I know we will have to do it sooner then we ever thought, and neither of us is emotionally ready to not have that little character here. He was the best cat – almost like a dog and great with our infant, now toddler, son.

I will miss him, as I miss all my other pets that have gone before. I truly hope that when they cross the rainbow bridge they play and have fun until its time for our spirits to reunite again.

I love you JoePaw. Let’s have a hell of a time together before its over. Then I will see you again one day. My best boy.

1*
AFD

Changes are a-coming

Change. It is inevitable. The better we can accommodate and change to it, the better off and happier we will be. Or so that’s what the research says.

I have lived through much change. From the simple times of childhood in the 80s and 90s through my teens and 20s in the early 00s and 10s. I have lived abroad and traveled a lot. In that time life changes as I grew and matured were awkward but expected.

What changed and wasn’t expected was going to high school and watching the Twin Towers come down in NYC due to a terrorist attack.
What wasn’t expected was a second armed conflict in Iraq, or worst, the continued GWOT (Global War on Terror) in Afghanistan. Now, 20 years on from that September morning in 2001, The world, our adversaries and their capabilities are a lot different from the 80s and 90s.
Back then there was no “extreme” left or right wingers. If there was, most people identified them as almost radical. Today, trying to find a moderate if like trying to find a ride out of Kabul Airport.
Our enemies were known – Communism, Fascism, Genocide, the destruction of American morals and normalcy.

The world has made great strides and progress – American too – for LBGTQ and equal marriage as well as coming together to fight a pandemic – be it from a virus, or the corrupt tyrants who shut down states, economies, and ruined small business peoples lives.

Now we face another change – The world after Afghanistan falls. Will it be like when Taliban took over in ‘96? Now better equipped with US hardware and weapon systems – will it be even worse for that population and expanded global terror is Asia, Africa, and then advance to the EU and US?

I don’t know.

What I do know – I will do what I can to make this the best world possible for my child(ren?). My co-author on this site is expecting his 4th in a few days and I can not wait to meet them. That said , we must accept these changes and be the agents of change we wish to see in this world. It’s what drove my into Law Enforcement and now into medicine and working as a volunteer with the local fire company and my Masonic Lodge.

Thoughts to ponder and a final quote:

If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace” – Thomas Paine.

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Spirit – being more than yourself.

What is spirit? What is having spirituality? I don’t mean having religion, though for some those two thought processes go hand in hand.

What I am referring to is, as a father, believing in something bigger then yourself to help guide you, your intuition in situations, and having a comfort in something greater.

I know – this is sounding a little woowoo – but if you take all religion out of the picture and think to even a cosmic consciousness existing, and having a supreme consciousness or architect, then you know when you say to yourself and the universe, please let my kid be ok, please let me be a strong husband and father for my family, that something is listening. Be it Karma, or elemental atoms – something is there.

When you bring in theology things get more complicated as there are dogmas and taboos that are VERBOTEN. I think we all have a moral compass and as long as we try to be good, strong people, and teach our kids how to be compassionate, strong, independent people. There is not much more we can ask for.

Regardless of what you believe, having some spirituality will help you be a better version of you, which in turn will make your kids better people too. Have faith in that.

AFD 1*

Minimalism in all things for a Happy Life

When you read that title, I am sure its a natural response to think “ yea, ok, you have no idea how complex X is”…
And you are probably 100% correct. What I am suggesting though is taking all aspects of your life, and see what you can do to the most minimum aspect to remove the added stress and /or work.

For example – work – you have to do your job and only you know what you have to do, but are their areas where to optimize your day you remove tasks that aren’t needed? A meeting that’s very general with no agenda? Ask for an agenda otherwise put yourself as optional for the meeting – if someone can’t express why they need a meeting then it doesn’t need your time. It should probably be an email and not a time suck meeting.
Let’s use a home life example: working out to stay fit and strong. You know I have told before about Minimum Effective Dose to stimulate outcomes such as strength, size and fat loss. You could use a whole commercial gym OR you could use a simple barbell OR even more efficient? Kettlebells/ T-bars. For most men a 50 lb kettlebell or sandbag with a hand that you can do swings with, will make you strong, lean and throw size on you. You can work full body, cardio, and strength all at once in a tool that occupies very little space.

As you can see its just about reduction of the complex. If you can find these areas of opportunity in y our life – work, personal, and family, you will have extra time, less stress and be able to appreciate how much LIFE/TIME you wasted on non-necessary things.

I have been applying this and find I am less stressed, which means more pleasant to my wife and son, which means better relationships and fulfillment as a husband and father. When you are happier it is contagious to others.

We want to be healthy, manly, and intelligent fathers and husbands. Toxic masculinity is not a thing, a lack of masculinity is leading to weaker men, a polluted society, and children without good role models.
This is what the greatest generation had and we need to reclaim that.
This will practice will help. It’s why your grandparents and great grandparents don’t see the need for our many new inventions/toys/etc.

Stay Frosty and kill it.

AFD 1*

De-clutter your device, sharpen your mind & be happy

Social Media can be a great thing. It allows us to communicate with friends and like minded people, collect news stories, follow awesome Blogs like this one, and also follow other products and people. What it also does is steals time away from you, manipulates you and how to feel and perceive the world and what is going on in it. It creates anxiety and reduces your ability to focus by constantly giving you something new to watch or think about without much actual thought.

If you find yourself getting more and more distracted or unable to focus like you used to, regardless of age, this is why. Social Media and all the apps we have on our phones are training our brain to not focus, to be anxious, and to not shut down for good sleep. The conflict that can be created by the constant slew of emotion stimulation activities and stories are killing your mental health, your physical health, and stealing the most precious commodity you have – TIME. You are literally spending and wasting HOURS of your life each day seeing what someone else is doing or saying instead of living in your own life in the now. So, to stop worrying, reclaim your life, sleep and happiness we need to make changes. I am sure I love watching and spending time with my son, more then I do then care about what some talking head on Facebook or Insta or Tiktok has to say. I am making memories for me and him.

So – how do we fix this problem? A few simple ways actually.
1. Declutter your apps on your phone. Keep those ones you need most – browser, messages, email and phone – on your main page and maybe a weather or work app. Nest all the other apps together on page 3 or 4 or in folders where it becomes a challenge to get to the social media apps.
2. If you are so brave – delete the social media apps and only go on them on a web browser. This will reduce your accessing them as they are now also not as easy to get to.
3. Make your phone black and white. The colors and blue light our devices emit are like crack for our brains and keeps you wanting to look back for more. If you make the screen black and white, you will be less tempted to use the device and you will get better sleep due to the reduction of blue light.
4. Make a conscious effort to keep the phone in your pocket/bag/desk etc whenever you are with your family and friends. Human interaction will trump messaging and shit via electronic device and create good memories and habits for you and your kids. And as a parent, I know I don’t want my kid wasting his life not having real meaningful talks, relationships and interactions like we all did before social media, cell phones, or the internet.

I know – sounds easy – its not at first. Be honest with yourself and do the hard things to make your mind more focused, less cluttered and frantic and improve your happiness. I know it sounds crazy, but quitting social media, or at least reducing your use of it has been proven to improve your well being.
Here is a great article explaining this more fully and with other advice with the scientific backing I spoke of.

Thanks for reading.
AFD 1*

Stop drinking so damn much!

I know that sounds like an odd thing to hear coming from me, being I am the one teaching you how to make your own hootch at home, but just because you have it doesn’t mean its a breakfast or lunch item every day.

With the onset of the “pandemic” more people then ever before are drinking more and more. I myself am one of them but I am doing so in a controlled manner. I have rules you see. They are very simple.

1. No booze before noon except for brunch on Saturdays OR Sundays… not both.
2. Avoid hard liquor till the evenings unless mixed with seltzer.
3. No beers except on Saturday OR after cutting the lawn (1 max).
4. Dry alcohol or liquor during the week (2 drinks -3 max a day).
5. You MUST workout before you can have any type of alcoholic beverage. – NON-NEGOTIABLE.

Those rules above will keep you from getting drunk, being a slob, killing your gym gains and efforts, lowering testosterone, getting you fat, and wasting your fucking life by drinking instead of spending quality time with your family.

Listen, alcohol is good and enjoyable, as long as you’re not a lush or all around drunkard. Do you want your kids drinking like you? Do you think they want half-bombed or totally bombed Daddy at their parties or sporting events etc? No they don’t.
Be a better version of yourself.

I love my mead/beer/wine/scotch as much or more than the next guy – but I also don’t want to be an embarrassment and addicted to something that will control me if I let it.

Stay sane but stay safe!

AFD 1*

Becoming a Dad Again

When my eldest daughter was born, I was the ripe old age of 26. I wasn’t afraid of babies, my mother was an OB nurse and I had taken care of babies before. I do remember being afraid of being a father though. I can remember sitting in the theater, watching Shrek 3 with my pregnant wife. You know the one, the one where Shrek becomes a father…. life imitating art as it felt.

Sitting in that theater I felt really apprehensive about the whole ordeal. Actually being responsible for a human life. I learned fast though that you will never be a perfect parent and you grow with your child in that regard. Of course everything turned out fine. Things got easier with baby number 2…and 3 as well.

Then life happened. My wife turned into a walking Lifetime movie fueled by Borderline Personality Disorder and those 3 kids and I were on our own for a long time. Life was scary, but being a dad wasn’t.

I do feel I lost a part of my 30s in an inexplicable way, dealing with what I was going through from 34 to now. In that time, however, I met and a wonderful woman with a young daughter of her own, with a similar experience to mine. We are now engaged and bought a house, making me a Dad of 4. Being a step dad is a whole other animal and will be the topic of a future post. This post, however, is about being a new dad again, because we are expecting baby number 5.

We knew we both wanted another baby, logistics aside as she is more of the ‘what if…’ part of the relationship while I handle the ‘what is now’ part. We had 3 girls and 1 son between us. Another boy would be nice, we thought. Cute little red plaid outfits and mini cargo boots. I knew from the second I got the positive test on Christmas, it was going to be a girl. Genetic testing and Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You” playing at ultrasound confirmed my suspicion. I guess it’s a familial thing, as my maternal Grandfather cranked out similar numbers in offspring. Our little girl is due in late August and we are both overjoyed. There’s no feelings of apprehension this time around.

I’m not 26 anymore. I’m about to be *40*. For whatever reason that number is a milestone in our culture, although I doubt I’ll feel any different than I do right now. I do go into this baby though with a sense of finality. She’ll 99.5% most likely be the last, and so I will watch those last *firsts* with a different point of view. The last first bath, the last first giggle, the last first steps and words. Much like you can be with your first child, I’ll be taking way more pictures and videos then ever as technology has made that ever so easy and I’ll be aware of those ‘last firsts’.

Time doesn’t slow itself for sure. My dad always said it’s like a roll of toilet paper. It goes faster the more you use it up, and he is right. I always play the game of “when she’s 15 I’ll be…” and relate that to our other kids and sometimes focus on the numbers too much. If life has taught me anything it’s to enjoy today and take the time to focus on what is present, not what might be.

I’m going to enjoy every second of this last first.

How to have a happy(er) life.

With that lofty title I present to you 4 things to make you happier
1. Workout
2. Eat good food (not crap from a box or pre-made)
3. Try to meditate/clear your mind/ brain dump
4. Get some intimacy from your partner.

There you go. Simple right?

Now of course that isn’t as simple as it sounds – but why? I am going to suggest a rather Spartan approach you can take and try for a week to see how it makes you feel.

1. Start a workout program – anything is better then nothing, do it 3 times a week. A kettlebell will give you more then enough exercises for you to get the blood going and the muscles pumping.

2. Try to eat better food – meats, eggs fruits veggies. Avoid dairy if you can and “white” carbs – any carb that is or could be made white.

3. Meditate – use box breathing from a previous post or the calm app with its *free* meditations or google Mokuso Meditation and perform any for at least 5 minutes daily. You will think of other things, that’s ok, just acknowledge that and move on.

4. Talk to your partner, start “dating” them again. Make the effort and increase your intimacy.

Now that’s 4 easy things that take just a little effort that will reap rewards.
Physically performing and feeling better – adding muscle and losing weight will increase your testosterone.
Meditation reduces cortisol which increases/preserves testosterone.
Eating good food will cure most hormonal issues and – you guessed it- helps with testosterone levels.
Sex is Sex and will help you keep your hormone levels in check.

Testosterone is the foundation of men being healthy, looking younger, staying fitter and living longer.
Also – reduce how much you are drinking. It will help as booze converts testosterone into estrogen and you don’t wanna lose your gains, bro.

Keep frosty, structure this stuff in for a few weeks and you will see you feel better, sleep better, and are thinking more clearly with less stress and ALL of this will help you feel better and happier.

-AFD 1*

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

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.

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