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Expert Advice

7 Ways to Combat Mental Health Problems in Teen Boys by Arianne Granada     Talking about mental health with teen boys may be especially tricky because of their age and the way their brains are developing—especially if they're in the middle of a growth spurt. Unlike girls, who tend to talk about their emotions and ask for help, boys are often uncomfortable with these types of conversations because society makes it seem emotionally risky to demonstrate vulnerability. As parents, it is important that we help our teen boys to speak up about mental health issues. We should encourage them to talk to a friend or family member about their feelings and emotional issues ranging from stress at home and school to depression or anxiety. We chatted with Cassandra Simms, a psychiatrist who specializes in an all-boys residential treatment program at Embark Behavioral Health based in Chandler, Arizona, about how to help young men navigate through life with self-awareness and confidence.   #1 Unlearn the stigma  Mental health is still pretty taboo. We’re getting better about it, but for a long time, there has been a stigma around it being something to be ashamed of. This is often transferred down to our boys in society; they think they're weak if they aren't tough and don’t express their feelings. So it's important that we, as adults, don't make them feel ashamed of their emotions. Allowing them to express themselves encourages mental health awareness and makes a big difference in the long run.   Understanding their language Sometimes the kid you’re talking to is just going to be defiant, or they’re going to be resistant to saying anything or they just shut down. Regardless of how long it takes, make sure you let them know you still want to talk to them. They'll realize that pushing away isn't working, and that makes you gain their trust that you're not going to abandon them despite their behaviour. Make sure that you pass that first wall so you can make it to the other side. Using their words when they talk about mental health issues is important so that they know you listen rather than using something you learned from a textbook. I had a young patient who was a baseball player once who described depression as a water-logged ball. As we would talk about it, I would ask “How are you feeling, how’s that ball? Is it water-logged or not?" Because it gives you an idea of

6 Reasons to Visit Mexico’s Marvellous Yucatán State By Rosalind Stefanac   A recent trip to Yucatán State proved that there's so much more to Mexico than sandy beaches and ocean views. In fact, venturing inland on the southeastern Yucatán peninsula revealed so many historic gems, along with scenic retreats that offered a blissful escape from crowds and the hustle of everyday life. In planning your next adventure down south with your tween, teen or solo, here are six reasons to put Yucatán on your radar:     Cenotes are so cool These nature-made, deep-water wells (or sinkholes), surrounded by rock formations, date back thousands of years. They're filled with fresh water fed by rain and underground currents. Most of Mexico’s more than 6,000 cenotes can be found in the Yucatán peninsula. At the Zazil Tunich in Valladolid, you descend 20 metres down into a cavern to reach the cenote where you can swim in the refreshing waters (average temperature 75-degrees Fahrenheit). Here you can opt for a guided tour that includes a traditional Mayan purification ceremony. It’s magical!   It’s Taco Tuesday every day!   All that swimming in cenotes is sure to spark your appetite. Luckily Yucatán is home to some of the best tacos on the planet — at least in my opinion. Be sure to try the cochinita pibil (shredded pork shoulder or loin), a popular taco filling in the region. They usually serve it with lettuce, pickled red onion, tomatoes, avocado and habanero chilli. At the Kinich in Isamal, you can even watch the staff hand-roll fresh tortillas before your very eyes. It doesn’t get fresher than this.   You can be one with nature (literally)   At the high-end Oriundo Luxury Nature Villas, which opened this June in Valladolid, every detail in the guest rooms has been designed to harmonize with the surrounding jungle. Not only are the materials all natural but you’ll find trees growing throughout the indoor space, and plenty of windows overlooking the lush green foliage. If you’re on a tighter budget, the area has plenty of haciendas with accommodations surrounded by lovely outdoor spaces ideal for nature exploring.   The architecture is awesome   In Merida, Yucatán’s pedestrian-friendly capital city, you'll find colonial history evident in most of the colourful and lovingly restored mansions, many of which are open to tourists. I took a guided tour of the stunning El Minaret, which was built in 1908, and is also known as the watchtower of Merida’s centre. Aim to be there

5 Tips to Raise a Resilient Teen By June Rousso, Ph.D.   Teens today are faced with so much rapid change along with everyday academic and social demands. All of these demands can be very stressful at times. Our bodies naturally react to stress with a fight, flight or freeze reaction. However, we also can use our thoughts and emotions to develop resilience and better manage stress. This is where resilience comes in. But how to build it? Here are some tips for parents guided by the words of teens themselves from ChildResilient.org, a student-run non-profit organization born out of the pandemic.   Tip #1: Encourage a strong sense of self in your teen. If you have a sense of who you are, you can easily direct yourself towards and away from situations — even toxic ones. As parents, give more choices when you can, and encourage your child not to be influenced by social conformity. While it is natural to want to be liked by others, it's also important to live by your own will. Let them learn to think independently, regardless of the good and bad opinions of others. Help foster resilience as well as build your teen's self-confidence by encouraging this kind of independent thinking.   Tip #2: Don’t dwell on the past, especially the bad life experiences. While you never want to dismiss your child’s feelings, dwelling on the past prevents building up the strength to move forward in life. Children, especially teens, can be so sensitive to how they might have been judged in the past. Past opinions don’t matter and they need to learn to do things for themselves. Strengthen your teen's sense of self by teaching them not to be swayed by public opinion. With ongoing emotional reactions to stress — such as depression and anxiety — it is important to remind your child that these feelings are not all of who they are, which helps to keep your teen resilient.   Tip #3: Explain that making social comparisons is natural, but overdoing it hinders being a resilient teen. When we compare ourselves to others, we usually come out on the short end of the stick or take on an arrogant attitude of feeling better. Communicating that there will always be people with more of something in some way is one message, but teens can also learn that these same people can serve as role models and be inspirational. At the same time, despite the social comparisons,

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