Is life getting to you? Here are 5 effective ways to de-stress and let it go

Meditating for just 10 minutes every day can help you de-stress and prevent the mind from wandering.

Stress is an inescapable part of daily life. Yet, if you are persistently stressed over a period of time, it can increase risk of cardiovascular disease. But don’t get worked up just yet. Research also shows that how we deal with stress is more important than the level of stresswe face. To put it simply, irrespective of how many or how few stressful events a person faces, it is how they think of the event that matters. Those who experienced a greater spike in negative emotions had lower heart rate variability and may be at a higher risk for heart disease.

So, if you are keen to deal more effectively with stress (no, hitting the bottle is not a good idea), here are some things that you can do:

1) Meditation: It is for a reason that meditation is suggested as an effective tool to de-stress. It can help you identify and consequently avoid negative thoughts, as well as improve concentration. It can also help the mind to stop wandering. And the best part: it can be practised anywhere. You can try sitting cross-legged and focus on your breathing or visualise a happy scene or chant.

Meeting friends can offer you new perspective on your problems. (Shutterstock)
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2) Socialise: Misery enjoys company, and so does stress. Meeting and talking to friends and family about your life might offer a new perspective to your problems, and make them seem not so insurmountable. Several studies have shown that people with fewer family and close friends have shorter life expectancy, with loners experiencing the stress of loneliness equivalent to a lifetime of smoking.

Leafy vegetables and nuts are stress-busting foods. (Shutterstock)

3) Eat well: You can’t beat stress on an empty stomach. Instead, why not load up with stress busting foods such as leafy vegetables, oatmeal, yoghurt, nuts, chocolate and blueberries.

Sleep can help us manage difficult experiences. (Shutterstock)

4) Sleep it off: When you sleep, your mind works in putting things in perspective. Previous research by UC Berkeley suggested that sleep helps us manage difficult experiences and dreams help sort events.

Music can lower levels of stress hormones. (Shutterstock)

5) Listen to music: Change the soundtrack in your head by listening to music that you like. It can relax your mind and lower the levels of stress hormones. There are also meditation sound apps that play calming sounds that help you centre yourself.

Plant-Based Protein, a Reason to Let Go of Meat

With the world moving towards a more harmonious existence with the environment, it becomes imperative that our food habits must change too. Consumption of meat, processed foods, or year around foods are not just factors that harm our health but they contribute to creating an ecological imbalance, as reported by various studies. So what’s gaining popularity amidst this fight for sustainable and better living are plant-based proteins. Call it a new food trend, this category of food is fast making its way into the culinary world, gaining more attention in the recent months.

With an abundance of plant based protein sources like chickpeas, soy, beans etc vegetarianism is rising steadily too. An alternative to dairy and animal protein, plant protein claim a lower carbon footprint on the environment. It’s a category of protein that is obtained from plants and provides all the essential nine amino acids that the body requires.

Plant-Based Protein, a Reason to Let Go of Meat

Plant proteins are said to have a more positive impact on the body since they come without additional saturated fats and other harmful trans fats that could be dangerous in the long run. Plant foods as compared to animal foods are richer in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients that the body needs for its proper functioning. Thus, plant protein sources contain phytochemicals that fortify the body against illnesses.

 

In a bid to become more sensitive towards the environment, one such attempt has been made by Canada. These include certain additions and eliminations to renew the current food guidelines. With a decision to eliminate diary and meat products, it aims to promote a healthy regimen that ensures nutritious intake of food and to discard food that is rich in saturated fats, sodium and sugar-based beverages.

 

Some of the sources of plant-based proteins include soy, lentils, pulses, nuts, seeds, quinoa, ancient grains like millet, etc.

 

‘Indian packages’ let more South Asians opt for destination weddings

When Sabrina Sandhu and her fiancé Kultar Rai first told their families they wanted a destination wedding, their Indian parents didn’t understand the concept.

“Or how we could possibly carry out each event without losing the integrity of the traditions,” Sandhu tells Global News. “Once we explained the benefits, and the fact that would mean less work for everyone, they were fully on board.”

The couple got married in September 2016 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico, with 150 guests in attendance.

kultar and sabrina

Sabrina and Kultar at their reception.

Courtesy of Sabrina Sandhu

“It was a simple solution to the challenge of hosting a wedding in Toronto where we would have expected over 800 guests,” the 26-year-old continues. “We wanted our parents and immediate family to enjoy the wedding festivities versus spending the week hosting and cooking.”

 

 

But part of the rise can also be linked to the challenges of hosting a wedding at home.

In large South-Asian populated Ontario cites like Brampton and Mississauga, securing a large venue for up to 1,000 guests can take two years, experts say. And instead of hiring planners or caterers, many families pick up the work for the multiple events leading up to the wedding — leaving little time to enjoy them.

Hindu and Sikh weddings also come with several components, for Sikhs in particular, a Sikh Granthi (a Sikh official) and the Guru Granth Sahib (religious scripture) both need to be present at the traditional ceremony.

Kultar Rai and Sabrina Sandhu

But not only are some hotels offering officiants because of high demand, Sandhu says the one who officiated her wedding, Sat Purkh Singh, lives in Mexico City.

 

“We wanted to get married and enjoy the process of planning the wedding, while also doing something that was different, memorable and meaningful to us,” Sandhu says.

Kultar Rai and Sabrina Sandhu

Hotels targeting South Asians

Both the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels and Palace Resorts offer Indian wedding packages for countries like Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Cessie Cerrato, a spokesperson for Palace Resorts, says out of their weddings so far in 2017, 20 per cent are Canadian, and 20 per cent of those couples have Indian ceremonies.

 

“All 10 of our Palace Resorts all-inclusive properties offer Indian weddings, and our most popular among them is Moon Palace Cancun,” she tells Global News. “Brides have been incorporating ‘traditional [Western]’ decor details to their events such as the sweet tables, and many are now doing two ceremonies, the Hindu/Sikh and a symbolic ceremony.”

Moon palace Resorts

A couple getting married at Palace Resorts.

Courtesy of Moon Palace Resorts

The package, which has been offered since 2012, features Indian catering, fireworks, drummers, mendhi (henna) artists, and a mandap (wedding stage).

Frank Maduro, VP of marketing for AIC Hotel Group of all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels, says the hotel’s Indian wedding package, “Ishq Rocks,” launched in 2015 for couples who wanted to personalize their traditional matrimonial experiences.

“We have local in-house vendors for decor, entertainment, flowers, make-up, mendhi, and catering,” he tells Global News.

hard rock resorts Indian wedding

Venue space at the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana.

Maduro says there are also out-of-the-box things couples are adding to their destination wedding packages, including drone cinematography, acrobatic performances and lavish grand entrances for the groom on either a horse or yacht.

Mixing the old with the new

But the true beauty of destination South Asian weddings is being able to mix both traditional aspects of a religious ceremony with modern wedding trends. Mahal says couples still take part in traditional ceremonies like the sangeet and mehndi night, but have many of their events outdoors.

“All old traditions are kept,” Mahal says. “It comes down to a beach/resort versus local banquet halls.”

 

Ashna Tanna, who tied the knot in May 2016 at the Moon Palace resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, says when it came to the Hindu ceremony, they were able to do all of the components they could’ve done in Toronto.

south Asian destination wedding

Ashna Tanna and her husband, Rikesh Shah, at their Jamaican destination wedding.

Courtesy of Melanie Gillbrand

The 26-year-old, who now resides in London, England, had 120 guests — one-third of the size her wedding in Toronto would’ve been. And with family from Toronto, London and Dubai in attendance, it made sense to choose a location everyone could fly to.

Indian destination weddings

“It was important for my family to have the priest who has married many of my family members be the person who married us, so we decided to fly him out,” she tells Global News. “Everyone was also dressed in Indian attire on three of the ‘Indian events’ and for the wedding lunch, we were able to have Indian food.”

The cultural divide

But for some couples, there’s always the initial hesitation from family members. Preet Kala and Aman Saini got married in January at the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun. For their 50-person Sikh wedding, Kala says the couple flew out a priest from Toronto for the ceremony.

Preet Kala And Aman

Preet Kala And Aman Saini

Courtesy of Preet Kala

“Both our families were mainly concerned about the religious aspect of the wedding,” Kala tells Global News. “It was more about having the Guru Granth Sahib Ji present, and to take the four lavaan [four hymns]. Once we introduced our families to the priest and had him explain how the wedding would take place, they were much more comfortable.”

 

She adds that for Canadian South Asians, it’s also about educating older family members about these types of weddings as options. And with so many customs that have been ingrained in families for decades, it’s just as important to start new ones.

Aman Saini and Preet Kala

“The entire family gets to be together. It not like the bride side or the groom side, everyone laughs, stays, and celebrates together.”