9 Preparations for Expecting Fathers

[icon name=”fa-user”] David Zachary [icon name=”fa-calendar”] March 13, 2019 [icon name=”fa-tags”] Lifestyle

It goes without saying that parenthood is no joke. Bringing a child into the world is serious business, and as such, preparing for a baby can be one of the most stressful life experiences. To exacerbate things, there isn’t really a handbook to parenthood, because EVERY FAMILY IS DIFFERENT. Between the worries over living space and finances, to the hormonal roller coaster our pregnant partners are riding, this is a time to try your best to relax and calmly prepare.

Take Control

There is nothing like the experience of expecting your first child. It will make you think about life in ways you may not have before. You’ll be asking yourself questions like:

  • Is my income enough to raise a child? Should I think of career change?
  • Do we have room for a nursery?
  • Am I prepared to wake up in the middle of the night to soothe a crying baby?
  • Will my relationship with my partner ever be the same?
  • Have I done all the things I want to do before having kids?

It’s important to remember that you’re in control. This isn’t a time for indecisiveness, so think about these questions (and others you may have), create a plan, and start to execute it immediately. Every day that passes is a day closer to fatherhood. Here are some helpful tips and preparations for your baby that can take away some of the angst.

1. Evaluate your living space

For you and your baby’s sake, you’re going to want to make space for a nursery in your house or apartment. It doesn’t have to be big, it just needs to have space for a crib, changing table, and some storage. Your baby is going to thrive in his or her own room, where you can provide them with optimal conditions such as humidity, temperature, air flow, and noise levels. Now, you may be thinking to yourself “but I don’t have a second bedroom or office I can convert”, that’s ok. If your situation calls for it, baby can shack up with you for a while, but this may be uncomfortable to say the least. You and your partner need privacy too, after all (wink, wink).

Moving is ultimately the best option if you can swing it. There are lots of considerations here, from security deposits, to broker’s fees, to closing costs and down payments (if you’re considering a purchase). The bottom line is, that both you and your baby are going to be happier in a larger, more accommodating space. Pregnancy and moving are two of the most stressful stages of life, but you’d be surprised at just how many people move during pregnancy. While there aren’t any studies about this topic, start talking to other expecting couples and you’ll soon find that you’re not the only ones considering moving while pregnant.

2. Budgeting for baby

Budgeting for a child isn’t just about diapers and formula, you’re going to have to consider medical expenses, activities, child care, and the constant need for bigger clothing. Don’t get overwhelmed, people of all income levels have children and figure out ways to provide them with what they need, so you’ll be fine. Open up an excel sheet and start to map out your financial situation. Everything from income and expenses, to debt and taxes. Speaking of taxes, once your baby is born, you will most likely be able to benefit from the Child Tax Credit.

Once you have everything on your spreadsheet, you should already feel better about the situation. Sometimes just being able to look at your finances on one page makes things easier to grasp and visualize. Now you can begin making lifestyle changes if need be. Some of the easiest things to cut out of your life are cable, unnecessary takeout orders, that daily $5.00 coffee, etc.   

Thinking of cord-cutting? Check out this fantastic guide to cord cutting.

Start to make smarter decisions. If that means paying down credit cards or student loans faster, go for it. If it means skipping the weekly date night, do it – after all, she won’t be able to drink or stomach much food for the next few months. Looking for further cost savings? See if anyone in your family or friend group has hand-me-downs to offer you. You might be able to score some big-ticket items they no longer need, such as a stroller, bassinet, or pack & play.

3. Health care for mom and baby

Be prepared to feel like you’re living at the doctor’s office. Many OBGYNs like to see their pregnant patients once a month to start off. Once she hits 24 weeks or so, that’ll increase to about once every 2 weeks. At 32 weeks, she may need to go in weekly. What, you thought this didn’t involve you? Try to look at things from her perspective. While you’re nervous about finances and adjusting to fatherhood, she’s worrying about her body, mental health, miscarriage, and a whole host of other conditions that can affect pregnant women. Want to score some brownie points? GO TO THE DOCTOR WITH HER. This is your baby too, and you may be surprised at how exciting these visits can be. Hearing your baby’s heartbeat and seeing him or her grow before your eyes on the ultrasound is an experience you won’t forget. And in the event that something isn’t as it should be, your partner is going to want you there for support. Nobody really talks about miscarriage, and as guys we really don’t get educated on pregnancy in general as much as we should. Know that many pregnancies end in miscarriage before week 20. According to Mayo Clinic, around 20% of pregnancies terminate before week 20. Whether she says it or not, your partner may be thinking about this, and you should always be prepared to be there to support her if it happens.

No matter what the outcome of this pregnancy is, you’re going to want to make sure she is in good hands. Find a practice that has privileges at a reputable hospital with a good maternity unit. Ideally, her OB practice should have more than one doctor. This ensures more hours, and a better chance that one of her doctors will be delivering baby, and not an attending OB you haven’t met before.

While mom is picking out her obstetrician, start to do some homework on pediatricians. You are going to want to start looking for a pediatrician when she is at around 30 weeks. Call up your insurance provider and see which pediatricians in your area accept your insurance. Once you have that list, schedule some appointments for interviews with them before baby arrives. Have a list of questions ready to go, here are some to get you started:

  • How many pediatricians are at this practice?
  • Can you squeeze my baby into your schedule in case of emergency?
  • Do you have special hours to see healthy newborns? (you don’t want to bring your baby into the office while there are sick kids around).

Remember that once your baby is born, you’ll have to bring him or her into the doctor’s office A LOT. They’re going need to get examined really often to check for growth and to receive vaccines. Make sure you’re comfortable with the pediatrician you choose, take this task upon yourself, mom-to-be has a lot on her mind as it is.

4. Child Care

Plan ahead for who is going to watch your baby after birth. While some are blessed enough to have maternity/paternity leave, others aren’t as lucky. If you fall in that latter category, you may find yourself needing 5 days a week of childcare. That can get pretty expensive. One of the classic decisions new parents in this situation make is weighing whether or not it makes sense to continue working if your salary only covers daycare. Depending on where you live, costs have a very wide range. If you live in New York City, for example, daycare can set you back upwards of $2,000.00 per month! Before you start to sweat, know that there are options out there for you.

 Live near your parents or in-laws? See if they’d be willing to babysit that precious grandchild-to-be for any amount of time each week. Day cares allow you to choose how many days a week you want to drop your kid off. If a grandparent is willing to commit to even one day a week, that could add up to major savings over a one year period. Perhaps your office or company have a day care available? If you work in a big city, many office buildings do offer this. You might not exactly want to schlep baby on your morning and afternoon commutes, but if it saves you money, why not?

One consideration with child care is that depending on where you live, some daycare centers are fully enrolled months in advance. Be proactive, don’t wait till the last moment. Scout your area for reputable daycare centers, call them and schedule visits. Let them know when your baby is due, when you expect to start needing their services, and for how many days a week. Signing up early may even get you a nice discount! Many daycare centers also give discounts for referrals, so don’t be shy about referring other pregnant couples in your area.

5. Housework & chores

As her pregnancy progresses, you’ll begin to notice your partner may become even more tired. She may also experience pain, difficulty breathing or bending over, and heightened anxiety about the upcoming due date. While she’s worrying about how a human baby is supposed to come out of her body, you’re on dish duty, dude. Hell, at 35+ weeks, you might even have to tie her shoes. She doesn’t need to get stressed out about laundry and housework, pick up some of that burden. Try to do at least a little more of the housework than you normally do, you’re going have to get used to contributing more around the house once baby comes. This is a good time to start making cleaning more of a daily habit.

Did you know that your baby is going to need their own laundry detergent? Infant skin is so sensitive that you’ll have to wash their clothes separately with a milder detergent for the early stages of their life. Remember to always wash your baby’s clothes before you put them on. You have no idea where those clothes have been or what they’ve come into contact with, so be sure to clean them accordingly.

baby laundry detergent

While we’re on the topic of clothes, your partner is about to go on a bit of a spending spree. If she hasn’t already started showing, she will soon. Before you know it, she’ll be wearing maternity clothes exclusively. This is another area in which it may help to ask your friends and family for hand me downs. Maternity clothes are only good while she’s pregnant, so any way that helps save on them is a benefit. Guys, don’t be annoyed at her when she needs to buy bigger shoes for her 9th month because her feet are swollen.

6. Baby gear

While we’re always going to try to help you save, inevitably you’re going to have to spend. Babies need a lot of stuff. The good news is, your partner is likely going to have a baby shower, where you’ll receive lots of those necessities from your friends and family. As you’re creating your baby registry, you might want to stop into a store to take a look at your options, and when you do, you’re going to feel overwhelmed. It just never ends, mattress pads, breastmilk storage bags, high chairs, and a range of other products that you’ll be wondering about.

Amazon baby registry

You’ll find that there are lots of items that you will need, others that you won’t need right away, and some that just flat out aren’t necessary (wipe warmers, anyone?). So, how to navigate this? Start by getting what your child will need as a newborn. Think clothes, formula (if mom isn’t planning on breastfeeding), a place to sleep, a car seat, diapers, wipes, first aid, etc. etc. This list could continue. Bottom line, you aren’t going to need a high chair for a newborn, so if you can’t get one right away, don’t sweat it. If your financial situation allows, go ahead and splurge, otherwise try to keep to the essentials.

When you do get around to creating a baby registry, consider Amazon Baby Registry. It’s easy to use, and offers the greatest variety of products. You’ll also be eligible for all kinds of promos and discounts, so if you’re an Amazon Prime addict, make sure to check it out. 

You’ll want to look the part and have some fun when baby comes!

Baby dad pizza shirt

7. The “fourth trimester” and feeding baby

Some doctors refer to the first few months of baby’s life as the fourth trimester. It makes sense, while your partner is now in the post-partum stage, your baby is more dependent on mom and dad than they ever will be. You baby is going to need to feed upwards of 12 times per day in these first crucial months. That means you’re not really going to get a lot of sleep, and neither will your partner. Doubly so if she’s breastfeeding. Something guys know almost next to nothing about is breastfeeding.

Did you know that mom’s breastmilk changes throughout the course of a baby’s life to suit its particular needs? In the beginning, breastmilk is thick and fatty – a substance known as colostrum. This liquid gold provides baby with antibodies and loads of protein. After about a week passes by, breastmilk will become runnier, and less fatty. For more mind-blowing information on breastfeeding, here’s a quick read on the ways breastmilk changes to suit your baby’s needs.

You and your partner are going to have to make some decisions regarding feeding your child. Formula feeding is just fine, but keep in mind that most doctors agree that breastfeeding is superior. For more information on the differences, have a look at Mayo Clinic’s “Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding: What’s best?”. Not all women are fully able to breastfeed, and some don’t enjoy it at all, but have a talk with your partner about how you ideally want to feed your child. Breastfeeding is free, guys – but don’t let that be the determining factor. This is one of those decisions where it’s best to let your partner lead the conversation, it is her body. And one more thing, if your child is breastfed, that doesn’t take you off the hook for feedings. Your partner will likely begin to pump soon after the baby is born, which will give you a fridge or freezer full of milk that you can bottle feed your baby with. Breastmilk is all about supply and demand. If you’re waking up at 3 am to feed your baby with milk from a previous pumping-sesh, she is going to have to wake up and pump at the same time. Less pumping and/or breastfeeding = less milk production

8. Back to school

When it comes to infant care, you really aren’t ever going to be fully prepared for what’s in store, though you’ll want to be as informed as possible. One of the best ways to educate yourself is to enroll in some courses when your partner is around 30 weeks pregnant. Three that are no brainers are:

  • Birthing / Lamaze
    • Here you’ll learn about childbirth and all of its stages. You’ll also learn about what your role is during labor.
  • Infant Care
    • In this class you’ll learn about all the essentials. Feeding, sleep schedules, diapering, swaddling, and more.
  • Infant CPR and first aid
    • You’ll learn how to ensure your baby’s safety here. Some classes even teach you how to properly install a car seat.

You’ll feel way more confident about fatherhood once you complete these courses. You’ll also learn some really cool skills, like clearing a baby’s blocked airway. Oh, and Lamaze? It’s not all wacky breathing techniques. Massage, stretching, and contraction timing are just some of the many topics covered. Labor isn’t like the movies, gentlemen. Only about 15% of women break their water prior to labor. You also don’t rush to the hospital at the first sign of contractions. Your partner may be laboring at home for many hours before it’s time to head for the maternity ward.

9. Baby moon

You may have heard about this one before. “The two of you” are about to become “the three of you”. As such, savor these last months before baby comes into the world. Take a vacation! Pregnant women can travel by air until up to around the 6th month. Your partner will likely feel sick and tired during her first trimester, the good news is, the second trimester is the easiest. The “Goldilocks zone” is somewhere between weeks 14 and 28. These crucial weeks may be your last chance to have an adventure alone. If there’s any travel destination you haven’t checked off your list yet, now is the time to go (unless you can wait until your baby is old enough to come with).

You Got This!

This is an exciting time. Don’t lose sight of that, and remember that this overwhelming phase of life is just that, a phase. It’s time to put others before yourself now. Start with your partner, whatever angst you’re feeling is affecting her even harder. Educate yourself to feel more prepared for fatherhood. Loads of resources exist. Read some books and learn about the wonders of pregnancy and childbirth. The whole experience is surreal, to think that in less than a year, your child grows from a bundle of cells smaller than a grain of sand to a developed human baby. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ve grown more confident about what’s to come. Use that confidence and put together a plan of action. Time is of the essence!

Baby books for dad
what to expect when you're expecting book

Ultimate Guide to Michael Scott’s Desk Toy Collection

[icon name=”fa-user”] Peter Stafford [icon name=”fa-calendar”] March 9, 2019 [icon name=”fa-tags”] Lifestyle

This post is way off topic from what we usually write about here on The Manful. Being such a huge fan of The Office, I thought I’d deviate from our usual topics to write a piece in honor of my all-time favorite person on earth, Michael Gary Scott.

Arguably the greatest character in television history, Michael Gary Scott, (played by Steve Carell, in the 2005 – 2013 NBC TV series The Office), acts as a role model to all. Whether you’ve watched the series one time or eight times, as I have, I think we all strive to be more like Michael Scott in our daily lives. I’m here to help you achieve that goal by taking you through each and every one of Michel’s desk toys and wall ornaments and show you how can be like mike.

World’s Best Boss Mug

We start off with the iconic World’s Best Boss Mug, featured in nearly every episode of the show, Michael is always shown in close vicinity to his mug. The mug makes its debut in the pilot episode of The Office when Michael shows the cameras his mug and proudly tells us that he bought himself the mug from Spencer’s Gifts!

the office michael scott worlds best boss cup

Newton’s Cradle

Another prominent gizmo Michael keeps on his desk is the classic Newton’s Cradle. Pull back and release one or more of the steel marbles and watch an equal number of balls on the opposite side of the cradle go swinging. Too bad Michael wasn’t shown playing with this toy more often, could have thought him a thing or two about physics, especially before his big “talk” with Oscar in the episode “China” where Michael sets out to learn everything about science and math to outsmart Oscar.

Newtons cradle desk toy michael scott

Hoberman Sphere

That expanding plastic ball that site atop Michael’s Desk, bet you didn’t know that thing has a name, and it’s Hoberman’s Sphere.

hoberman's sphere expanding ball

Chattering Teeth

The nifty chattering teeth that Michael eventually gifted to Phyllis Vance, wife of Bob Vance Vance Refrigeration. Wind up the knob and the teeth will rapidly chomp and the teeth will appear to crawl forward on your desk.

chattering teeth toy

Wooden Train Whistle

Getting it’s 15 seconds of fame in the hands of Toby Flederson’s daugher, Michael teaches the little girl how to make train noises with his wooden train whistle.

Wooden train whistle from the office

Dundie Trophy

Made of solid 24 karat gold (just kidding), you can get yourself your very own Dundie award. The best part is, one doesn’t need to achieve much to earn a Dundie, you can award yourself one for having white sneakers (pam), being a tight ass (Angela), hottest in the office (Ryan/Danny Cordray), or just being repulsive (Toby). Better pick up a couple of these if you want to be anything like Michael.

salesman trophy dundee award

Complaint Department Grenade

Mini Golf Cart

One of the less notable toys on Michael’s desk is a miniature golf cart. He’s never seen playing with this toy but it’s there throughout the show. I’d advise only hardcore fans to get this one, as it’s not something most viewers would know about.

Of course, there are more knickknacks on Michael’s desk than just the above-shown. Some are there throughout the entirety of Michael’s appearance on the show, Like the Dunder Mifflin Model Truck, unfortunately, this model truck cannot be purchased anywhere on the internet. Other items make an appearance for just a short while on the show.

That would just about sum up the list. It’s worth to mention that you can also get the proud owner of a Seyko timepiece certificate Michael has hanging on the wall behind his desk.

As I wrap this up I’ll leave you with the thought in your head of Stanley Hudson storming out of the Annex door singing “Closing Time” at the end of the day!


6 Timeless Men’s Styles

[icon name=”fa-user”] Justin Confalone [icon name=”fa-calendar”] February 19, 2019 [icon name=”fa-tags”] Lifestyle

Style has gone through some major changes over the years, for better or worse. We’re past the days of poofy hair and bright fabrics, and the joy of the early 2000s punk uprising is long behind us. In the 2000s alone style has gone through some crazy changes, men’s style has gone from bright patterned jackets and graphic tees to a mod culture uprising (I’m talking caps, and British pop inspired, see here for reference). In the 2010s we’ve gone from a weird cashmere phase to fedoras, then from fedoras to bright sneakers, and in 2019 we’ve arrived at streetwear, possibly the most interesting current trend (which may be on the way out soon). There’s no need to cite an article for this one, we’ve all seen the designer brands, relaxed fit, and stunning (if not a bit ambitious) color/ material combinations. Recently (I’m talking 2010 onwards) clean-cut clothing has also made an impact on fashion culture.

From where we are now, nobody really knows where fashion will go next, with streetwear and clean-cut being the two supporting pillars of modern men’s fashion, one is bound to shape the next style trend. And while these kinds of trends will always come and go, some pieces of men’s fashion will survive even the most experimental changes.

Greaser Style (Inspired)

If you’ve ever watched “The Outsiders” this fashion should come right to your mind. In its simplest form, this style consists of three things: Blue jeans, a tight white shirt and a black leather jacket to bring it all together. This is one of the few styles on this list that can be taken directly from the 50s and still pass as stylish today. As for shoes, a pair of Converse is the classic look, but pairing this look with leather boots (black or dark brown) can also tie it together well; bonus points if you pair it with a black or brown leather belt. While the look itself is really minimal, so much of this look is popular on its own. Let’s break the essentials of this style down.

The Basic T-Shirt

Starting at the base of the greaser look we have the simple t-shirt. This is as basic as fashion gets, but when properly fitting, is one of the most eye-catching items a man can own. They tend to be cheap so stock up on them in your white’s and blacks, maybe throwing in some colors and greys as well. Try to go for a fit that doesn’t squeeze, but just hugs your biceps for maximum appeal.

The Jacket

A good leather jacket can be paired with almost anything up top, but for the bottom half of the outfit, try to stick with jeans (or sweatpants if you are daring enough to dive into streetwear.) Leather jackets come in a range of colors, but for the best look, stick to brown or black leather as your base, and buy new colors if you feel the need. According to this article, leather generates a feeling of excitement and adventure, two very attractive and rewarding things in a guy.

Blue Jeans
There really isn’t much to tell you about jeans, there’s a reason nearly every guy owns a pair. Blue is the tried and true classic and can pair well with pretty much anything. If you’re wearing jeans… just go crazy! Jeans also make a great addition to our next timeless look.

Lumberjack Style

Okay, I know lumberjacks don’t always wear flannels but the aesthetic is there so we’re gonna stick with it. This style generally has four parts. Jeans, undershirt, boots and of course the flannel. This look gives a feeling of refined ruggedness and is one of the most masculine styles a man can rock. It can even be part of a sleeker, less rugged look if paired with the right things. Let’s break it down.

The Jeans

Unlike the greaser look, jeans, when paired with a flannel, can be much more than just black or blue. While the classic feel might be lost if you go too wild, have some fun with the color combos you can make. I’d personally recommend light wash jeans here, but the ambitious man can even sub out the jeans for a pair of chinos.

The Undershirt

While you can keep the undershirt something as clean and simple as white/black and still look great, textures and graphics also work. If you want to go for maximum style, sub your undershirt for a henley.

The Boots

To maximize the impact of the lumberjack look, a solid pair of boots (leather or suede) is a must. Outside of the flannel look, dark brown or black boots can pair with any color combination or most outfits in general. Boots can also be subbed out for a pair of white trainers if you want to take the fashion risk.

The Flannel

The humble flannel, not only a key piece to the lumberjack look but an essential to any guy’s wardrobe. They come in all types of colors but the classic red and white is a hard combination to beat. Start with a red/white flannel and throw in some new colors when you get comfortable with the look!

Denim on Denim

This might be a bit of personal bias but denim on denim is one of the modern man’s best looks. There is a lot to say about a fabric that was made more than a century ago and still is stylish today. Wearing a blue top on black selvage jeans is a personal favorite of mine, but any combination of colors and shades can look good as long as you follow a few rules. One, wearing the same shade of denim is a massive style risk, and it almost never pays off. Ditch the double indigo look for something a little more varied, at the very least keep the shades of blue slightly different to avoid the onesie feel. The only exception to this rule is black on black denim (since every guy looks good in all black) and for the ambitious, white on white denim (but layer on different colors). Two, keep the denim unbuttoned if you’re wearing an undershirt. Let’s break the style down further.

The Shoes/Boots

Footwear in a denim on denim look is completely up to you; just a couple of things to keep in mind. Try to match the footwear to the pants (or some color on your body) and keep them to basic colors (white, black, grey, brown). As an alternative, a pair of white trainers work well with most basic colors.

The Undershirt

While showing off an undershirt is technically optional in a denim on denim style, interesting patterns and certain colors can generate synergy in your outfit. According to an online color guide, the best outfits have common ground on the color wheel, using different colored undershirts can help tie this look together. Denim can either look clean cut or can be a bit more streetwear if you combine it with something like athletic pants.

Suit and Tie (For Work)

While the suits have gotten a bit slimmer and fewer people are wearing hats, the old-school suit and tie look still is amazing today. There really isn’t much to say about this look because it speaks for itself; clean shoes, pants that match the jacket and/or vest, undershirt, belt, and a tie make up the outfit. Even the button up on its own can be a style.

The Button Up (For Casual Wear)

Generally, you’ll want to wear a button up under a suit, and while that’s common knowledge, the not-so-obvious knowledge is that the button up itself can be a look. Without the suit, a button-up can be worn completely unbuttoned if you treat it like a flannel, this works best if combined with an interesting undershirt.

The Preppy Look

While it’s changed throughout the generations, the essence of the preppy look has remained the same since it’s early 1900s roots. This look covers a pretty broad area of fashion ranging anywhere from polo shirts to dress shirts up top, but the thing that ties this look together is the sweater. Crew or V-neck, the sweater and button up combo is the core of the preppy look. The key is to layer the sweatshirt so that the collar just peeking through enough. Combine this with jeans or chinos, and tie everything together with a pair of white sneakers, loafers or boots to maximize style.  This look tends to be brighter with more simple and standout colors shaping the feel of it, once you master the synergy, this is a style that should be worn with the pride of the Ivy League students who invented it.

All Black

It doesn’t matter where or when it is, a guy dressed head to toe in black will always look damn good. The color has been a staple of men’s fashion for ages because it adds a sleek, sophisticated and mysterious flair to the person wearing it. Even more important is that having solid black up and down your body forces eyes to wander down, making someone who would normally walk by you unknowingly take in your entire style. According to this study, black is the best color to show confidence and intelligence, as well as being the most desired color by women. All black is a little vaguer than most styles here, but the look can be something as simple as black jeans, boots and a black henley, or a combination of layers of black in different shades and textures. If you want to ditch the solid black look, opt. for a darker grey or any color that keeps the outfit monochrome. Because matching black on black is natural, this style instantly gives you a more put together and matching look than its alternatives (especially if you are newer to fashion and just learning to match well.) Know that you know the bare basics, what’s stopping you from giving these styles a try?

Beginners Guide to Maintaining Your Wardrobe

[icon name=”fa-user”] Peter Safford [icon name=”fa-calendar”] February 14, 2019 [icon name=”fa-tags”] Fashion

You’re at the new Italian restaurant that opened recently, and the food is amazing. Time is flying by as you enjoy a few drinks. It takes some time, but you finally notice that stain on your shirt from the spaghetti sauce you had. What now?

On your way back home, the rain is pouring down sideways from the strong gusts of wind accompanying the storm. It’s a good thing you have your jacket on, but your pants have rainwater all over them. As your outside waiting for your Uber, a car splashes water on your new brown, leather boots too.

Finally, home. What’s this? You now have dog hair all over you. Man’s best friend added to the stockpile of dirtiness to your attire.

Time and time again you get dirty. A fact of life. Imagine the beating your wardrobe goes through every day. Doesn’t help if you don’t know how to operate a washing machine correctly. Most men don’t. A shame really.

The same goes for dry cleaning. Do you take your clothes to be dry cleaned or do you stuff your washer with different colors, pour on detergent, then shove it all in the dryer and hope for the best?

I am going to walk you through how to maintain your wardrobe. If you spent good money on your clothes, then you must take good care of them as well. Clothes last longer when properly cleaned. The labels on your clothes tell you exactly how to do that. Dry clean means dry clean only!

The clothes you buy matter.

Your clothes take the most abuse day in day out. They are subjected to sweat, dirt, and the world in general. High-quality fabrics are more resilient which is why you should consider spending the extra money up front. In the long run, you save more money by not buying as frequently. Cheaper clothes don’t fit as well and won’t last as long. In the end, you’ll buy more clothes going the inexpensive route.

Washer & Dryer

Technology has revolutionized our modern world. Imagine handwashing all your clothes, then playing the waiting game has you constantly keep an eye on your line drying clothes. It wasn’t until the early 1920’s when we started to use electric washing machines. From then on, the convenience of having a machine do all the manual work took over.

Almost 100 years later and we still make washing clothes difficult. Mixing colors, incorrect water temperatures, and inaccurately measured detergents are still problems we face in the modern age of technology.

Allow me to clear a few things up. First off, do not mix your colors. There’s a Simpsons episode where Bart puts his lucky red cap in with the family’s white clothes. Marge has the laundry basket on the table and Homer pulls out his white shirt – only to find it has turned pink!

Color bleeding happens when you don’t separate your clothes before washing. White clothes are a magnet for the dye of anything non-white. If you want to keep your white clothes white, then wash them separately in hot water.

Next is your light-colored clothes. Your gray, light blue, and anything else not dark. These are best washed in warm water.

Now onto the darker shades you own. Cold water. I understand it’s easier to lump all your clothes together and wash them all at once. But why risk dying your white clothes pink like Bart did for Homer?

Read the Labels

Have you read the manual to your washer? It’s full of useful information on what every button and dial does. Remember: Check your pockets and remove everything before washing. You could ruin that receipt you were saving or lose that number you wrote down on a sticky note. I am guilty of forgetting to remove the collar stays from my shirt collars. Don’t be like me; remove them.

Avoid overloading your washer. For the longest, I couldn’t understand why my clothes never were fully washed. I thought that adding more detergent or running the machine again was the answer. Turns out, I was filling my top-loading machine to the brim. Top-loading or front-loading are similar in that you must not overload. When in doubt, cut your load in half. Leaving wet clothes in the washer will give them a mildew scent. As soon as the washer is done, shake the clothes and gently stretch them out before putting in the dryer. This helps with preventing wrinkles and dries the clothes faster and evenly.

Detergent

Not all detergents are made the same. Most items on the shelf at stores are marketed better than others and the sticker price reflects that. However, detergent is not one of those items. Buying cheaper, bulk detergent does you no good unless you plan on washing a ton of dirty rags that will eventually be covered in filth all over again. Instead, buy better detergent. Not only will the scent last longer, but they’ll get the dirt and stains out better.

I recommend using Woolite Darks for your dark clothes. In my experience, having owned a lot of black shirts, using lower quality detergent tends to fade my clothes faster. I could own less black, but I don’t plan on that. I’ll spend the extra for a dedicated dark clothes detergent.

Measure according to your load size. Adding more detergent doesn’t make your clothes cleaner. In fact, adding too much can leave residue on your clothes and even prematurely wear down your washing machine because of excess detergent causing mold to grow.

For all your other clothes, non-dark, consider Tide Smart Pouches, they’re super concentrated so you can use less.

Dryer

Drying your clothes is simple. Kind of. If you thought there were too many steps when washing your clothes, wait till you get a load of this – see what I did there? Actually, drying is similar to washing: Read the labels, don’t overload, and remove promptly to prevent wrinkles.

If you didn’t add liquid fabric softener to your clothes while they were in the washer, now is the time to add a dryer sheet. They leave your clothes soft and stop static cling. My personal favorite is Bounce Outdoor Fresh, simply because I like the way they smell. If you prefer an unfragmented dryer sheet, you can go for the Bounce Unscented.

Remember to always check your lint trap before starting the dryer, especially if you live in a building with shared drying machines because you can’t trust your neighbors to clean out the trap for you. The dryer will perform better, but also prevent a potential fire. Lint is highly combustible.

Some labels will mention no heat at all or to air dry. Hang these on your shower rod if you don’t have a line outside. Take caution or you’ll have a shower rod come flying at your face. Speaking from experience. Wet clothes are heavy and shower rods are not built for heavy loads.

Dry Cleaners

Dry cleaning is a necessary evil. No one likes to make an extra trip to the cleaners, first to drop off then back to pick up the clothes. It’s the only way certain types of fabrics can be cleaned – wool being one of them. If the label says DRY CLEAN ONLY, they mean it. You run the risk of damaging the garment otherwise.

Dry cleaning uses fluids, other than water, to remove stains and soils from your clothes. Water isn’t always the best when removing stains. Let the professionals at your local, trusted dry cleaners handle those tough stains. Also, your clothes will last longer since they are not cleaned by agitation from home washing machines.

The good thing about dry cleaning businesses is how they wash the clothes and press them for you. Saves you time. Time being your most precious asset it makes sense to save some wherever you can.

Ironing

For the clothes you wash at home, unfortunately are the ones you have to press yourself. If you shook them before drying, and immediately removed from the dryer then you won’t have as much trouble getting those wrinkles out.

The iron you use makes a difference on whether you will get an even heat distribution and lower risk of ruining your clothes. Soleplates (the bottom metal part of an iron) are typically made of solid steel, titanium coated, and cast iron coated with aluminum. Inexpensive irons are not worth the money saved. They do not clean well nor heat correctly. I have ruined a good pair of shorts because I thought expensive irons were a waste of money. I would have saved myself from headaches trying to get wrinkles out of dress shirts if I had not bought an iron that wouldn’t heat up and stay heated.

I bought a Rowenta Everlast a few years and have never experienced an issue with it. Plus it looks like a futuristic spaceship, so that’s an added bonus!

Speaking of heat, once again refer to the label to know what materials your clothes are made of so you can set the right temperature. Don’t run the risk of scorching your clothes. The majority of what I iron is cotton – which means I have to double-check before I put a hot iron to my clothes because the dial isn’t always turned to the cotton setting. Make it habit to check the dial before you accidentally damage a garment.

Storing Your Clothes

What doesn’t need to be dry cleaned or ironed, fold it right out the dryer and store it away. Allowing clothes to cool inside the dryer sets in those wrinkles you’ll have trouble getting out. Most tee shirts can be folded and ironed later. Dress shirts you iron at home should be taken care of immediately.

Storing your clothes away from potential stains will save you trouble down the road. I made the mistake of throwing a pile of clothes on the couch to fold after I got something to drink. Carelessly walking with that drink in my hand I spilled a small amount on some of those clothes. There I am having to rewash them. Had I paid attention I wouldn’t have to put unnecessary stress on the fabric.

Storing your clothes in designated spots will keep you organized. You’ll know where everything is without wasting time trying to get an outfit together. Hate to say it, but don’t be lazy and be an adult. Folding and putting your clothes away is part of being an adult. As important, a man that won’t have someone nagging at them for being lazy.

You will get more life out of your clothes if you store them correctly. Don’t bunch them up and stuff them in a drawer. You’ll damage the fabric that way and you won’t ever know what’s in the drawer.

Clean and Pressed

As a man, it is your responsibility to care for your appearance. Don’t go out with a wrinkled shirt, even if it a graphic tee. In all my life, I can’t recall a time I’ve a wrinkle on my dad’s tee shirts. His clothes are never dirty or wrinkled. You know what? All my life I have seen him take 5 minutes out of his day to iron his clothes. Those 5 minutes make all the difference. Or take them to the cleaners. Either way, don’t leave the house looking like a slob.

Basic EDC Ideas (everyday carry)

[icon name=”fa-user”] Peter Safford [icon name=”fa-calendar”] February 12, 2019 [icon name=”fa-tags”] Lifestyle

“By Failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Benjamin Franklin

You can’t prepare for every possibility in life. But what you can do is position yourself for better outcomes. EDC-everyday carry-are tools every man has that he can’t leave the house without. Every man is different, however. EDC is unique to everyone. What one person finds essential, another can do without.

It all comes down to preference. EDC is becoming a form of expression. Different outfits and color-matching schemes exist in the world of EDC. Teched out gadgets and bare-bone basics. Whether you want to be fully stocked with all your pockets filled or prefer as few items as possible, I have compiled a list of ideas and suggestions.

Keep in mind, you don’t have to take anything with you-your choice-but it is better to have it and not need it versus needing it and not having it.

Phone

You find me a person, anyone, in this modern day that does not have a smartphone. Android or iPhone. Either one has people developing some sort of chronic neck, shoulder, and arm pain. To think, there was a time when we weren’t all connected to the all-encompassing, all knowing, always there, internet.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I need my phone in my pocket. Not so much that I need to be glued to my screen, but if there’s ever an emergency, I have a way to contact someone that can help. Kind of forget those things we all stare at make phone calls too. You can do more than just check Facebook with it.

How do we protect our lifeline to the world? With a tough case…

Phone Case

For a few years I worked in a warehouse with concrete flooring. The phones I owned at the time should’ve have been in pieces for all the times I dropped them. Instead, I made the wise decision to buy a hard case for my phones. I prefer the bulkier, larger phones, and hard cases make those features apparent.

Is it worth the extra space taken up in your pocket? Drop your bare phone five feet onto concrete. If it doesn’t break, save the cash for something else. If you winced at the thought, I recommend Otterbox.

When I leave the store with my new phone, I leave with an Otterbox as well. There’s a reason it’s the number one selling phone case. What’s great is how Otterbox understands that not everyone wants bulkier cases. They offer slimmer cases, like the Otterbox Commuter. Two-layers of protection, with rubber grip and slim for smaller pockets.

Otterbox commuter series smartphone case

Regardless of slim or bulky, protect your phone.

Keys

Keysmart’s design simplified that mess I had into three groups. Car fob, traditional house key style keys, and oddballs. What I like about Keysmart is the room for expansion. Extend your key organizer for more room.

Keysmart Key smart key ordanizer

Wallet

Next to grab on my way out the door is my wallet. Wallets are amazing. They hold cash, debit cards, business cards, and other things. You can’t go wrong with a simple, leather wallet. As a matter of fact, that should be one of the only wallets you own. If you are trying to up your style game, then I suggest you drop the Deadpool wallet and any wallet with-dare I say it-velcro.

You’re not seventeen anymore. I understand nerd culture is prevalent these days, but nothing is classier than a slim, leather wallet. Emphasis on slim. If your wallet is about to burst with loads of junk in it-then yes-stop reading and clean it.

Bi-fold Wallet

Alpine Swiss makes a simple, inexpensive, flip out bi-fold tri-fold leather wallet in multiple colors. Has enough space for money, cards, and a convenient ID window flip out.

Alpine Swiss Bi-fold Wallet

Clip Wallet

You might prefer a clip over the traditional wallet. Clips work just as well as a wallet and allow for you to hold them in front pocket easier than a wallet. For around the same price as a leather wallet, you can get a clip that functions the same and still has a convenient endow to keep your driver’s license.

Napa Walli Men's Money Clip

Pen and Paper

Writing. Remember doing that before texting? Pen and paper work better for me when jotting down notes. I can’t type faster than I write and sometimes speech-to-text isn’t an option in public places. I prefer writing since it helps commit my notes to memory.

Pen

You’re a man that wants to get the most out of all your tools, and that’s why I suggest the Atomic Bear utility pen. Half pen, half tactical tool. A general ink pen is useful too. If you are trapped in a car and need to escape out the window, then good luck using a ballpoint plastic pen.

Atomic Bear Tactical Utility Pen

Paper

Any pocket-size notepad could work. I prefer a sturdier cover to withstand being in my back pocket since I sit on the notepad often. Tougher outside covers protect the overall notepad as well. I take tons of notes and I suggest you do the same. Life comes at you fast and it’s hard to keep up with all that information. Personally, I prefer Field Notes Memo Book, they’re light and small, perfect for your pocket or bag.

Pocket notepad

Watch

If you feel naked without your watch, then good on you. I only recently jumped on the watch train myself. What a difference it makes in the tiniest of ways. It makes keeping track of time easier than constantly pulling out your phone. Especially if you are trying to stay distraction free. Notifications on your phone might be a trigger to slack off. Instead, look at your wrist, then turn it away.

Unless you have a smartwatch. Then you might want to reconsider your options.

Beater Watch Under $30

Timex. What does that make you think? Retro, black calculator watches? Or a timeless design made for functionality. That’s exactly what you get for under thirty dollars if you choose a Timex watch. A watch that does exactly what it’s meant for, telling time, but with the added bonus of looking good while it does it. Take it out into the world and give it a beating. For years that’s what others have done and continue to do. Timex’s reputation for being rugged is held true. Inexpensively too.

Going out? Throw this one on.

Timex Weekender in Olive, Unisex wrist watch, 38mm

Multi-tool

If you could take one tool with you, what would you take? My answer, a multi-tool. Why? I cheated the system by packing more into one. Will I ever need a mini saw? I don’t know for sure. Better not chance it and leave it at home though. That’s why a multi-tool is useful. I can take multiple tools in one compact design.

Classic Swiss Army Knife

I may not need a saw all that often, but a knife and bottle opener sure are handy. When talking about multi-tools, there’s none other than the classic Swiss Army knife. As low as four features and up to twenty-one, you’re bound to find a feature you’ll use on an almost daily basis. And with a brand like Swiss Army, you know it’s going to last a lifetime.

Victorinox swiss army pocket knife

Modernized Multi-tools

Let’s say you went with the suggested black leather wallet. Great. Now you can hold a card multi-tool. Owning a Wallet-Ninja is a good idea to compacting multiple tools into one that fits in your wallet. Pack more in less space. That’s how you can justifying carrying eighteen tools with you.

Flashlight

I already know that your phone has a flashlight. Do you want to use your precious phone battery when instead you can use a flashlight that uses its own battery and produces a stronger light? What if there was a flashlight as compact as a pen? There is.

Pen Style Flashlight

These compact flashlights produce more lumens than your phone. Unlike your phone, the batteries last longer in these. Also, they are compact and easy to clip on the corners of your pockets. My dad gave me the idea of carrying a flashlight. His job sometimes involves working in cramped network cable closets. Usually these closets are dark and limited on space. He can’t fit a large flashlight in between the racks. Slim profile flashlights, like Streamlight’s LED pocket pen light, make this job easier.

Mini Flashlight

I am a fan of just about anything “tacticool.” My personal pick for a flashlight is the Gearlight LED Tactical Flashlight, this one is sold as a 2-pack. What I like about this flashlight-besides it’s beautiful tactical style-is how small it is, yet still produces tons of light. For the price you get 2 decent mini flashlight one to keep in the car in case of an emergency and the other on you at all times; although, for a little more money you could buy one that is rechargeable.

Knife

If you choose not to go with a multi-tool that has a knife, then I suggest you at least carry a standalone knife. Knives come in handy for a multitude of different tasks. Opening letters, cutting loose threads, defending yourself from an attack, cutting cake. Different states have different laws when it comes to carrying a knife. Besides a tool, they are also a weapon. That means no swords. Instead, a small folding pocket knife is ordinarily all you need.

Self Defense

It was difficult to convince my girlfriend to always have a knife with her. Whether for self-defense or some other practical use, all my arguments flew over her head. She never saw the point of trying to fit more items into her cartoonishly small female jean pockets. That was until I surprised her with the Tac-Force Folding Knife. The overall length is 4.5” and is perfect for her smaller hands. Easy to open, but the frame lock design is scary to first time knife owners. I had to repeatedly assure her she was not going to cut herself. Once that was resolved, she was able to carry the knife around comfortably.

If you’re not one to carry a knife, consider a small canister of pepper spray. Be sure to check your state’s local laws in regards to carrying pepper spray, different states have different laws about what types of sprays can be carried for self defense. Sabre Red has a small size pepper spray that can be attached to your key chain.

Pocket Organizer

At this point you are probably wondering how anyone could possibly carry all this. The company Hitch and Timber answered that question with their beautiful, handmade leather pocket organizers. Each pocket organizer is made to order with an estimated week turnaround. High quality materials are used to make each organizer.

Altoid Tin

Another option is repurposing Altoid tins. Once you finish the mints, you can place all you can fit inside the tin and put it in your pocket. Everything is one place and you won’t have to remove the entire contents of your pocket to get one item out.

Bag

So far, the main focus has been on ideas of what to shove down your pockets. EDC items are not only contained to your pockets, but instead to your whole person. What you need from day to day may vary. College students, businessmen, and weekend warriors all have different needs. A bag to contain all their belongings could be beneficial for lugging around all those necessary items.

Look Sharp While Being Functional

Would you take a briefcase to the gym? Probably not. You wouldn’t take a backpack to an executives only meeting either. A crossbody sling messenger bag is suitable for most occasions. Keep the leather briefcase if you have a corner office in some fancy skyscraper, other than that, messenger bags are a good option. There are plenty to choose from, like the Sweetbriar Shoulder Bag.

Choose the right bag for the occasion. Gym bags and backpacks have their place. You weekend warriors could benefit from having a sling bag. Or for those that want to declutter their pockets.

What do you carry?

There are more options out there that have not made this list. Some sort of mint should always be with you-that goes without saying. But you must decide what you can’t leave the house without. You might not be a watch snob that always has to have one or you might be someone that wants to be prepared for any and all catastrophes. I suggest you try adding one item to your EDC at a time. If you use it once a week, it stays. If not, rotate it with something else until you find the right match.

Before long you’ll be following Instagram pages dedicated to EDC. Might even subscribe to a few Youtube channels devoted to the art of EDC. You might have your own color schemes and matching outfits that revolve around what you’re carrying. Now go explore the world EDC. Be prepared for what life throws your way.

3 Sulfate-Free Face Washes You’ll Love

[icon name=”fa-user”] Peter Safford [icon name=”fa-calendar”] February 4, 2019 [icon name=”fa-tags”] Grooming

It’s undeniable that there’s recently been a massive increase in selection when it comes to skin care products for guys. That’s a good thing. We’ve all got different skin types and budgets, so we’re here to simplify things for you. Over the past month, we’ve tested out dozens of popular face washes, and one thing became abundantly clear – SULFATE FREE FACE WASHES ARE JUST BETTER. After cleansing with a face wash that contained Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and/or Sodium Laureth Sulfate, no matter the brand, the result was overly dried out skin. So, we did some digging. 

Sulfates became popular in the mid 1900’s. Sulfates are surfactants – agents that cling to dirt and oil, allowing them to be washed away with water. In fact, sulfates are so effective at removing dirt and oil, you’ll find them in many household cleaners and industrial degreasers. Use a sulfate based face wash, and you’re sure to strip away all of your skin’s natural oils, your body’s outermost layer of defense against environmental pollution. Catching on yet? Sulfates are too harsh to use on your face! The good news is, there are alternatives out there.

Findings

After eliminating the sulfate-based face washes, we wanted to focus on sulfate free options. One thing you’ll notice with a sulfate free product is that it doesn’t produce as much foam. Admittedly, it feels different at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll start to realize a massive shift in your skin’s health. After cleansing, you don’t get that super dry “squeaky clean” effect. We also found that we didn’t have to use as much moisturizer after using sulfate-free cleansers. One negative aspect was price, most sulfate free cleansers are a bit pricier, but there are great options throughout all price points.

Without further ado, here were the 3 standouts from our trial, broken down by cost:

Luxury Face Wash

Elemis Deep Cleanse Facial Wash

Ok, so at $34.50 this is definitely on the pricier side, but we thought it was well worth the money if you can swing it. For starters, this cleanser seems to provide amazing coverage, meaning you really don’t need to use much at all to get an effective wash. It’s also got a nice scent to it that doesn’t fell too “perfumey”. The elegant packaging makes this a great gift item, something a guy would definitely appreciate.

Mid-Range Face Wash

Beau Brummell Deep Cleansing Charcoal Face Wash

Beau Brummell deep cleansing charcoal face wash

This face wash checked off a lot of our boxes. At $25.00, it’s at a price range that most wallets can handle, and when you consider that it comes in an 8 fluid ounce size, you’re getting a bit more product to boot. We loved that this product featured a pump. Beau Brummell recommends using 1 pump per application, super simple and precise. The scent is mild and has mostly citrus notes. One thing you’ll notice is the dark gray/black color of the product, brought about by activated charcoal. Gives the product an undeniably masculine look, while rendering it very effective at eliminating excess oil.

Budget Friendly Face Wash

L’Oréal Paris Men Expert Extreme Cleanser

L'Oréal Paris Men Expert Extreme Cleanser 

Coming in at under $7.00, this is somewhat of the everyman’s cleanser. Also featuring charcoal, this cleanser has a very silky feeling, and produced a nice foam. One thing we noticed is that after a few days in the shower, the label started to sort of peel/flake, not the biggest deal, but was slightly irritating for sure. At any rate, the product was pretty effective – this has got a spot in my gym locker.

Why you should get out of your own head

[icon name=”fa-user”] Justin Confalone [icon name=”fa-calendar”] February 1, 2019 [icon name=”fa-tags”] Lifestyle

With all the hustle of everyday life and the strain it causes on us, it’s no wonder the world seems so self-focused. We all have lives and priorities in those lives that absorb us into our own worlds. It’s only natural.

I hate to say it, but getting out of our own head isn’t really possible, at least, not in the way we believe. If we analyze our own minds too much, we end up deeper in thought than when we started. In this way, most minds are like prisons that tighten security each time we try to escape. We find safety in our prison, and this safety stops us from having as much social interaction as we should.

Why is this?

It’s because people are afraid to leave comfort in any form, be it taking a cold shower (link to the previous article, I just don’t have it), going to the gym, or in this case, escaping the mind. Most minds get caught between worries of the past and anxieties of the future, stopping them from acknowledging the most important time thing the mind should think about: The present moment.

Mindfulness and meditation practices tend to get a bad rep, but once you move past some of the superstition around it, it’s scientific application has been proven to put us in the now. When someone is wrapped up in their own head they aren’t completely living, instead, they are using what’s before them as a backdrop for mind wandering.

According to this study, the brain’s default mode is to wander. And while brain wandering has its own benefits as seen here, it has a much greater association with increased anxiety and depression. Imagine this:

You’re sitting on a train on your way home from work, class, it doesn’t really matter because right across the aisle from you is one of the most attractive women you have ever laid your eyes on. She just seems perfect and you want nothing more than to go talk to her. Right here, at this moment your brain has been forced into the now and is ready to act on your desire to approach her. Then, before you talk the anxiety sets in; perhaps you’ve had bouts with rejection in the past and all of them come flooding back to the surface in a torrent. Or perhaps rejection is a feeling you (and everyone else) hate and a few seconds after your massive confidence boost hits, you grow anxious and your head begins to fill with scenarios of you getting rejected and shunned by the entire train, your friends, and the entire world… so you stay quiet. Right there, in those few seconds, you were taken in and out of your own head, and because you didn’t act, you began to worry about the past and the future.

“Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step.”

– James Allen (As a Man Thinketh)

Our mindset is our everything, it’s what separates a CEO from the person who gives up when the going gets tough. While we are more than our thoughts, how we think a major part of who we are, and getting caught up in your own head is a perfect way to ensure your thoughts will never be constructive. Here’s why you need to leave these thoughts behind.

You’ll See the World as a Better Place

If you’ve ever talked with an outdoorsy-type, you’ll know that when you immerse yourself in nature you learn to appreciate it more. The same is true when you get out of your head, instead of living in a constant state of point A to point B, focusing on the now opens you up to the beauty we all take for granted. The world really is an amazing place, but few people experience it because the thought never even crosses their mind. It sounds fake, but think about it, how often do you take a moment for yourself and forget about everything else, just for that moment?

“I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a good catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.”

– Dale Cooper (Twin Peaks)

Sometimes you just have to let yourself be overwhelmed by the surroundings to experience the now, so take a deep breath in, and smile. Which leads us into the next reason.

You’ll be More Relaxed

Obviously, telling your brain to focus less on the past and future will make you less anxious… But it goes much deeper. I know mindfulness is thrown around all the time, but it does have some real benefits. According to this study, the ability to detach from your own thoughts has been strongly linked to a decrease in stress. Just think about it, once you’re out of your head, you’ll be outside of the metaphorical house looking in and realize that things aren’t nearly as stressful as they seem.

Your Relationships Will Improve

Perhaps the most unattractive trait anyone can have is neediness. While nobody is completely comfortable with themselves (and nobody ever will be), solely relying on others for validation and not at least feeling somewhat comfortable with yourself are bad habits to have. Going back to the train example from before, you’re at your most needy when you’re inside your head. When you imagine possibilities through a lens of neediness, almost all of them involve getting rejected and shunned by those around you; and you know you’re better than that. When you’re out of your head and into the now, the drama of your world disappears for a bit. You realize that there’s actually nothing to lose by talking to her and that being rejected isn’t the worst thing ever. And that regardless of her answer, life will still go on, same as, or even better than it did before.

You’re Self Worth Will Skyrocket

One of the most common ways we get trapped in our own head is through a cycle of self-attacking. When we attack ourselves, we’re caught up in the worst of our past and as a result, any thought of the future is ridden with anxiety. A study found that by being in the now, we view the world through a non-judgemental lens, and because of that lens we stop judging ourselves so much. When we stop caring so much about what others think, we tend to look into our own self-values more… leading to a massive confidence boost.

You’ll be Put on the Path to Becoming the Best You Possible

Once you learn to harness the power of the mind, instead of immersing yourself in the bad of the past or the worries of the future, you can direct its power on you as a person. Humans all have the unique ability to become self-aware, so why not use it? According to an article by the HuffPost, getting out of our heads and into the present moment helps us look at ourselves and situation without personal bias, allowing us to take the best approach possible with what we have. Once we remove outside beliefs and our own personal bias, a lot of the static is removed when looking into our heads and something close to clarity is reached. While self-reflection may seem like a way back into our own heads, if used correctly and not done all the time, it can be extremely beneficial to know where we are, what we want, and how to enjoy the journey!

Now that the benefits are out there, the question becomes how can we get out of our heads?

How Can We Get Out of Our Heads?

We’ll break down this section into three parts, getting over the past, silencing anxiety about the future, and becoming more in tune with the now.

Getting Over the Past

Believe me, I know this part sounds counterproductive, but to borrow from Life Coach Tony Robbins, in order to shed your emotional baggage and get over the past, you have to go deep, embrace it, and then let it go. Whatever anxieties or past events may be holding you back, go there, and through a lens of unbiased-observation watch where your mind goes. This part may hurt, but it’s the most crucial step if the past is the reason you’re still stuck in your head. Once you’ve gone deep, bring yourself back out of it and tell yourself why you reacted the way you did. Once you rationalize the feeling it becomes far less scary. For some reason, if the problem still hasn’t gone away or gets worse, talk to a psychiatrist, they are far more qualified than any article could ever be.

Silencing Anxiety of the Future

I told myself I wouldn’t preach meditation here, but honestly, if you take away all the stigma, meditation is an amazing practice for stopping worries. I don’t have to tell you that there are literally hundreds of studies like this that mention how meditation will help you thrive in life. Don’t even worry about looking up a guide, just find a comfortable area, get into the most relaxed position possible, throw on relaxing music, and concentrate on your breath for five minutes. That’s it, no chakra, no incense, nothing but you and your breath for a few minutes a day. I’m sure you’ve already heard the benefits thousands of times, so what’s stopping you from giving it a try?

Focusing on the Present

You can dive through your emotions or count your breathing all you want, but none of it will matter if you can’t live in the present from time to time. To start tuning into the present; take Dale Cooper’s advice and once a day, treat yourself to something small and forget everything else while you enjoy that one thing. Hyperfocus on it, everything about it, silence your thoughts for a bit and enjoy it, take a deep breath in and realize how amazing the world really is. There will always be time to dwell on your mind, but every day, focus on that gift and nothing else, then you will have taken your first steps into the present. Once you find a good balance between using your brain to think and to observe, stick to it and reap all of the amazing benefits.