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Expert Advice

Teen Wellness: 10 Tips from Tabay Atkins     16-year-old Tabay Atkins is on a mission to use his voice and platform to make a difference in the lives of others, especially with teen wellness. Currently a face of Nike, Tabay is also one of the most sought-after yoga instructors in the world, having taught the likes of Deepak Chopra and the Kardashians to name just a few.    His journey began as a young boy when he witnessed the debilitating effects of his mother’s struggle with cancer. A devout yogi herself, his mother was committed to keeping a positive mindset and maintaining her practice; and two months later was able to walk again. Tabay knew from then on that he had found his “dharma.” Today, he reigns as the youngest certified yogi in America and has blossomed into an accomplished vegan chef and reiki healer. Given all that he’s done at such a young age, we were curious to know his go-to tips for teen wellness.   Check out what he had to say below:     TIP #1: Set a Schedule   Setting a schedule will not only make it easier to incorporate the next nine tips into your life; it will also help you be more productive, make sure you’re getting enough downtime, and keep your everyday life running in an organized fashion. When setting your schedule, try to keep the rest of these ten tips in mind.    By having an efficient schedule, you will be taking a lot of the stress out by making sure you are doing everything you are supposed to each day—which will in turn be an act of kindness to yourself.     TIP #2: Get Enough (Quality) Sleep   Getting enough sleep is very important to stay well. As a teen, 8-10 hours of undisturbed, restful sleep is ideal. The best thing to do to improve your quality of sleep is to set a sleeping schedule. Know when you want to wake up and plan your sleep time accordingly. Try to have your last meal at least two hours before bed and limit your screen time to one to two hours before bedtime, to give your mind some time to unwind.     TIP #3: Have Controlled Screen Time   Like I just said, it’s important to limit screen time before bed, but having controlled screen time throughout your day is also beneficial. Improve your mental and physical wellness by reducing your daily screen time. Excessive screen time can lead to increased anxiety

3 Ways to Suit Up for Prom 2022 By Arianne Mae Granada Roll up your sleeves and put your dancing shoes on because prom is finally back! It is time to suit up for Prom 2022! (WARNING: Marvel reference ahead!) Still can’t have a sensation of the prom fever? Think of it this way: two years ago, Thanos snapped his fingers and took away the biggest events of your teen’s life — prom night, graduation day and spring break. And in a snap (pun intended!), they’ve all been brought back to life. That is their version of the blip. After 2 years of cancelled plans and dampened expectations, the long-awaited prom season is upon us once again. Prom can be a great opportunity to communicate and help you to connect with your teen. The highly anticipated celebration is set to be welcomed back with doubled excitement and 110 percent energy. Considered a huge milestone in every teen’s life, prom is definitely the special occasion they would invest their time and money on. Whether your teen is a first-time goer, a soon-to-be graduate throwing a “make-up prom,” or a hopeless romantic staging a promposal, it’s important that they put together the perfect ensemble to make it worth remembering. Along with failed dalgona coffee attempts and DIY haircuts, we’re leaving boring prom OOTDs behind in 2020. It’s time to suit up and welcome this year’s prom season with creativity and self-discovery. Whether you prefer an unconventional look over the usual prom dresses, or you want to put on a modern take on a traditional tuxedo, there are endless ways to style a basic suit and tie, and we are here to narrow down your options.  For switching up a classic The Slim-Fit Stretch Peak Lapel Tuxedo is a modern take on a fashion classic that will make anyone stand out at the prom venue. This tailored suit is available in a variety of sizes and is gender-neutral… because there are no rules when it comes to fashion!  For a chill night For a more casual look, this Slim-Fit Stretch Suit is available in five different colours including grey, pink and light blue, delivering versatility and an instant confidence boost.  For an instant upgrade TipTop.ca also offers a range of accessories from bowties to pocket squares in a variety of different colours so you can jazz up your look with a pop of colour. One thing the pandemic has taught teens and young adults alike —

7 Tips to Understanding Your Teen By Ishank Katyal Dealing with a teenager has always been the most complicated and challenging part of parenting—the significant change in brains and hormones, not to mention the impulsiveness and emotions that teens build after turning 13. External factors including academic pressure, peer pressure, social media, and many other problems adolescents face every day can affect them both mentally and emotionally and might restrain their relationship with their loved ones.  Here are some of the tips which might help you understand your teen better:   1. Listen to them Your teen will listen to you only when you’re a good listener. It requires a lot of energy and patience, but it is a key tool for improving your relationship with them because it builds trust and helps them gain self-confidence and self-esteem. 2. Avoid asking too many questions Kids become more uncomfortable when you keep asking them questions and it feels like an interrogation rather than a healthy conversation. Ask only those questions which are relevant to the situation, otherwise, they could get irritated and be hesitant to share their problems. 3. Give them space Just like adults, teenagers also need some privacy and space from the people around them. Try to approach them not as a parent, but as an individual and learn to respect their privacy. Avoid barging into their room whenever you please and teach them the value of privacy and personal space. 4. Make sure they’re not addicted to their electronics Do they find it difficult to put their phone down while studying or doing any important work? Try to limit their screen time (no matter how much they fight for it!) to give them a break from social media and the Internet. This helps them to learn to be in the moment and can foster some great conversations. Even a small gesture like putting their phones away and joining you for a walk can go a long way in bolstering their moods.  5. Treat your teen as an individual Yes, they may take after you or your spouse, but your teen is their own person, with their own beliefs and opinions. Letting them express what they think and feel without judgement will help boost their self-esteem while fostering a great relationship. It can also make for some excellent dinner conversation. 6. Be honest with them One of the best things you could do for your teen is to be honest. A positive parent-child

Wall of Bakers' Chef Jenna Hutchinson Shares Famous Cupcake Recipe Jenna Hutchinson, founder of Jenna Rae Cakes in Winnipeg and Wall of Bakers' judge shares her famous vanilla cupcake recipe. "Finding a good recipe for vanilla cupcakes can be like finding a needle in a haystack. The cupcakes need to be moist and flavourful, and the buttercream needs to be sweet—but not so sweet that it overpowers the vanilla flavour of the cupcake. Welcome to your new favourite vanilla cupcake recipe. Make these once and every person who takes a bite will be asking you to share the recipe with them". VANILLA CUPCAKES Ingredients: MAKES 16 CUPCAKES 1¾ cups all-purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar. 1 teaspoon baking powder. ¼ teaspoon baking soda. ¼ teaspoon salt. ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes. ⅓ cup egg whites (about 2 eggs). ¼ cup sour cream. ½ cup whole (3.25%) milk 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (see Baker’s Tip). Step by step Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cupcake pans with 16 cupcake liners. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and continue to mix on low speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture has the texture of wet sand. Do not overmix. Slowly pour in the egg whites and mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sour cream and mix until just combined. In a measuring cup, whisk together the milk and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the milk mixture into the bowl and mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 10 to 15 seconds. The batter will look a little lumpy. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each three-quarters full. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pans before transferring the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely. BAKER’ S TIP For the richest possible vanilla flavour, we recommend adding the seeds of one vanilla bean to the pure vanilla extract called for in the recipe. To collect the seeds, use a small paring knife to cut a vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using the dull side of the paring knife, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean.

3 Ways To Help Your Teen Cope with the Pandemic By Julyanna Trickey This pandemic sucks, we all know it. But how has it affected our teenagers and their mental health? How well are they coping with not seeing friends regularly, not playing sports and not getting to just live a normal teenage life? Everyone is feeling the stress of this pandemic but it has affected our teens immensely. In a recent survey by the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health and the CHEO Research Institute of 1,341 young kids, 61 per cent of teenagers have reported a worsening of their mental health since Covid-19 started. We chat with Dr. Mario Cappelli, a clinical psychologist with 25 years’ experience specializing in youth mental health, about our teenagers and how they are coping through Covid-19. This pandemic is hard on everyone but especially for teenagers. How has this pandemic affected teenager mental health overall? Overall, we’ve seen a decrease in the general mental health of teens. I think there is lots of well-documented evidence that Canadian, American and international teenagers are experiencing increases in anxiety, mood problems like sadness and withdrawal, and more recently we are starting to see an increase in more serious illnesses like some of the major eating disorders. I think that, without a doubt, there has been a substantial impact on mental health. But I don’t want to say all kids are equally affected because that isn’t true. And despite the impact on mental health, a lot of kids are able to do a lot of the things they normally do. This is an important statement because it tells us that there is a lot of resiliency amongst our young people. They have still managed to get through the challenges they have had to face and have managed to cope. But there are levels to it. There have been differential effects on young people who had a prior mental illness versus those who were healthy before, so you start to see some differences. Are teenagers who haven’t experienced anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems at risk now? In our own research, we have found that kids with no prior history of mental health concerns have reported increased stress, increased worry about the future, and an overall negative effect on their mental health because of the pandemic. But what they wanted for support wasn’t necessarily seeing a therapist or seeing a psychologist,

5 Tips to Avoid Virtual Learning Burnout By Rayyan El-Baf We’re in the final stretch of the school year! While the end of this year’s virtual learning is coming to an end, it’s still the primary method of schooling. Both parents and teens would agree that being online all the time is taxing, which is why we spoke to Alicia Cuzner, a teacher and course developer at Ontario Virtual School, about how students can avoid burnout. Although online learning can be challenging, it can actually be beneficial for teens because it provides them with a more flexible schedule, helps them practice time management, and gives them experience for post-secondary school, which operates in-class and virtually. While it can be frustrating for parents, Cuzner says you can support your teen by not hovering over them too much and instead, motivate them by keeping a schedule of important dates and assisting them in making a long-term plan to achieve realistic and manageable goals. While we don’t know what next year will look like in terms of online and in-class learning, Cuzner offers these five tips to help your teen get through this year and avoid burnout. Create a work schedule to break up tasks throughout the day. “Some schools have live classes, but generally the teacher’s lessons are around 30 minutes and then you have independent work. Independent work can sometimes make a student feel overwhelmed because they don’t know how to start or need motivation. If you break up the work into little chunks, it’s easier to complete the tasks on time. At OVS, all our lessons are pre-recorded so you can watch them whenever you like. Student’s use this to their advantage to schedule a time to watch the lessons in the evenings or weekends when they have more free time.” Set up a proper workstation - like a home office! “You don’t always have to work at a desk but try to keep all your work in one location. This way everything is set up and ready to go when you are starting your day.” Incorporate mini movements into your day “With the pandemic, the general population is not moving enough. This can directly impact your learning because your mind is working too hard and your body can cramp up. If you have a dog you can take it for a walk or do a five-minute stretch or do a quick circuit of active moments.” Don’t be afraid to take

What Every Parent of a Boy Needs to Know There’s no denying that raising kids is the hardest job out there. It can be especially challenging to raise boys as we navigate certain challenges that we haven’t really talked about as a society. That’s why we chatted with Investigative Journalist, Emma Brown, author of To Raise A Boy about what it means to be a boy and a parent of a boy circa 2021. By Julyanna Trickey What prompted your idea to write To Raise A Boy? I was home with my six-week-old son when the first Harvey Weinstein story broke. As I was nursing my son, I was scrolling through all of those stories and the flood of stories that came out after about men mistreating women. I asked myself how can I raise my son to be different? This question set me on a journey to talk with people from different parts of the country. I talked to hundreds of researchers, coaches, teachers, parents, and boys and men themselves. And what I learned was unexpected. From start to finish, was there anything that changed your original hypothesis about raising boys? Starting this journey, I thought that life’s a lot harder for girls growing up because of all the messages being aimed at girls about girlhood and being a woman. But what I learned was that this was an overly simplistic view and things are pretty tough for boys, too. They face a ton of messages about who they’re supposed to be, which can be really difficult for them to navigate. I was really astonished at the amount of shame boys feel when they try to break out of what we have traditionally told them about how to be a boy. I was also shocked to learn that this produces not-so-great outcomes for men and their mental health. In my book, I quoted a scholar who studies the gender of adolescents aged 10-14 all over the world and his work showed that boys in that age group face more neglect, physical violence, and sexual abuse by adults than girls do, which was so shocking to me.  It upended the way I thought about how boys and girls live through the world. The most profound shift for me was coming to feel huge empathy for what boys deal with and a huge desire for when it comes to my son and other boys to do better by

3 Mompreneurs Making a Mark Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of sources but for these three women, inspiration sparked from their journeys to find happiness, health and organization in their daily lives as moms. Shantelle Bisson, Adriana Gentile and Justine McDonald are three women entrepreneurs making an impact in the lives of those needing support to reach their goals. These women are experts in helping others achieve their best. Learn how each of these moms is making her mark. Shantelle Bisson Short story bio about your business My parenting book, Raising Your Kids Without Losing Your Cool, and the products I’m currently creating to work in conjunction with the book/brand, came about because I’m actually not very good at keeping my cool!  I’m a total Type-A, on-the-spectrum-OCD kind-of gal, and I find everyday tasks like parenting teens, moving, aging and breaking up to be pretty challenging.  So, I had to do something to help myself get through life with more joy, peace, and fun.  Enter me writing my first book, which will become the beginning of a series of life books to assist others in getting through this thing called life, or to help other people start off their parenting journey with more preparation, confidence and a lot less angst. How you came up with it The way I came up with the Without Losing Your Cool brand was from me getting my girls to adulthood with my cool still intact.  I realized that if somebody like ME could get to the other side of that difficult, challenging, ever-changing part of life, then I can and should help others do the same!  I have witnessed friends entering the unknown part of parenting years and knew I could support them through it and even help them enjoy it at the same time!  I am also a master at moving. I’ve done it 25 times in the almost 33 years I’ve been married to my husband. I actually LOVE moving and renovating and organizing. I’m always amazed to hear other people say that they don’t!  From things in my life that I have done well and things I enjoy doing where others do not, I felt that creating a business centered around helping people master their time spent in uncomfortable, new and unchartered parts of their lives was a no-brainer. Why it's important? I believe letting people know that it’s okay to lose their cool while they’re in the

6 Ways to Have Fun During the Holidays on a Budget By Olha Vovk It’s official. According to a survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, half of Canadians view 2020 as the worst year ever. It’s a small wonder since according to Statistics Canada, 12.4 per cent of local paid workers aged 15 to 64 were laid-off monthly since February. And, as we’re in the thick of the second wave of Covid-19, the situation does not seem to be getting any better. But there’s good news! You can still have a festive, fun holiday season with your teens, even if you’re on a budget. Educator and counselor, Sarah Fewson, recommends focusing on balance and positive well-being during the winter holidays. “Attempt to engage in outdoor activities, fit in exercise, and do not forget to spend a few minutes a day in mindful silence to remain connected to your thoughts and feelings.” Need more ideas to spread the Christmas cheer? Cultural and developmental service worker, Diana Prokofieva offers up these tips on how you can still enjoy the festivities of the holidays on the cheap. Bring in the New Year in the Backyard If you have an adventurous nature and are not afraid of the cold, welcome New Year’s Eve outdoors. Gather your family around a bonfire in your backyard, decorate your trees and spend time roasting marshmallows, sipping hot cocoa and singing Auld Lang Side at midnight. Start a family potluck challenge Parties may be out this year, so why not try a family potluck challenge instead? Each day a new family member can prepare a dish. Zoom your extended family members, exchange recipes with your friends and post your Insta-worthy pictures of your masterpieces on the Gram. Deck Your Halls Instead of buying a Christmas tree, incorporate home plants and decorate them with decor from a dollar store or Christmas ornaments you already have at home. Before you know it, the Santa hats, twinkle lights and Christmas stockings will fill your home with festive flair. Play The “Elephant” Game The “elephant game” is another way to save money on presents. Instead of buying gifts for the whole family, consider preparing one present per person, nicely wrapped. A host puts pieces of paper with numbers into a hat and gets every participant to pull a piece from the hat to determine their order of turn. Each player then chooses whether to open a new present from the bunch or steal the gift