Grooms: How To Take Better Care of Yourselves
Preliminary data indicate grooms may be at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19, as men tend to have poorer health habits compared to women.

Preliminary data indicate grooms may be at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19, as men tend to have poorer health habits compared to women.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be more fatal to men. CNN reported on March 24 that males make up 70% of those who died from coronavirus complications in Italy and 54% of total COVID-19 deaths in South Korea. Yet even without a global virus outbreak, taking care of oneself should be a top priority, especially for men who seem to have poorer health habits compared to women. While grooms are figuring out what to do next about their upcoming weddings, practicing healthy habits can ensure that they’re around to say “I do.”

Why More Men Are Dying From COVID-19

Medical professionals are trying to determine why more men have succumbed to COVID-19. Scientists haven’t determined any concrete causes, according to The Guardian, but they have some theories that may fit the facts. Unhealthy behaviors seem to be the key to higher death rates: More men smoke, drink, and don’t practice healthy habits such as handwashing. Men are less likely to seek medical attention when they are ill. MDLinx reveals that they’re diagnosed at higher rates with serious health conditions:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Lung cancer

Grooms and General Risk Factors

British Columbia’s Centre for Disease Control explains that people with chronic illnesses are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 complications. However, they also face a generally greater risk of dying earlier. That contributes to Canadian men’s lower life expectancies: 79 years versus 83 years for Canadian women. Harvard Health mentions that more men are employed in high-risk occupations such as construction, the military, and firefighting. Canadian men are three times more likely to successfully commit suicide, less likely to have significant social connections, and less likely to seek mental health treatment.

Staying Healthy and Beating the Odds

Understanding your risk factors is important. But don’t worry: This article won’t turn into a lecture or sound like a 1950s educational film. What grooms can do, however, is focus on potential ways to maintain or improve their health. Harvard Health suggests choosing one goal to tackle first rather than trying to make a ton of lifestyle changes at once, so pick something attainable right now. Simple steps are a great way to begin your journey, and many helpful resources are available to get you started:

  • If you use tobacco, take steps to quit. Several provinces and territories offer free accessible support for going nicotine-free.
  • People who drink alcohol should do so in moderation. If you’re concerned about addiction, check out this treatment guide from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction.
  • The Canadian government offers a food guide snapshot, plus some tips on how to shop and eat better.
  • New to exercise? Sports medicine expert Andrew Lavender provides several suggestions to get started as a beginner.
  • The Loop lists several national and provincial mental health resources.

If you’re dealing with food insecurity due to COVID-19, try Food Banks Canada’s food bank search. Each provincial and territorial government operates social assistance and welfare programs. Also, California-based Dignity Health supplies several tips for eating well if you lack regular access to fresh, healthy food.

Your Journey, Your Choices, Your Health

Life is precious. Besides your quality of life and goals, there are friends and loved ones who care and would love to see you stick around for a long time. Grooms also have a wedding to look forward to, whether or not COVID-19 has delayed their plans. Remember that change won’t happen overnight: This isn’t a race to see how quickly you can accomplish your goals. Nobody’s expecting you to become musclebound or become a whiz at CrossFit. If your first benchmark is eating one piece of fruit each day, that’s fine. The bottom line: Take care of yourself. The world needs you.

Simple Ways To Adopt Healthier Habits
As the years go on, it becomes a lot easier to fall into the wrong habits. A great way to succeed includes incorporating your significant other into the mix.

As the years go on, it becomes a lot easier to fall into the wrong habits. A great way to succeed includes incorporating your significant other into the mix.

As the years go on, it becomes a lot easier to fall into the wrong habits. Routine may force you to eat specific foods out of convenience, for example, rather than for the nutritional content of the meal. Luckily, it is never too late to practice better habits. A great way to see success from your goals is by incorporating your significant other into the mix. When you both are serious about adopting healthier habits, you can lean on each other for support throughout the process. Consider these suggestions to find the right ideas to reach your goals.

What You Eat

One of the best ways to get started is by focusing on your diet. What you eat plays a huge part in your overall feelings of wellness. Try to begin incorporating healthier options into your meals. Instead of making traditional French fries, consider cooking some sweet potatoes. Small adjustments can make a big impact. Focus on the foods nutritionists claim to be the healthiest, like eggs, broccoli, Greek yogurt, salmon, spinach, lentils, nuts, and leafy greens. If you’re not used to eating any of these foods, slowly incorporate them into your diet to see success.

How You Sleep

How you sleep also plays a big part in your health. A number of recent studies suggest that the average adult does not get anywhere near the amount of sleep he or she is supposed to. Experts agree that a healthy adult needs somewhere between 6 and 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. One way to encourage this is by giving yourself a strict bedtime and sticking with it. Try to limit using your phone once you’ve gotten in bed. Instead, read a book or newspaper. Studies show that phone usage before bed increases the odds of sleep disruption.

Exercise Habits

A growing body of research suggests that regular exercise can significantly improve your overall health and longevity. Not only does it help you keep weight off and feel your best, it reduces the likelihood of disease and premature death. While you may not have the time and stamina to start training for a marathon, there are simple ways you can incorporate exercise into your daily life. For example, you could take a walk every evening, or take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Ideally, you can find some activities that you and your partner both enjoy that you can do together.

New Skills

When discussing health, a number of experts focus solely on the body. While it is crucial to eat the right foods, get a full night’s rest, and exercise your body, you also need to think about nourishing your mind. As you get older, you are less likely to pick up a new skill by chance. This means you need to take active steps towards learning how to tackle a task you’ve never attempted before. Whether you want to play a musical instrument, knit, climb, or ride a horse, taking the time to master a new skill is a healthy and productive option.


Limiting how often you use your phone is also a good habit to get into. These days, most people rely on their phones for everything. One study has even suggested that the mind is subconsciously thinking about checking a phone even when the item is not present in the same room or is powered off. This means you need to take hard action to break the chain. Try to have at least one full hour away from any screens. Use this time to meditate, read, connect with a loved one, or whatever else will help you use your time well.

Break a Bad Habit

You may also have adopted a bad habit that you want to break for your health. Smoking cigarettes or the excessive consumption of alcohol can easily take a toll on your life. In order to live in a healthier way, try to avoid these behaviors. Quitting smoking or cutting back on drinking might help you feel a bit more in control of your life. Be forewarned that these goals can be very difficult to achieve, so be sure to lean on your partner for support throughout it all and make the steps you are taking to improve your life small enough to be achievable.

Adopting healthier habits is important for your future. Take time now to see what adjustments will help you reach your wellness goals and discover what you and your significant other can accomplish together.

Boost Your Health Before Your Wedding With These Dietary Tips
You should focus on your health and overall well being in order to look and feel your best on your wedding day, and eating right can be key.

You should focus on your health and overall well being in order to look and feel your best on your wedding day, and eating right can be key.

Preparing for your wedding can easily run you ragged. When you’re overwhelmed by all of the various tasks associated with planning for your big day, it can be important to stop and take a moment to think about your health. Foregoing your own wellness for the sake of your wedding can do a lot more harm than good. To walk down the aisle and look your best, you need to concentrate on your health and do whatever you can to stay in the best possible shape. Luckily, most of this comes down to what you eat.

By focusing on the right foods and drinks, you can boost your health without much effort. Look over these tips and discover what you need to include in your diet before your big day arrives.

Eat Healthy Fats

Brides and grooms all over the world spend countless hours trying to get physically fit for their weddings. Most, if not all, are also looking to shed a few pounds. While cutting excessive fat out of your diet could seem preferable, it might surprise you to learn that there are certain fats you should definitely be eating more of when you’re looking to improve your health. Avocados, for example, contain a substance called oleic acid, which researchers have labeled a “good” fat, and its ingestion can lead to a number of important health improvements.

Oleic acid is known as a monounsaturated fatty acid. Research suggests oleic acid can support heart health and reduce inflammation, both of which can be huge perks when it comes to looking and feeling fantastic for your wedding day! On top of these benefits, avocados also contain a number of vital minerals and vitamins, including vitamins E, B5, B6, C and K. Adding an avocado to your daily diet can be a great way to improve your health without sacrificing delicious foods.

Drink Some Apple Cider Vinegar

Recent years have seen more and more people turn to the power of apple cider vinegar. Also referred to as ACV, this pantry staple contains a number of health-boosting properties. Starting your day with a shot of ACV mixed with water can do wonders. Apple cider vinegar encourages the growth of healthy gut bacteria, helping to keep your digestive system operating in an optimal way. Outside of simply drinking ACV each morning, you can also use the liquid in a range of home beauty remedies!

One simple and effective way to make ACV a part of your beauty regimen is by adding it to your bathing ritual. If you like to take baths, consider adding 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to the water the next time you want to soak. When you sit in this mixture for about 15 minutes, your skin absorbs the healthful compounds found in ACV. Research suggests this type of soak can soothe irritations and leave your skin feeling softer, smoother, and ready for your wedding day.

Sip Some Green Tea

Finally, your mental health is just as important as your physical wellness. A cup or two of green tea each day might be able to help. According to experts, green tea contains theanine, which is said to minimize stress. Research surrounding green tea also suggests that regularly consuming the beverage might improve cognitive functions and critical thinking skills. The next time you are too frustrated to deal with planning, try brewing a cup of this tasty elixir.

To look and feel your best for your wedding, it is important to focus on what you are putting into your body in the weeks and months leading up to the big day. Be sure to consume the right foods and drinks to stay in the best shape and feel less stressed.


15 Self-Care Tips for Any Time of Year
Healthy self-care lifestyle concept with diet and fitness.

Effective self-care requires a healthy balance of taking care of your mind as well as your body.

Life gets hectic sometimes, and if you’re like most people, you just keep going along with the flow. You probably forgot to take care of yourself amid the holiday parties or following after-school activities, work, and family obligations. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter or end of summer. These self-care tips will help you keep a positive outlook when life gets to be too much.

Bodily Self-Care Tips

  1. Take long, deep breaths from the diaphragm to slow your heart rate.
  2. Eat healthy. There’s more than one reason to eat more vegetables, fruits and grains. It’s not just about staying healthy, it’s about having more energy and feeling better. But don’t forget to splurge on your favorites. Moderation is the name of the game.
  3. Cherish your rituals. Create special moments for the holidays, but also make daily rituals that add meaning to your life. Make the bed with your spouse every morning to remember to start the day together. Have time together with your family every night at a regular time to focus on each other. Ground your day with the ones who matter to you.
  4. Cherish your friends and make time for them. Have a night out when life gets tough and you need someone to chat with. Better yet, order in and have a night at home talking to your BFF.
  5. Make time for regular exercise. Sitting around on your couch isn’t only bad for your mental game, it’s not healthy physically. Find some kind of physical activity that you enjoy. Try out different sports until you find one that fits into your lifestyle.
  6. Watch less TV. Television robs you of your time, your goals and your motivation. Rein in the binge watching to get off the couch and do something else.

Mental Self-Care Tips

  1. Put the electronics down every day. Recharge your phone and your mind by giving yourself a break from being readily available and on call. Research shows that people sleep better when they don’t look at the backlit screens before bed.
  2. Allow yourself to feel your emotions. Don’t fight your anger or sadness. It’s said that “what you resist, persists.” Get it out of your system and move on to more positive feelings.
  3. Read more. Non-fiction expands your mind, while fiction expands your imagination. Take some time to enjoy a good book.
  4. Take time off social media. If you’re on Facebook and Twitter all day for work and then come home and spend time looking at the best aspects of your friends’ lives, you’ll probably start comparing yourself to others, which doesn’t help with self-care.
  5. Stay away from negative people. Surround yourself with people who will help you stay positive and motivated.
  6. Don’t be that negative person in others’ lives. Everyone has bad days, but don’t be the one who talks badly about everyone else.
  7. Forgive yourself. You have to give up the anger you have toward yourself for the mistakes you make. If guilt doesn’t encourage you to change, then it isn’t good guilt.
  8. Forgive others, or at the very least make a choice to stop carrying the anger around. Deal with what’s bothering you and keeping you from moving forward. It’s not easy to let those things go, but the negative feelings you hold inside are not hurting anyone but you.
  9. Learn to say no. Don’t feel as if you always have to say yes. Set boundaries and limits for yourself.

Self-care isn’t always easy, but it’s vital to your well-being. You aren’t going to have all the answers, nor do you need to. You just need to enjoy the journey of life, wherever it takes you.

Incarceration Statistics That Should Have all Canadians Concerned
The outside of a prison.

Recent incarceration statistics have shown a dramatic increase in Amerinds and Black Canadians.

In 2014, The New Observer reported concerns about the rising population rates of Amerinds and blacks in Canadian federal prisons. According to incarceration statistics, both races were highly over-represented in the prison system when you look at the overall population in the country. Two-and-a-half years later, The Torontoist reports, “There are 70 per cent [sic] more Black Canadians in federal prison than there were 10 years ago…” In addition, Howard Sapers, Correctional Investigator, released his annual report of the status of the prisons. He found that from 2005 to 2015 the overall population in the correction system in Canada grew by 10 percent. The Aboriginal inmate population grew by more than 50 percent. This phenomenon was evident in both male and female populations.

Who Is Howard Sapers?

Why should you listen to Sapers? He was appointed to his position as Correctional Investigator of Canada in 2004. This is his 11th annual report. He is not tied to any political climate, as he has served under two Prime Ministers and under five different Ministers of Public Safety. During his tenure in his position, his team has responded to over 200,000 complaints and calls. Sapers has provided testimony to many different Parliamentary Committees and responded to criminal justice reforms handed down by the government. He believes in human dignity and decency even for those who are deprived of their liberty. Sapers is an advocate for a fair and rational criminal justice system.

In his message of his annual report, he breaks down the incarceration statistics even further, offering some interesting statistics:

  • Twenty-five percent of the prison population is now 50 or older.
  • Only about 40 percent of inmates have a formal education of grade eight or higher.
  • Sixty percent of inmates have not graduated high school.
  • Sixty percent of female inmates require prescription medications to manage their mental health needs.
  • Seventy percent of female inmates report histories of sexual abuse.
  • Eighty-six percent of women in the prison system report physical abuse at some point in their lives.
  • Eighty percent of the male inmates have experienced addiction and substance abuse.

Is Racism the Problem?

The Torontoist reports that the high rate of blacks in prison is due to racism and over-policing. In Canada, blacks make up about three percent of the general population but 10 percent of the prison population. Indigenous Canadians make up 24.4 percent of the federal prison population but only 4.3 percent of the general population. This is not a problem just in Canada. In the United States, the numbers aren’t quite as pronounced, but African-Americans make up 13 percent of the general population and account for 37 percent of the prison population.

One local lawyer is calling for an initiative similar to the 1991 Aboriginal Justice Strategy that was created to address the growing population of Indigenous Canadians in the prisons. It offered restorative justice and diversion programs and alternative sentencing. In 2011, a report was issued that outlined the success of the AJS. It had this to say:
“Evidence that the long-term outcome of the AJS of ‘reduced crime and incarceration rates in communities with funded programs’ is being achieved is evident through the results of the recidivism study, which found a significant difference between rates of re-offending of AJS-funded program participants and a comparison group.”

Unfortunately, these same outcomes are not being seen in the prisons.

Are There Solutions?

Some might say that criminals get what they deserve. They do have to pay for their crime, but when you look at some of Sapers’ findings, one has to wonder if the solution starts with ensuring people have an education and that their mental health needs are taken care of. Women who are abused need help to improve their self-confidence and outcomes. Things won’t change overnight, but these statistics should concern everyone.


Men Need Mental Health Wellness Too
Sad man sitting head in hands on his bed experiencing issues with his mental health.

Depression affects people in very different ways. Some experience sadness and emptiness, while others experience recklessness and anger.

In Darryl “DMC” McDaniels’ new book, “Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide,” he discusses his history with mental health Issues, Depression, and addiction. He’s not alone in dealing with mental health issues. Jim Carrey has talked about his struggles with depression and addiction. Robin Williams ended his life in 2014, ostensibly due to mental illness. Former NHL player Theo Fluery has made no secret about his history with sexual abuse and mental health struggles. He said, “Reached out for help and my healing began.” Men are not immune from mental health diseases, but many men believe that seeking help is a sign of weakness. 

We all have bouts of sadness and times when we may not feel completely normal, which are all part of life’s normal ebbs and flows. Then, there are other times when you might struggle with mental health problems that can lead to serious consequences. Men, women and children can all experience mental illness, but symptoms can manifest themselves differently. When you can’t work, sleep, eat or have fun because of thoughts that are affecting your day-to-day life, don’t try and diagnose the problems on your own. A mental health professional is the only one who can truly determine if you’re suffering from depression, anxiety or another mental health issue. There’s no shame in getting help for a medical condition.

Symptoms of Depression

Most people associate a prolonged sadness or lack of interest in normal activities with depression, but there are many other symptoms that can manifest if you are depressed. You may be fatigued or have a loss of energy. Some people experience guilt and worthlessness or have problems concentrating. There might be a change in appetite or in your weight. Unfortunately, these symptoms could be from any number of health problems, not just mental health issues. To make things even more complicated, men may exhibit other symptoms that are not typically associated with depression. Some men feel physical pain or become angry. Researchers have even found that men who are depressed exhibit reckless behavior.

Depression is different for each person. Even within one individual, symptoms can vary in intensity over the course of the illness. Recognizing that there is a problem is the first step in treating the disease. There are many treatment options available. What works for one person may not be effective for another. Talk therapy is often very effective in stopping the progression of depression, but many people may need more intensive therapies or medication to find relief from the symptoms. Unlike an infection that goes away after a round of antibiotics, depression isn’t cured so easily. But it is treatable.

Help Is Available

The Canadian Mental Health Association has many resources if you’re dealing with mental illness in your family. Whether it’s you or a loved one, there are places where you can get help. Toronto is gearing up for a mental health conference in September, to discuss mental illnesses and addiction and how it affects all of us. The conference will feature more than 150 mental health experts from across the country who are coming together to create dialogue about changes in mental health. It is open to the public, but registration is required.

Advocates believe that speaking out about mental health issues is the only way to change public perception. Men have been taught to “suck it up” and just keep going on when things get tough, but depression isn’t going to go away by ignoring it. There is a stigma surrounding mental illness in our country. The only way to change that is to speak up and step out of the shadows. Men, especially, have to speak up and seek help.


The Connection Between Marriage, Happiness and Health
Getting married and having children can increase happiness in middle age

Getting married and having children can increase happiness in middle age

Over the years, numerous researchers have concluded that happiness often follows a U-shaped curve in people’s lives. In youth and the golden years, happiness is generally elevated while individuals tend to be unhappy in middle age. This phenomenon is often referred to as the “mid-life crisis.” Factors believed to exacerbate the situation include career and childrearing stresses typically peaking during middle age. However, according to a study published in December 2014 by Canadian economists Shawn Grover and John Helliwell, being married can help improve happiness in middle age and the benefit is often strongest during that period as well. Other studies have found improved health to be another potential side effect of a strong marriage.

Marry Your Best Friend

Individuals who have tied the knot are consistently found to be happier than single people. Yet, as reported by Helliwell and Grover, marrying anyone available is not the answer. They concluded people who realize the most benefit from marriage are those who marry their best friends. The study found this group receives the most social support from their spouses, which can assist in shielding them from the stresses of middle age, when help is often most needed. Those who named their spouses as their best friends experienced almost double the benefits of those who did not. Helliwell stated, “Marriages are forms of super friendships.”

Studies on Health and Marriage

In addition to potentially improving your chances for happiness, good marriages are also believed to bolster physical well-being. Over the years, a lot of research has been done on the connection between health and marital status. Here are examples of three studies.

  1. 19th Century Research of William Farr

William Farr was a British epidemiologist and one of the first scholars to propose a link between longevity and marriage. His ground breaking work was one of the first relationship studies of its kind and assisted in creating the field of medical statistics. Farr’s research involved French adults who he separated into three separate categories: married couples, never-married bachelors and spinsters, and individuals who have been widowed. He used birth, death and marriage records to help analyze the mortality rates of the groups at different ages. Farr found that never-married people were more likely to die of disease than married couples, and widows and widowers fared worst of all.

  1. 2013 Duke University Study

In a study on 4,802 individuals born in the 1940s, Dr. Ilene Siegler and colleagues identified some important correlations between marital status and life expectancy. They found individuals who were unmarried or did not have a permanent partner during middle age where much more likely to die during that period.

  1. 2013 Brigham Young University and Penn State Study

The results of the most extensive study ever on the correlation between physical well-being and marital happiness were published in 2013. Researchers followed 1,681 individuals for more than two decades. Authors Richard Miller, Cody Hollist, Joseph Olsen and David Law found couples involved in good marriages were much more likely to be physically healthy over the course of their lives, and marriage duration was not a factor in the equation.

Unhappy Marriages

Despite all the positive ways marriage can impact one’s life, research has shown troubled marriages can be harmful and even lethal to people’s physical and emotional well-being. A bad marriage can wreak havoc on one’s life, in which case staying single may turn out to be a healthier option. A recent study also concluded strained marriages may actually be worse for the heart than habitual smoking. Merely being married doesn’t protect your health. The quality of the relationship is what really matters.

Marriage is not for everyone and unhappy marriages can be very detrimental. However, there are some consistent positive links that connect happiness, health and marriage.

And, thanks to the Universal Life Church, getting married has never been easier. Have a friend or family member get ordained online to perform your wedding – it could just save your life!