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Expert Advice

5 Signs of Teen Burnout by Carol Bunting   We all want our teens to succeed in school, but putting them under too much pressure can lead to stress and anxiety. There's a risk of burnout if teens do too much at once—juggling studies, friends, family time, hobbies and chores. If you're worried about your teen's well-being, look out for these five signs of teen burnout.     They're not taking part in their hobbies Hobbies help teens take breaks from their studies and unwind with fun activities. They also often help them to socialize if they're group-based hobbies, and they can offer a creative or physical outlet for letting go of emotions and burning off stress. If your teen is neglecting their usual hobbies, they may be overworked and unable to balance school and fun. They might also not have enough mental energy to devote to hobbies because school consumes most of their time.   They're irritable It's common for teens to lash out or get frustrated with those around them because their moods can fluctuate as a result of their developing brains. However, stress compounds irritability, and if you notice the issue gets worse when there's a lot going on at school, your teen could be experiencing burnout. Perhaps they're irritable because they don't feel they're performing well enough, or because they're concerned about disappointing you.     They aren't eating properly Stress and anxiety can impact appetite. For some, it causes undereating and cravings for sugar and junk food. A change in eating habits could indicate that your teenager is struggling with their workload. It may be particularly obvious that stress is affecting their appetite if there's a pattern in their eating habits. For example, if they don't eat their dinner during the week but tend to eat well at the weekends, they could be feeling extra anxious on school days.   They isolate themselves Due to their irritability and desire for independence, teens spend more time alone in their rooms. However, if they suddenly start spending more time than usual isolated from others, especially if they're also avoiding spending time with their friends, this could be a sign that they're struggling.     They have insomnia Symptoms of burnout include insomnia. Your mind is so busy worrying that you can't switch off and rest. Teens have different body clocks than adults and tend to stay up late, but if the late nights are lasting right until morning every night, there could be something else going on. Look for

Back to School Tips: Internet Safety for Kids by Myla Pilao Now that the fall has sprung, children of all ages have returned to school for the new year. The use of digital technology and the Internet is a normal part of life for children now, at home — but increasingly in school as well. And while long-term trends had already formed, the COVID-19 pandemic saw such changes go into overdrive, with children across Canada spending an average of six hours a day of screen time every day, and some children even spending up to 13 hours per day on screens.     Life in front of a screen According to a recent survey, two-thirds of parents allow their children to use the Internet independently, and over 70 percent have admitted to their children engaging in risky online behaviour. With the increasing daily use of digital technology, it's critical for parents to integrate digital literacy and cyber hygiene into their child’s learning process. The Internet is a powerful tool offering a multitude of positive benefits, but it also has its risks. It is up to individuals to practice safe browsing habits that protect them and their families from malicious actors. This will enable them to enjoy all the positive opportunities that the Internet has to offer. To help improve kids’ safety and awareness online, Trend Micro, a global cybersecurity solutions company, launched the Cyber Academy, which offers 7–10-year-olds a series of video-based lessons and learning materials designed to upgrade children’s digital literacy skills in a way that’s meaningful and engaging. The Cyber Academy consists of Internet safety lessons that focus on passwords, two-factor authentication, security and privacy among others. These free 10-15 minute lessons can be delivered on-demand and are available to teachers in the classroom or a guardian at home. This tool is also available in eleven different languages including Czech, Deutsch, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Chinese and Arabic. Trend Micro’s Myla Pilao, Director of Technology Marketing and an avid advocate for the safety of children online, has shared a few tips for parents to keep in mind:   Have conversations about online safety in today’s digital world Encourage your kids to ask questions. Make them feel safe to share if someone or something online makes them feel uncomfortable   Practice Digital Empathy teaching kids to be kind to others online and offline is essential. Respecting others’ boundaries and privacy will make them recognize when someone is trespassing on theirs.   Teach children about privacy and password

Virgin River's Jenny Cooper on Juggling Motherhood with Acting by Arianne Granada     You might see her as a familiar face on television. Jenny Cooper has played prominent roles in crowd-favourite shows like Grey's Anatomy, Open Heart, 24, Law and Order True Crime: The Menedez Murders, Scandal, NCIS, and CSI: Miami. Currently, she is starring as Joey Barnes in the Netflix series Virgin River, which is based on the long-running series of novels by New York Times bestseller Robyn Carr. When she's not starring on Virgin River, Jenny Cooper is raising her three kids in Los Angeles with her husband. We had the chance to talk to Jenny about how she balances work and family life, and she gave us some pretty insightful tips for anyone else trying to figure out how to do it all.   Tell us a bit about your character in Virgin River.  Joey is Mel's older, protective sister who, when the series started, seemed like she had it all together and was there mostly to support Mel. But we have seen through subsequent seasons that she was hiding a lot from her sister, including the state of her marriage.    Virgin River has tackled issues like postpartum depression, cancer, sexual assault, pregnancies at an older age, grief, and domestic violence that many women and parents could relate to. Do you think this openness and honesty to real-life situations contributed to the show’s success?     It's so hard to say what contributes to any show's success or failure. In our case, it feels like it was the right show at the right time. There's so much unrest in the world right now, I think our audience wants to believe that a place like Virgin River actually exists, with people who are kind and generous towards one another. And it seems like the larger issues that are tackled in the show work in part because of the beautiful performances of the cast, because of the love people have for these characters, and, as you said, because many of us have experienced these kinds of challenges, so it's always inspiring to see someone work through a dark time and come out on the other side.   Joey is Mel’s sister and go-to person for advice. What can you say about their sisterly love and how do you think they maintain their strong bond despite their distance? I think they have the kind of relationship where they are always at the forefront of each

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