Welcome to the vibrant autumn season in Canada! As the leaves change colours, the country transforms into a breathtaking landscape of yellows, oranges, and reds. If you’re looking to discover the the best places to visit in fall Canada, here are the best places to visit in fall in Canada for beautiful colours. These  must-see destinations are the best places where you can experience the magic of fall foliage.

The Best Places to Visit in Fall Canada for Beautiful Colours

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta

Discover one of the best places to visit in fall Canada at Moraine Lake in Alberta’s Banff National Park. Immerse yourself in the stunning fall foliage of the Rocky Mountains, with vibrant hues of yellow aspens and red sub-alpine larch trees. Hike the Banff Legacy Trail, go mountain biking, or enjoy a scenic dinner train ride through the colorful trees. Don’t miss the breathtaking views from the Banff Gondola, showcasing the golden, yellow, and green colors of the season.

Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

Algonquin Provincial Park offers a picturesque landscape with colorful forests, rolling hills, and serene lakes. Visit between late September and early October to witness the trees bursting into brilliant hues of red, orange, and yellow. Lose yourself in the wilderness, surrounded by the songs of birds and the rustling of leaves.

Photo by Jaime Dantas on Unsplash

Niagara Parkway, Ontario

Drive along the historic Niagara Parkway, one of the best places to visit in the Fall in Canada, following the curves of the Niagara River. Experience a gallery of Impressionist paintings with maple trees creating a changing panorama of gold, orange, and red. Stop at Heights Park in Queenston for an impressive vista of the river and Lake Ontario.

Photo by Susan Flynn on Unsplash

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Victoria’s Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island is a serene oasis showcasing vibrant maples and golden chrysanthemums. Visit between late September and mid-October to enjoy the garden’s Japanese section, bursting with color. Explore nearby Pacific Rim National Park for outdoor adventures amidst the autumn foliage.

Photo Credit

Laurentian Mountains, Quebec

During the first half of October, indulge in the breathtaking autumn scenery in the heart of Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains. Locals affectionately call this season “les couleurs,” which translates to “the colors” in French, reflecting their awe at the dazzling hues created by the golden birch trees and sugar maples.

The majestic mountains, rolling hills, and serene lakes of Mont Tremblant offer an ideal backdrop for outdoor adventures such as hiking and paddling. Escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the natural splendor of fall. Additionally, the region’s diverse culture ensures you’ll find a variety of delectable cuisines to fuel your explorations. Come and experience the vibrant tapestry of colors in Mont Tremblant, a true gem of fall foliage in Quebec, Canada.

Photo by Anaïs kowalczyk on Unsplash

Fundy Coastal Drive, New Brunswick

Experience the diverse colors of New Brunswick’s trees along the Fundy Coastal Drive, one of the best places to visit in the Fall in Canada. Witness shades of yellow, orange, and red along the coast, complemented by some of the highest tides on the planet. Enjoy a maritime leaf-peeping adventure in this picturesque setting.

Photo by Abhimanyu Sarkar on Unsplash

Newfoundland and Labrador

Explore the dramatic forest-covered mountains, freshwater fjords, and rugged shorelines of Gros Morne National Park, a top place to visit in the Fall in Canada. Witness the striking colors of autumn, with reds among the yellow moss and moose roaming the land. Hike the Baker’s Brook Falls or Western Brook Pond trails or experience the canopy of color from a zip-line with Marble Zip Tours.

Photo credit

Confederation Trail, Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island offers a prolonged fall foliage period due to its moderate climate, making it one of the best places to visit in Canada in the Fall. Enjoy vibrant apricot-orange sugar maples, red cherry trees, and yellow beech and birch trees. Explore the colors while hiking the Confederation Trail and savor the beauty of the season.

Photo by

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Embark on a scenic road trip along Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail, one of the best places to enjoy fall colours in Canada. Marvel at the breathtaking vistas from multiple lookout points and hiking trails in Highlands National Park. Experience the unique Gaelic culture and lively pub atmosphere, making your fall journey unforgettable.

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore these enchanting destinations and immerse yourself in the beauty of Canada’s fall foliage. Happy leaf-peeping!


Is your child starting university? My child is starting university and I’m emotional! Parents, you are feeling so many different emotions right now as your child goes off to college or university. I didn’t have a chance to write this last year, when my son was about to start the first year of university… and as I watch others see their first child going to university or college, I’m reminded of our journey.

You’ll find yourself filled with a mix of emotions about this new phase of life for you, as well as the adventure your child is about to embark on. Whether your child is going to university or college and will live on campus, or will remain living at home and commuting, your experience may be similar. One thing is certain; you’ll be reflecting on all you’ve done to raise your child to get to this pivotal point in their lives, this remarkable milestone of entering college/university years.

My Child is Starting University! Did I do enough?

As you both enter this new phase of life, you may be left highly emotional and asking yourself:

Have I prepared them for being on their own?

Have I given enough guidance for them? To make their own good decisions? To distinguish right from wrong?

Have I instilled values and principles that truly matter?

Will they make wise choices?

Are they responsible, resilient, and self-sufficient?

Have all the lessons we’ve given taken root?

Did we raise them well enough for them to face all that university life will present?

All the emotions coming rushing.

It’s only natural to feel emotional when your child is starting university or going away to college. Now, I feel lucky (selfishly) that my son accepted an offer from the University of Toronto, which means he is living at home and commuting. Had he chosen a different program, he may have opted to attend a university away from home but what he’s studying makes the most sense to remain in Toronto. So I can only imagine the additional feelings of moving your child into a dorm room, miles away with likely no new friends (yet), having to say goodbye and then leaving them behind as you drive home.

Though excited and thrilled for him, I’d also be devastated to be apart. I’d feel like a huge part of my heart was living outside of my body until the next long weekend where we’d be reunited.

Feelings of loss.

No matter how positive you try to be, parents are going to experience feelings of loss; a life change you know one day would come, but you never can fully prepare for until you experience it first-hand.  

What strikes parents the most is that overpowering thought that “nothing will ever be the same again.” Sure, your child will return home for weekends and holidays, but they’ll forever be departing once more. The newly gained independence into adulthood is so enticing that they may never go back to living under their parents’ roof. That probable reality can be overwhelming because you’re one step closer to having an empty nest… and then the feelings of “where did the time go” take over.

While we experience moments of nostalgia and sadness as our children grow older, we are equally excited to witness them embrace this thrilling chapter of their lives. They’ll be forging new friendships, gaining cool experiences, and assuming greater independence and responsibility.

Also feeling concerned.

And yet as parents, it’s only natural to also harbor concerns. University represents a pivotal social stage in a young adult’s life. Alongside huge academic pressures, there are peer influences and increased responsibilities. The teenage years can be a challenging and awkward phase. Teenagers crave acceptance, freedom, and independence, but they can also succumb to peer pressure and stumble into adult situations they might not be prepared for. 

Our kids will eventually encounter the stark realities of the adult world… and as parents, we worry! No matter how much you prepare, you’re never quite ready for them to leave behind their youth under your guidance. To parents, it feels like their childhood has sped by so quickly. We wish we had more time to revel in the carefree days before watching our young adults grapple with the academic pressures of university, hunting for part-time jobs, and moving further into adulthood.

For me personally, I often yearn for more moments together as mom and son. If only time could stand still for a while. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was his age, embarking on my own university journey?

Go off and explore, child.

Alas, it’s now his turn… to get out into the world as a young adult and embark on his own adventures and experiences. I’m proud to say that I believe my child is far more prepared for university than I was. He is armed with the skills and knowledge he needs to thrive in this new chapter of his life.

Go off, my child, and have the best time… enjoy your youth, be smart and have fun. You can do whatever you set your mind to do… work hard, be good to others and gentle with yourself, and you will succeed. The world is your oyster!


My Child is Starting University and Here’s Why I’m Emotional!

My Child is Starting University and Here's Why I'm Emotional!

You’ve probably heard the term hustle culture, used to describe the glorification of work. Those who adopt hustle culture have the urge to work harder and longer, working 50/60+ hours in a full-time job, or working a 9-5 plus or a side hustle or two. 

People who are part of the hustle culture say they have increased productivity and higher motivation leading to professional success. But along with that rise and grind mentality comes some negative effects – stress and anxiety, a lack of work-life balance and complete burnout.

According to Gallup, the majority of the world’s workers are still quiet quitting. Worldwide, 44% of employees said they experienced a lot of stress the previous day

Anti-hustle culture is about people being against the whole idea of hustling… and I’m all here for it! You CAN work less (smarter) and reach your goals. It IS possible to hustle less to be better productive. 

How did we get here? And how can we adopt anti-hustle culture into our work lives?

I spoke with Shawn Fink, a Business Strategist & Courage Coach who offers fierce business strategy and soulful support to women+ entrepreneurs who want to Brave UP and release fear & self-doubt so they can grow, uplevel or pivot their business for greater joy and revenue. She’s also a writer and nature lover and mom of twin teen girls. Book a FREE coaching exploratory call with her now.


Maria:  Tell me about the anti-hustle culture… I remember a time where it was so impressive to hear someone say how busy they were and how they were working on all of these projects, and they didn’t have time to do anything other than hustle because they were having so many side hustles. When did this switch happen to the anti-hustle mindset?

Shawn:  I can’t say for sure that I know when and I don’t even know that it has completely switched. I think people now more than ever want an anti-hustle life and mindset. But I think still people are caught up in in the hustle, and it’s because it’s  a hard habit to break; and certainly the systems that our country our world is made of makes it kind of like necessary to hustle. I actually wrote a book years ago called “Savoring Slow,” so my own mentality has always been more kind of leaning towards slow and not getting caught up in busyness. One of the things that we’ve noticed over the last few years since the pandemic and COVID and lockdown, especially from Lockdown, as people realize that they had more priorities than they had prior to COVID and lockdown. Everybody was like busy hustling, getting things done, off and doing this and that. And then the lockdown allowed for space – space to tend to yourself, space to bake bread…there was a lot of time to do things that people hadn’t done before. So, since COVID and returning to work, we’re seeing a lot more conversations and workplaces around mental health burnout, exhaustion, and quiet quitting. People are like, I’m not going to give you know the 150 I’m going to give  enough.

I work with entrepreneurs so and it’s hard to be an entrepreneur, especially if your business is still in that growth stage, to keep things afloat. You are kind of in a survival mode so it can you can’t get caught up in the hustle of it all. I know that everybody that I talk to doesn’t want that; they didn’t start a business because they wanted to have like a 9 to 5 life — they started a business because they wanted freedom. So, I try to work on concepts with my people that is power taking impact moves. I call them “Brave yes” power moves because it’s all about how I can make the most impact with the least amount of energy.

Maria: I almost envision someone on a treadmill and they’re going and going and going like a hamster turning the wheel, trying to get somewhere but not using their time productively. How can entrepreneurs and women still achieve success but with more purposeful time and energy rather than that hustle?

Shawn: It’s funny, your question reminds me of probably 10 years ago or so I had I had another business it was called the Abundant Mama Project and I was doing a lot of study in Buddhism and I had a Zen teacher and I remember specifically asking her well how do I be successful and go after my dreams and hit all my goals and still  live this like Zen life? She was like, “one thing at a time – one thing at a time.” I think that’s what we forget especially in entrepreneurship. We forget that there’s this here and now and that we can focus on the Here and Now and at the same time, one thing at a time to get to the next step to get to the next level.

I do think that it’s a balance and a struggle and I don’t think that I have it figured out and I don’t think that I’m ever going to coach somebody perfectly to get it figured out. But it’s a practice; it’s kind of like balance. We’re never going to achieve balance; it’s something that we have to work at constantly every day. Am I going to have balance today? It’s kind of like, “how am I going to focus on what is needed and important and also not get caught up in the should” and the shiny objects all of can add to our busyness because we do. It’s everywhere, what could be doing self-care wise? Travel? What you can do to your house. You can  get caught up.

Maria: I always bring it back to social media but I feel like social media can make you feel that way too because you’re constantly seeing what other people are doing and people are constantly selling themselves and hustling online that probably plays a big role too doesn’t it?

Shawn: It does and it’s a necessary evil right? Like we have to market our work especially as women entrepreneurs who are not going to have that upper edge, so we do need to put ourselves out there more even which is work that I do with my clients. But it’s all about two things you’re referencing. We have to be conscious consumers and be careful with the messaging that’s coming through particularly the messaging. There’s a lot of psychological selling and marketing tactics which I don’t buy into at all in my work and I think it’s probably because of my aversion to it in the market. Seeing it in my feed all day long, you have to kind of get to a point where you can see it and then not see. It’s like I don’t need that I don’t need that I need to focus on what is important and what I know will work for my business. Almost two and a half weeks ago, I took all social media off of my phone because I was noticing I was scrolling randomly. It wasn’t like I was not doing what I needed to do – I  was scrolling too much so I took it off and I have actually noticed a  big difference in my focus in in on my own business and my own creative projects. It comes back to the I’m not as distracted by all these messages that are flooding into my brain…all these ideas of the things that I could be doing. I’m staying on my path now. I’m still using social media – I still use it on my computer I still post. I want to clarify that I didn’t take an Instagram off because I didn’t know how to do stories any other way so that was the only the only little problem in my little plan!

Maria: You mentioned earlier some good advice about taking things one step at a time. What does that look like for you?

Shawn:  First of all, I’m somebody who will always have multiple projects going because I’m creative so I have  this project over here and I’m writing two books right now but I can only write one book at a time and I can only work on one project at a time and so for I think it  begins with  knowing your vision and knowing your priorities and then  getting  granular with what those look like  because again we get  caught up in the “shoulds” and the possibility of what everybody else is doing and maybe I should be doing that too. But if you can stick to your goals and your vision and work diligently on each one until they’re done each time. And getting support from people who can do the things that you can’t do or getting support to do the things that you  can do but shouldn’t be doing but don’t want to.

Having systems in place, time blocking – I do more like a project blocking time, saying “I’m working on a quiz right now from my website -it’s quiz block time.” I’ll work on everything related to the quiz and giving myself that time that gift of time to  be able to dive in and focus on that and not feel like I also have to be checking my email and getting on social media and responding to people. I need do this other thing and work on the thing get the thing done, then you can move on to the next thing! I know it sounds easy enough, I know it’s not. A lot of people are getting diagnosed with ADHD in the older years but in more in recent years last couple years and I always say, I don’t think our brains are meant for this amount of information that is coming at us. I mean it is a flood of information and it  is it is creating a lot of focus distractions and focus issues. So, we do need to give ourselves Grace that we weren’t meant for this go-go-go. Go slow allow yourself time to process and contemplate and give that space which is I think what I’ve seen with  taking all the social off my phone. I’m not feeling that flood getting a little bit more clarity from it.

Maria: And that goes hand in hand with the slow living concept too. Can you tell me what are some healthy ways to integrate hustle into your work life?

Shawn: The bottom line is I like to work with  ambitious entrepreneurs. I’m not going to lie, I want the hustlers and then I want to help them slow down.  I talk about how entrepreneurs  want what I call the “entrepreneur freedom trifecta”.  It’s space for time and freedom but it’s also space for identity and creative passion or creative expression freedom. In a business, especially in the work that I do, I want time to be able to write, I want time to be able to create, I want time to be able to focus on the things that I love that drew me to the work that I do. So, the number one thing when we’re thinking about hustle is, are you doing what brings you joy? Focusing on what brings you joy and what works in your business and doubling down on those things as opposed to all the tactics that might work. We can get caught up in that and that’s what creates the busyness. It’s like, I have to create this funnel and I’ve got to get this, I’ve got to put 10 social media posts out there, I’ve got to hit this content strategy. If it’s bringing you Joy and it and it’s working, double down on that! A lot of my work helps entrepreneurs identify those strengths both within themselves and then in their business so that you can have that impact instead of working on things that aren’t in your strengths. It’s like trying to fix what’s broken versus working with what’s already there. That can elevate because it’s such a relief to focus on what’s working instead of what’s not.

I can do what I’m good at, yes!  A good example of that is video – you’re a great example of somebody who can do video very well. I don’t do video. I can be on video, but I don’t I don’t produce it and that’s because I’m a writer. I was a writer to start and I’m a writer now and I’m through and through a writer. So, I own that as my strength rather than trying to hustle on grind to learn video put up video get all the reels. I might do one from time to time but I’m not going to master it, I’m not going to make that my thing because that would add in so much more hustle for me.

I work with my clients on, can you feel the friction when you’re trying to do something and that that’s going to feel like hustle. Avoiding those if you can offload them to somebody else. Or maybe you don’t need to do them at all and focus your priorities on what is very important and if you are sticking to it, you won’t feel like hustle – it’ll feel important as opposed to trying to fill your calendar or your schedule 9 to 5. Instead, you say “I only have two priorities today and I do the two priorities and then I get to go and read my book in my hammock.”

I think a lot of people, especially entrepreneurs who are still trying to shift out of that corporate mindset of “I must fill that time slot 9-5 or 8-4 and I gotta do this and that.” And they get to the end you still don’t feel like you’ve done enough! You still don’t feel like you’re arrived, and you wake up the next day with the same list… it’s the same list every day. So why not focus on what are the big priorities, I call them “the brave yes power moves” in my work. What is the power move that’s going to move the needle in my business that I can do today? And then I can go read or take a walk or do the dishes fold that laundry or make another call about the kid’s appointments.

Maria: Tell me tell me how fulfilling working with women entrepreneurs is?

Shawn: Oh, I’m amazed that I get to do this work I’ve been doing it for 10 years…not all with entrepreneurs but with women. It is very fulfilling. I love to help build and grow the person behind the business and then the business itself, so I feel very fortunate. I work with mission driven entrepreneurs, so they have big dreams and visions for how to heal and change the world, change systems. I feel honored that I get to help them do that because not a lot of people want to listen to that. They want to go back to conventional business stuff, and I don’t do conventional, I like the unconventional.

Maria: You also work with them to figure out what their strengths are and where they should focus their time?

Shawn: That’s the first thing we do as soon as they sign up, they get a whole bunch of assessments that they have to take and then we kind of pull out the strengths and their passions and what they’re good at. Then, we start to design their business model around that. Most people don’t pay attention to that when they’re building a business; you might build a business that doesn’t  work for your personality, your strengths and then now you’re stuck in something that’s not going to feel good  five years later.

Maria: Tell us where people can find you?

Shawn: I’m also on all the social medias – Shawn_BraveYes, but if you Google “brave yes”, you’ll probably find me!  

Perimenopause, also referred to as the menopause transitional phase, is the period leading up to menopause. Menopause officially occurs when you stop menstruating. While they are both stages within the same transformative process, menopause and perimenopause vary in terms of symptoms and available treatment options.

What are the symptoms and signs of menopause? What changes do most women face as menopause approaches? 

During perimenopause, you’ll start to experience symptoms of menopause. They may include changes in your period cycle, hot flashes, mood swings, sleep disturbances. Symptoms vary woman to woman and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment.

So how can women improve their well-being through the perimenopause phase?

Dr. Meghan MacKinnon shared with me how to know you’re in perimenopause and menopause, and what to do to make the transition easier.

She helps women improve their health through her evidence-based approach to hormone care. She believes every woman can overcome the rollercoaster ride of imbalances by harnessing the power of your hormones to enhance mood, improve energy, relieve stress, and live life to the fullest.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, and NAMS/ North American Certified Menopause Practitioner, she investigates a variety of factors that contribute to your wellbeing, will get to the bottom of your concerns, and advise on a comprehensive treatment plan that’s right for you.

How to Know What You’re Feeling is Symptoms and Signs of Menopause

Watch my interview with Dr. Meghan MacKinnon:


Maria: Let’s talk about menopause and perimenopause! How do you know you’re in perimenopause? What changes do most women face as menopause approaches?

Dr. MacKinnon: Sometimes I like to joke that there’s no welcome sign – “You’ve entered perimenopause – enjoy the ride”. Many of us wish there was because it would make us feel more comfortable and confident with understanding that there’s going to be this start today and then we’ll know that we’re in it and then we’ll have a whole expectation of what to expect. Frankly the only rule with perimenopause is that there are no rules. These are the years leading towards menopause which really means it’s a mixed bag of symptoms depending on the woman her own personal situation which makes it kind of tricky. 

Maria: What are some of the things that make you realize you’re entering this phase in your life?

Dr. MacKinnon: I think most people connect to like the most common symptoms that we hear about which are going to be like the hot flashes and night sweats conversation which do and can start well before your final menstrual period, while you’re still in perimenopause or the years leading towards menopause. Once we start experiencing cycle changes where we’re going plus or minus seven days so seven days longer or a week longer between periods or a week shorter between periods, that’s another clue that we’re in like I’m going to call it “Stage two or tier two perimenopause”. That tells us, oh definitely you’re in in there for sure.

But we have a lot of like vague symptoms that do start showing up much sooner for women as well. Some of those vague symptoms include things that can be very overlapped with a lot of other health concerns which is also where some of the confusion and mystery can sneak in for people.

One of those symptoms that I’m always watching for is sleep changes or sleep difficulties that start showing up in our late 30s or in our 40s at some point. Mood changes – so this could be new onset changes to mood worsening of PMS or it could be like a worsening of underlying mood stuff that we might already have going on.

Joint pain is another one of these kinds of weird symptoms that we don’t see talked about or we’re not thinking about from a hormone perspective but that can show up. Changes to libido; changes to body composition; changes to like vaginal health or vaginal dryness. These are all things that can sometimes fall under the umbrella of perimenopause. Then there’s of course just menstrual cycle changes in general so if we start seeing heavier bleeding heavier flow or menstrual headaches like these are all signs that stuff is different.

Maria: Not every woman is going to have the same symptoms either right?

Dr. MacKinnon: No not at all and sometimes it feels like you have symptoms and sometimes it feels like you may not and that’s actually really normal and like a very classic way that stuff will present because the whole process here is that we’re not seeing a change in hormones which is a drop off a cliff. In reality, we’re seeing ups and downs which give this mixed presentation where sometimes we might have more classic menopausal symptoms. And then sometimes, everything might feel normal and that in itself is a clue that yes we are in perimenopause.

Maria: You mentioned a bunch of symptoms but what are sort of like the ones that you hear women complain the most about when they see you?

Dr. MacKinnon: I think sleep is a common one so if I was like looking at what shows up for a lot of people, sleep and mood like irritability, those sorts of things show up a lot. Sometimes we don’t know and we can’t fully tell apart, is this the only hormone changes or is it also due to other variables that are happening in life? I think that women are commonly concerned about their bodies so there’s lots of conversation about that but that shows up on a lot of intake forms. Lots of conversations about the role of hormones involved with weight management and body composition stuff but those conversations start happening more in our early to mid 40s as well as like the heavy bleeding stuff. Then once we get closer to maybe the time of menopause closer to 50-51-ish, that’s when we start seeing more of the hot flash stuff to show up. When you talk about sleep, the kind of sleep issues you’re finding are waking up more during the night or they’re not having trouble falling asleep.

The kinds of changes should we look out for I think it can be very individual as well but I’m starting to question the role of hormones when we fall asleep okay, but our sleep is very restless – toss and turn – and we’re waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and finding ourselves unable to go back to sleep.

Maria: The hot flashes they’re a nuisance too! Is there a way to navigate that particular symptom gracefully?

Dr. MacKinnon: It’s interesting with hot flashes because I think that sometimes women are not super bothered by them and that’s okay and then sometimes, they’re extremely disruptive towards life showing up for ourselves and in our day-to-day. I think the main thing to know is that we have treatment options and supports to address your symptoms in a way that works for you and what your goals are. I think the big part here as well is recognizing that your menopause and perimenopause symptoms don’t need to be like hidden away because like even the question about “gracefully” to me kind of implies like this regal, “I must present myself the same way I always have”. I think that the more we open up the conversation into the changes that are normal and expected so that we can stand at the front of a boardroom in a presentation and be like, “sorry I’m just having a momentary hot flash give me a little moment and I’ll come back”… like that’s the kind of energy I want people to be going for at this phase of life where we’re supporting them through it but we don’t need to be ashamed or be scared about those changes. As well, I love that love that you mentioned treatments.

Maria: Tell me a little bit some of the options that are available to help like natural supplements or when should hormone therapy be considered?

Dr. MacKinnon: This is a really big question because again if someone is not that bothered by their symptoms… so I was speaking to someone this week she’s like, “yeah I just keep the window open a little bit and I  take off take my covers off” and she was like “I’m cool with that”. That’s fine if that works! We do have some natural supplements that have good evidence to treat hot flashes and night sweats, but I also really don’t like to treat the options that we have for treatment support in a hierarchy because what works for someone might not work for somebody else. It really circles back to what our treatment goals are and when we use the language that we should consider a natural supplement first and or if things are not that bad before we reach for hormone therapy in many ways even if it’s subconscious, we’re then suggesting that hormone therapy is not a safe effective treatment option. To me, the conversation really starts to be about are we candidates for hormone therapy and supporting and educating women on what are the risks what are the side effects but also what are the potential benefits that might exist for you so that we can embrace this conversation to help us to understand – is this a treatment and supportive strategy that you want to use at this phase of life rather than thinking about it as “I’m not that bad so I don’t need to”. Or it’s like, either this or treatment or that. The big difference here too is like sometimes we are talking a lot about symptom management in perimenopause but when we’re also thinking about this in terms of post-menopause so after your final menstrual period where we can still sometimes have symptoms. A supplement to treat hot flashes is going to help your hot flashes but it might not help your sleep, it might not help to prevent osteoporosis and some of the other studied benefits of hormone therapy. Whereas hormone therapy does have some other benefits that extend beyond just the treatment of hot flashes and night sweats. That’s where the conversation also differs a little bit.

Maria: So how long can this span be? How long do I have to go through this?

Dr. MacKinnon: We need the crystal ball here because I have worked with women who have little to no symptoms – little to no hot flashes, little to no challenges throughout this transition. It’s good to know that situation also exists. There are other situations where women have been dealing with hot flashes for 7,8,9 years and I think that that can be challenging because I know when we’re making decisions for our health sometimes it’s nice to know like, “I can deal with this for 6 months if I knew it was going to be 6 months.” But when we don’t know, sometimes that makes the decision making even more challenging when we’re trying to decide, “how do we support ourselves.”

Maria: Absolutely I mean if we had that crystal ball like you said if you knew okay this is going on for five years, I don’t want to have to suffer… What are three things that women who are entering this phase of life should take away from   today?

Dr. MacKinnon: I think the most important one is probably to think about this transition in terms of building some space into your life to think about your health in terms of where are we currently at with our trajectory for our health, our physical body… but maybe also our life so that we can use this as an opportunity to redirect and reframe the conversation for ourselves and our future health. That’s what I want for all women at this phase of life – that’s my mission I think is to try to help to support women in that way.

Number two is probably to educate ourselves. I think about if we were to send our daughters into conversations about or into puberty without having a conversation with them about it, we can only bridge that in a way that that makes a zero sense whatsoever. Making sure that we feel like we have an understanding about what exists, what could be normal, what’s not normal, how might we support ourselves. And making sure we access trusted well-educated information is important.

The last one is remembering that amongst this conversation about perimenopause and menopause, there can sometimes be a undertone of fear and fear can sell a program. It can sell a supplement… but we don’t need to be fearful about this time of life. We can think about it as a time of unsettling transition. We don’t have to like it, but we can access support to help us through it. You still deserve to feel your best at this phase of life regardless of the hormone changes that are happening. Enjoy the ride – try. We’re all in this together.

Maria: Tell everyone where they can find you.

Dr. MacKinnon: I’m on Instagram at @DrMegMackinnon.nd   and there’s a link to my website through there. I also run a women’s health group called the Pause Prescription so you can follow me on there to hear all about that as well.


.When your chakras are balanced and functioning properly, you are said to feel a sense of harmony, vigour, and overall well-being. But if your chakras become imbalanced, the flow of energy is disrupted, potentially leading to physical, emotional, or spiritual imbalances and health difficulties. This is why balancing your chakras is important for a happy life.

The concept of balancing your chakras is rooted in traditional Indian and yogic practices. According to these beliefs, the human body has seven major energy centers known as chakras that are interrelated and play an important role in physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The chakras are believed to be spinning energy wheels that regulate the flow of prana or chi, or life force energy, throughout the body. 

So how do you balance your chakras, or energies? Why is chakra balancing important?

I spoke to Francesca Bonta, who empowers people to live life with love, light and joy. She has developed her own unique practice of healing arts through her years of experience and intuitive abilities. Through her spiritual guidance, she offers chakra balancing, reiki, yoga and meditation, energy work, and more. 

She gives a brief overview of what are chakras and what is chakra balancing, and why balancing your chakras is important for a happy life. Watch the video!

Why Balancing your Chakras is Important for a Happy Life 

with Francesca Bonta

Maria: Welcome Francesca! Thank you so much for joining me today!

Francesca: Thank you lovely to be here!

Maria: Can you tell me a little bit about our chakras.

Francesca: I certainly can. So basically, chakras are energy centers in the body and there are many of them. But we typically focus on the seven main ones which are aligned through the midline of the body from the tailbone area the pelvis area the belly button area or solar plexus, the heart, the throat, the third eye or the spot in between the forehead, and then the crown of the head are just slightly above the crown of the head. Those are sort of our seven main chakras and each of them is connected to physiological functions in the body, emotional properties. We can support them with foods, colours, scents, energy, medicine, planets – there are all sorts of ways that we can balance out the body and find some sort of oscillation within these chakras that works for where we’re at in that moment.

Maria: So why is that important, to balance those out?

Francesca:  I think it’s essential that we have balance in our body. Our body speaks to us in so many ways. The whole idea of speaking about chakras might be new to people but I don’t think the idea of finding balance in our body is new to anyone. When we have more of this understanding. it helps us to be our own support. So instead of looking outwards to be rescued or to be helped or to be healed, we go inwards so that whole journey is from the inside out.

You know when sometimes people will comment, “oh you’re glowing!” It’s not because I have something topical on my skin – it’s because of the energy from the inside out. Over the years I’ve learned to go inside and clear out a lot of that energy that has been holding me back. That can be trauma experiences, it can be limiting beliefs, it can be just habits that you fall into. When we go in – which by the way isn’t always easy – to honor that truth and to see things about ourselves, then we can clear space. It’s kind of like a closet right? Your closet only has so much space – our energy body only has so much space too. So, if we fill it even if we put things in boxes in the corner and shove it away, eventually the closet gets full. That’s sort of what happens with all of us in our energy bodies when we don’t want to look at things, we just kind of shove them away but they don’t really go away. We need to clear it out and we can do that through movement through actual talking about it, through energy shifting, and there’s a lot of options for how we can clear out the space. Basically, I call it our energy bubble, but it’s actually our aura which is language that I think a lot of people are becoming more familiar with if there aren’t already familiar with it.

Maria: Can you give me an example like a symptom? Say a body symptom of like when maybe a chakra is blocked for example?

Francesca: First of all, I love the fact that you mentioned the word blocked because I don’t like to say that chakras are actually blocked. I usually say that they’re congested because I don’t think a chakra can be fully blocked because if it is, I don’t think we would be alive because energy moves through the whole body. I really like to look at the vibration of language and the moment we say blocked it’s like – gasp – we say congested. It just feels a little bit softer and so many people say that you know, “oh I was told this chakra is blocked,” well I don’t agree.

So, there’s two spots on the body that I feel it’s best for us to sort of connect if we’re not really understanding what this is all about. One of them is the throat chakra. Sometimes we need to do a presentation, or we need to have a challenging conversation and we just can’t find the words, or all of a sudden, you get like a frog in your throat. Or the opposite happens what I call like you know, verbal diarrhea, where we can’t stop talking. So that is a symptom of that chakra being off balance. For example, if we were about to do this presentation today and I got a frog in my throat or I just suddenly thought I don’t know what to say, I could support that chakra by humming or using spearmint or lavender oils which I actually happen to subconsciously use just before a session. Although I had no anxiousness about it, it’s just intuitively our body does things. You’ll find too that over time of playing with chakras and understanding your body, you just naturally go to things. Just like no one has to remind me, oh go brush your teeth, it’s just something I do every day. A lot of this just becomes very natural.

Another one that is a big one – the belly, or solar plexus chakra. Gas, indigestion, bloating – all these sorts of symptoms that could appear that is a sign of maybe a lack of trust, inability to make decisions, listening to that inner voice. This chakra is one that I think speaks to all of us and that is one of my main chakra areas that I have to constantly work on. I use a language of, “I have a sensitive belly” so I will go through phases where I don’t have any stomach issues and then I’ll go through times where I call it a flare. That is something that I always have to be mindful of, so that sort of can lead us to the point that balancing your chakras.

It doesn’t mean like, okay got their check mark done! It’s impossible to be fully balanced from head-to-toe 24/7 because we are all energy and things are always shifting. Even when I see clients in clinic and we do a chakra balancing session and I show them with the pendulum how every chakra is balanced beautifully and then I show them a sample on my own body and it moves to show that it’s not balanced, I tell them that is in this moment you are as balanced as your body can be. But it doesn’t stay like that because we’re all energy and things are always shifting. And then we’re human so I might be having a great belly week and then all of a sudden, I hear unpleasant news about a family member, or get a flat tire, and then these things are going to affect how we feel. Even though we might be feeling great, things will shift.

What I tell people is the understanding of our chakras and doing work, whether it be healing sessions or your own work, is that we create this bigger bubble around us so that we have more of a playing field. I use the analogy of those bubble balls that people play soccer in when we inflate that then we have this really big bubble of energy and we can see in all directions and we bounce so even if we fall, we bounce up. If something comes at us, it deflects because we’ve got this bigger bubble… If you imagine that soccer ball bubble being deflated even if you know a little ball comes at you it’s going to hit you and if you fall, you’re going to hurt your knee… I like to use those kinds of concrete examples so that we can put what’s energy and not tangible into real life.

After hundreds of people later, maybe thousands of people later, my analogies seem to work and it’s amazing how quickly things can shift in our world when we are ready to take those necessary steps. It’s beautiful to watch people transform in you know literally from the first session it’s amazing.

Maria: Awesome I love that analogy; I could picture that so thank you for that! What are three things that people should keep in mind?


1. Listen to your Body.  

I believe that listening to our body is essential and although I talk about all of this awareness of the body, my body still speaks to me on a regular basis. But not everything speaks all at once and if it is screaming at you, then you better press it listen and focus. That’s what we do a lot of times – how many times have you had that feeling – I had a feeling and you didn’t listen to yourself? Start listening to your body and start playing with simpler things. For example, your husband or your friends what you want for dinner or where should we go and eat, and our answer is, “I don’t care whatever”. Why not start listening – what do you actually feel like? What do you want, something spicy? Do you want something creative that you would never make at home? Do you feel like something kind of light and simple? Start listening and playing with things like that – they are a little bit easier for us to play with. Don’t dive right into something enormous, so get comfortable and start feeling out and then you’ll notice. For example even our bodies during the winter when where we live in Ontario, it’s very cold and it’s very dark and what do we tend to lean towards? We want root vegetables – lots of potatoes, carrots, these are root vegetables asking us to connect with the earth. We can’t go walk barefoot in the middle of winter! We need to support ourselves; our bodies are intuitively asking. With the lack of sunshine. We all gravitate towards citrus fruits especially oranges. Citrus elicits joy and joy is more easily found when the sun is shining, when we can walk by the water, when we go to the beach. During our winters we’re lacking this so intuitively we lean towards these things, and so when we start pointing out things that we do intuitively it’s like, “oh cool!” That helps to trust your body a little more. We are so intuitive, but we were never encouraged … we are allowed to feel things out and to have these kinds of discussions, even as little as five years ago for you and I to do this kind of a share, people would be like, “what are you talking about?” But in more recent times, we are being permitted to start being feeling beings right as opposed to thinking beings.

  1. Enjoy the process

Number two on my list is – enjoy the process. The journey of healing and finding balance is meant to be lovely. When we explore some sides of ourselves, there are things we don’t want to admit. Maybe you don’t want to see that not everything is butterflies, roses, rainbows and unicorns! But to heal, there are so many amazing options out there. If yoga isn’t your thing and the thought of going to a mountaintop and chanting “om” is not your thing, there are so many things that you can do. What I encourage people to do is develop a toolbox – just like in our real-life toolkit, we’ve got screwdrivers and hammers. And you have different size and different heads of screwdrivers. You’ve got like all these things that you don’t use every day. But if your toolbox is organized, then you know where to find things! Once you start playing, it’s like: “oh okay I can use a drill for this but you know what? Today I’m going to use the screwdriver. I don’t need the power drill!”

So, you find that there are so many tools that work, and I don’t use all my tools all the time. Sometimes I gravitate more towards oils, sometimes I do longer meditations, sometimes I’m moving my body more, sometimes I’m going for healing sessions more. I know that I have all these things to pull from and I sometimes forget truthfully, sometimes I forget things in my toolbox and then it might take a client or a friend or they literally just appear and it’s like, “hello did you remember me?” Have fun as it can be so overwhelming and that, the process of healing, can create anxiety and distress in the body. We want you to have fun – enjoy the process. Play, which is another big part of this… a lot of times as adults, we forget to play and have fun and be willing to make mistakes and to try something that isn’t your favorite. But at least you tried it, right? Just like when we were little, you’re encouraged to try all these different foods – maybe you’ll love it, maybe you don’t. Whatever you can always add to it later.

  1. Ebb and flow

The third piece to really keep in mind is that enlightenment or balanced chakras or wellness or however you want to term that – ebbs and flows. We live in a world of duality. So to be happy, we have to know what sadness feels like right, so full is to support individuals my mission statement is to support individuals to feel empowered navigate life’s adversities with ease and grace and let love light and joy flow through them. In other words, things are going to happen, we want to have a big bubble so that we can navigate all these things that come our way.

In any given day, I have great moments of pleasure like that absolute high, and I have lows. However, I try my best to live a life where I’m vibrating at a higher frequency so that even those really sad things – because in my family too we have death, we have illness, we have great sadness, there’s a lot of things that go on and even in my personal world and let’s not mention what’s going on in our world around us – we don’t want to get consumed by those lower vibrations. But balance is oscillating between. We’re living in Shades of Gray. There’s the full extreme of pure white light and then there’s the other extreme of that darkness. But we don’t live in black and white. You crash and you’re like, “I don’t know if I want to go on one more second.” But the thing is, we want to bounce out of that. What I noticed with people over time is that they bounce back faster so even something silly like, let’s say somebody cut me off on the road, in the past, that used to make me so upset. I would think about it and think about it for a long time, and it would just like eat away at me. Now, when things like that happen, it’s like, first I’m grateful thank goodness you know we didn’t have an accident. Then I approach that with compassion; maybe the person is rushing to the hospital, maybe they just got really bad news, maybe they’re just not well generally or maybe they have zero ability to feel or think about anyone else other than themselves. In all those cases, me offering compassion is much more supportive and therefore I’ve relieved myself of that weeks’ long of festering and stress over a situation because I had allowed it to consume me.  So that’s an example of how we bounce back.

Accepting that every day, we have these ebbs and flows, I tell people I want to see life more like this as opposed to those extremes, with our health to our moods to our experiences. Every day, have a little joy. A lot of times, people are like working so hard so that they can have that one week vacation or partying like they don’t go out for three months and then all of a sudden go out and they’re partying for like seven days! I prefer to have more of this; it’s a lot easier to keep this than it is these extremes. When you do have the extremes and you have that moment of like just elation, you recognize that even when it’s not that amazing, even this and that is still amazing. Those highs… and when you have that crash, sometimes you’ll sit there a little longer and that’s okay. The goal isn’t to bounce out of it right away; the goal is to oscillate more here. So those are my three main points around um finding balance in our bodies.

Maria: Thank you so much Francesca please share where people can find you?

Francesca: Well, I make it easy – my website is If you’re looking for me on social media, I am a little more active on Instagram @francesca.bonta. I’m on Facebook not as much but I’m there and I’m also on LinkedIn as Francesca Bonta so just type in my name and you’ll find me.  I do have in person appointments available in Toronto and Coburg and I have virtual appointments available around the world.

Maria: That’s fantastic, it’s great that you have a mix of in-person and online too. Thank you so much for joining me today! I really appreciate your time.

Francesca: It was an absolute honor and a pleasure. It’s always great to connect with you and I feel really blessed that I’ve had this opportunity to share with you as well as with your audience so thank you thank you so much.

Teenage girls are in crisis. A recent survey of more than 17,000 high school students found that 30 percent of the girls had considered suicide. 30%! That rate is double that of boys. What’s also worrisome is that rate is about 60 percent higher than ten years ago.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, the pandemic took a harsh toll teen girls’ mental health. The stats are real – nearly 3 in 5 (57%) U.S. teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless.

I had an opportunity to speak with David Magee, who lost his son to an accidental drug overdose and wrote the best-selling book, “Dear William: A Father’s Memoir of Addiction, Recovery, Love, and Loss”.

His upcoming book, “Things Have Changed: What Every Parent (and Educator) Should Know About the Student Mental Health and Substance Misuse Crisis” gives parents a clear road map for navigating painful struggles that many students face, including mental health issues, substance abuse, and more.

Our teenage girls are in crisis now – what can parents do to help?

Tell me what is going on with our teenagers?

Teens today are struggling like we’ve never seen before in this country. For a lot of reasons that we don’t yet fully understand, young women are being disproportionately impacted. I’ve seen the CDC report that says that there’s higher a suicidal ideation and depression that young women are feeling. When I’m in schools, I tell you Maria, I see that in real time because I’ll be talking to students about mental health and substance misuse and I’ll look across the audience sometimes in middle school and early high school, young women are just wiping tears streaming down their face. It’s time that we realize things have changed and we’ve really got to help them get out of this.

How much of social media do you think is to blame?

I think social media has a huge role in it. I can tell you that in my in my family, for instance including a dog why he says every single female in my immediate family has shared that at one time or another there has been some level of social media I don’t need this I can’t do it anymore impacted in their life. I’m not saying it doesn’t impact men and young men as well but specifically talking about what’s happening with young women today. Social media clearly has a role. It sets them up for both being objectified comparisons. There’s something real happening there, and studies show it but we have to take those studies in better, reach out to the to students and teens today to meet them where they are not to just say hey this study says it’s a problem, but also how can we help you?

What signs should a parents should parents be looking for?

I always tell parents, look, teens are teens and sometimes it’s hard for them to make eye contact. But if your teen just is at a point to where over a prolonged period they cannot and are not making eye contact with you, that that’s a warning sign. Maybe it’s not a mega crisis but like maybe you want to try to help figure out what’s going on, and maybe they need some counseling.

Mood changes – that’s what I always tell parents. We need to quit telling teens and young women in this instance, how they should feel…everything’s great, cheerleading them on…They don’t need cheerleading as much as they need us to ask them – how are you doing? They need us to ask them open-ended questions, to be able to let them explain to us where they are how they’re doing.

Those are some good tips on how parents can reach their teens – are there any other short tips that you have?

Let them be seen and heard.

The number one thing is they need to be seen and heard. My daughter battled an eating disorder and I’m proud to say she’s years in successful recovery now, but I remember her at one point standing in front of my wife and I and saying, “I need you to see me and I need you to hear me, what I am facing is real.” It’s as real as our boys. My sons battled with substance use disorder and being seen and heard is so critical.

Let them be who they are.

We want to tell our children what they should do – you should go star on the soccer team and make A’s and don’t you want to have this many friends? But the reality is, we need to find out what they want and who are they and how are they? And then, when we can get them having those conversations, it often can point us down the road of do they really need some counseling or therapy right now to help them manage these feelings?

Get them help.

What I would say to parents is, we know suicidal ideation and depression is spiking in teens today and, young teen women – get them help. It works. Counseling and therapy work. Don’t be afraid of the stigma get them in counseling and it will help them process feelings in a way that parents just can’t always do.

Why are you so passionate about all this?

Thank you, I’m so passionate I think because my family was broken in every way. When I got married and my wife and I thought we were chasing this American dream. We would have children… we had three. We wanted our children we just like all parents we wanted our children to have it better than we had it. What I didn’t understand though is that things had changed, and we ended up with two sons and substance use disorder, battling anxiety. They made a start in sports; I taught young adult Sunday school class… on paper we looked so great. But in truth, our sons were struggling with substances our daughter struggling with an eating disorder and I was struggling with substances. Ended up in divorce though I did ultimately turn my life around and remarry my wife. That just helped us understand this is a family issue Our children feel our stress and they feel our pains and often they’ll live that out. So my role I feel like is being called to help families and students normalize this and know, it’s okay – you’re not alone and we can do something about it.

Find David at

Why are some of us prone to negative thoughts? What are some ways we can turn that negativity around? How to change your mindset?

I consider myself to be an optimistic person, but sometimes negative thoughts can creep in and take over, and then it’s almost impossible to get out of that downward spiral. I wanted to understand why some of us are prone to negative thoughts… and by understanding the “why”, learn how to change your mindset and shift that negative thinking into a more positive outlook on life in general.

I spoke to Dr. Cheyenne Bryant about how to shift your negative thinking to be happy now. Dr. Cheyenne Bryant is a psychology expert, renowned Life Coach and a life coach and co-producer of MTV’s Teen Mom Family Reunion, a motivational speaker, author, and community activist.

As we continue to navigate through life and work balances, Dr. Bryant’s goal is to provide tangible advice to cope with mental struggles, self-care, and relationships. She’s able to examine her clients’ emotions and traumas to position them to a place of understanding, healing, and growth. Her mission is to share her expertise on how to lead a healthier, happier, balanced and more fulfilling life.

Watch my interview with Dr. Cheyenne Bryant:

Video transcription

Maria (00:05)

Hey, everyone. Today I’m excited to have Dr. Cheyenne Bryant, a psychology expert, renowned life coach, and a life coach and co producer of MTV’s Team Mom Family Reunion, also a motivational speaker, author, and community activist. As we continue to navigate through life and work balance, Dr. Bryant’s goal is to provide tangible advice to cope with mental struggles, self-care, and relationships. She’s able to examine her clients’ emotions and traumas to position them to a place of understanding, healing, and growth. Dr. Bryant’s mission is to share her expertise on how to lead a healthier, happier, balanced, and more fulfilling life. So I’m very excited to introduce Dr. Cheyenne Bryant. Welcome.

Dr. Bryant (00:54)

Absolutely. Thank you for having me. I’m excited and definitely always ready to talk about what I talk about all day, every day.

Maria (01:03)

Awesome. So I thought maybe we could talk a little bit about negative thinking.

Dr. Bryant (01:08)

Yes. Let’s dive into that changing narrative, reprogramming, reframing… absolutely. Love that subject.

Maria (01:18)

Okay, perfect. I tend to be an optimistic person, but sometimes negative thoughts can creep in and take over, and then it’s almost impossible to get out of that spiral. So first of all, why are some of us prone to negative thoughts?

Dr. Bryant (01:33)

I love that question, especially as, like, an introductory question, because this is the thing. So negative thinking isn’t something that we’re born with, per se, right? Negative thinking is something that is learned behavior from our environment, or we’ve learned folks deal with certain issues and life impairments in a way that looks a certain way or sounds a certain way. So negative thinking isn’t just something that we can hear from someone’s words. It’s also something we see from how they show up in their behavior, in relationships, as a kiddo, in our environment, as a kiddo. And so we learn how do we show up when something isn’t working for us, right?

Do we take on this negative perspective of, oh, my God, here we go again, this victimized mindset? Or am I learning in the household as a kiddo that when things don’t go right, I see someone victorious, and I see someone have a very positive, strong, convicted personality towards what looks like is not working for them. And we take on that belief, those values, and we grow up to be adults, and then we start to operate in that same space, which is called a norm. And so we create dysfunctional, distorted thinking norms, or we create very positive, healthy norms on how we look at life relationships and what we associate to problems, issues, or even problem solving.

Maria (02:55)

Interesting. Okay, so I guess depending on the environment that you’re raised in, and then you grow up and you become an adult, and then you find that you’re kind of always driven by negative thoughts, and then that leads to negative behaviors, too. What are some of the ways that we can turn that negativity around?

Dr. Bryant (03:18)

Love that. Before I fully answer that question. I love how you said it turns into negative thoughts and negative behaviors. I want to add one more piece because I always talk about, we have a three-part house. That’s how we think, how we feel, and how we behave. And so negative thinking affects our negative emotions and feelings, then affects our emotional behavior. So we’re in alignment with negativity now. And so, based on Law of Attraction, we attract more of who we are, despite of who we think we are. And if our three-part house is in alignment with negativity, what are we attracting more of? Negative experiences, negative relationships.

And then that becomes what? Maria? A vicious cycle of every time I get into a relationship, it’s negative. Every time I go to do a job interview, it’s negative. Every time I get on the phone with my mom or my sister or my girlfriend, it ends negatively. But your three-part house is in alignment with negative calibration. Right. And so that leads us to your question, which is, how do we change that reprogram that reframe that? Right. What you do is, and I give this homework to many of my clients, you pay attention to your sense of self.

Dr. Bryant (04:26)

When are the negative thoughts inflamed? And if they’re inflamed all day long, then you take a negative distorted Thought Inventory. On a sheet of paper, you write down all your negative thoughts. Those negative thoughts are going to lead you to triggers. Right. What is triggering those negative thoughts? Let’s get in alignment and come into awareness of the fruit of the thought, the root of the thought, not just the fruit. So thoughts are the fruit, and the root of what creates those thoughts is the seed we want to get in contact with. Let’s root that up. Right. And so what is the trigger? What is causing me to think negative. How do I show up when certain things happen with me?

Let’s take inventory of that. Then let’s start to reframe, reprogram, which is just recreating a narrative, your self-talk that says, okay, usually when I wake up in the morning and me and my partner, my partner doesn’t give me a kiss to say goodbye, right? I start to think all these negative things. Is he seeing someone else? Does he not love me? Is it that I’m not pretty up? Did I not look good in the morning? Was love making not satisfying for him last night? All these negative disordered thoughts that he is probably thinking nothing of is starting to come into your thought process. You change up that narrative that says, you know what? Some mornings he’s human. And so he may just forget, I am still amazing. We are still together. The day is still going to be absolutely awesome. I will see him when he gets home. I can enter a conversation that says, hey babe, just quick question. On the mornings that you don’t kiss me, just curious what’s going on with you? Not because I’m having an issue with you, per se.

I want to check in with our relationship and see if there’s something I can do differently that can shift it. Is there something that I should know about you? Because some mornings when that happens, it does this weird thing to me where it creates these thoughts in my mind that are not true. So I want to check with you so we can have this conversation, right? Because every problem is just a conversation away from a solution. But guess what happens if we don’t externalize Maria. The internal negative thoughts that we’re having, it becomes a negative experience long term. So now we get our stuff locked into this prison, this negative prison per se, for months, and guess what happens? Years. And guess what happens? Lifetime. And if we don’t stick it when we fill it and we don’t externalize when we’re feeling what we’re internalizing, it’s our problem, first of all, to get in contact with that. But we suffer the consequence of having a lifelong negative experience of life. When life is meant to be free, lived, loved, happy. You have one job in life. Yeah, one job in life. And guess what is to be happy.

And how can you be happy when you’re internalizing the things that you are having an illusion of, right? That may not even be happening.

Maria (07:22)

Sorry, go ahead.

Dr. Bryant (07:23)

I was going to say, if I can talk to Maria about my illusions, you can help me break down those barriers. We can create healthy boundaries. I can tell you what I need, which is a part of my friendship, love, language. If you’re my BFF and now I’m teaching you how to be in a relationship with me, some teach you how to be what I need. And if you love me and you’re capable. Why would you not submit to that? Why would I not submit to that with you?

Maria (07:49)

Do you find that a lot of people are not that self-aware that don’t realize that they’re in this pattern 100%?

Dr. Bryant (07:59)

It is two things. The first issue is awareness. After the awareness comes in or if the awareness is already present. The next concern is what accountability? Because without the two A’s awareness and accountability like the alphabet, you can’t go on to the next thing, which is the B, breaking the barriers and building the boundaries. You can’t do it. You can’t do it. And then the C comes in. You have compassion, you have compassion. It all goes into an order.

How to change your mindset

Maria (08:28)

So where does that you mentioned cognitive reframing. How does that can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Dr. Bryant (08:35)

Absolutely. So cognitive reframing, which happens to be one of my favorite tools that I give my clients and I give folks when I’m doing my speaking workshops and my wellness workshops because what it does is it helps you get in contact with your sense of self, right? Who am I, how do I think, how do I show up in the world? How do I problem solve? Do I even problem solve keyword? Do I even problem solve or am I just reactive? Because reactive is not problem solving, right? And then it also gets you in contact with what is your level of emotional intelligence? Because you have to have emotional intelligence to even cognitive reframe anything. Because you got to get in contact with how you show up emotionally and how do you deal with emotions. And deeper than that Maria, what are your relationships to emotions? What do you associate to emotions? Because what you associate to emotions is your experience. Let me say it again, your associations are your experiences. You want a different experience cognitively reframe your association to anything you want a different experience to. So why do I love the cognitive reframing tool?

Dr. Bryant (09:45)

Because it allows us to have the creative control that we were born to have and creatively control and create the experience we really want by reframing how we perceive that at what we are experiencing. That gives us the power that we already have. Let me reword that. It allows us to take back the power we already have. It allows us to stand in the power that’s already there, that sometimes eclipse, eclipse like the moon gets eclipsed by our pain, by our trauma and pain and trauma again, not negating that pain and traumatic experiences didn’t or don’t happen. What I am negating or what I am saying to use a cognitive reframing tool to do is the way that we have framed or the narrative we’ve given that circumstance for that trauma circumstance, that part of it is very much an illusion. Meaning we can create, recreate, tear down and rebuild what we need to feel the way we want to feel in that experience. And that is no way negating that experience. It’s not masking what happened. It’s saying I’m ready to heal. And if I’m ready to heal, how do I need to see this to be in a healing space?

Dr. Bryant (11:00)

How do I see this relationship to be loving? For I can be loving. Not so much so that and it may sound selfish, if not, it’s called the epitome of self-love. What do I need to do so that I can be in peace, so that I can be okay, so that I can thrive? What does that look like? And let me reframe my entire world, cognitively reframe my entire world to fit that result that I want. Easier said than done. But magic once you do it. Absolutely magic once you do it. Yeah.

Dr. Bryant (11:36)

So it all starts from within, right? It all starts from within. And then that affects everything else in your life, the way you see yourself and love yourself for sure.


I know it’s impossible, but can you quickly try to give me a few tips on how people can use that cognitive reframing in their lives?

Dr. Bryant (12:01)

100%. Take a self-inventory. Sense of self. Sense of self inventory has two different processes. Who am I? What does that look like? And then what do I need? What does that look like? The reason why you have to say what that looks like is because, Maria, I can give you a hammer and wood and say, I need a house. Build it. You can never build a house. I will come back. Either you would have not put one nail into a piece of wood, or you would have put all the nails in the wrong pieces of wood. And I will be upset either way because you did nothing with the tool that I gave you. If I’m going to give you a tool of what I need, I have to express to you how you use it with me. Because how you use that hammer with somebody else may be to build a home in another property or lot. It might be to deconstruct that home to build something else. I may not be in that deconstructing space in my life. I may be in the build up space in my life. And if that’s what I need from you as my girlfriend, as my BFF, I got to tell you, Maria hingles.

Dr. Bryant (13:07)

The hammer I need you to empower and build up. Build me up. I’m not in the teardown moment right now. I’m done being tore down. Build me up. And so that is the first process to the reframing after you get that information of who am I, how does that show up? What do I need and what does that look like? Then you go into setting healthy boundaries with the people who are already in your life. Okay, what boundaries need to be set so these people can operate in that space of what I need to be in peace and to be happy. And you have to be bold enough to set those boundaries with respect, with love. Nothing has to be done nasty or untasteful that is not healthy. And then the last thing is be very willing to pivot and prune. What does that mean? Pivot for what’s? Not working. And again, that doesn’t have to be ugly. It can be very loving and peaceful, may feel a little sad, but it’s okay. And then be willing to prune whatever’s in your garden that’s not multiplying. I mean, I don’t mean to go biblical, but the Bible says if it’s not fruitful and doesn’t multiply, it will be pruned.

Dr. Bryant (14:09)

It will be cut away and cut down. Hey, listen, use that principle in your life of garden. Look at your inventory of your life, your garden, and say that tree is not growing, that plant’s not growing. Let me cut away, cut down if I have to uproot and plant something different. Be willing to do anything and make whatever investment you need in your garden, in your world, in your life, so that you can obtain what we all are here for. And what is a human right? It’s a great quality of life, a peace of mind and freaking be it happy. That is what we are here for. And we can only get that by reframing what is a fantasy and illusion anyways? Here. Be playful as a child. Be as creative as kids are. Don’t limit your thinking, don’t limit your imagination. Don’t limit your fantasy world. And it’s okay to be in fantasy here. If fantasy here creates beauty externally, stay there. Buy real estate there. That’s where the market is.

Maria (15:10)

I feel so inspired. Thank you so much. Can you tell everyone where people can find you?

Dr. Bryant (15:17)

Absolutely. You can Google Dr. Cheyenne Bryant. I happen to pop up number one on Google, so that’s awesome. You can go to my website, which is  and _drbryant on social media. You can Google my book Mental Detox and there’s a lot of different stuff that pops up and websites on me. And you can also email me if you have any questions. I am very good. I try my very best to get back to every email when I can, but it’s contact Dr.

Maria  (15:51)

Wonderful. Thank you so much for your time. I so appreciate it. Thank you.

Dr. Bryant (15:56)

Thank you for having me and thank you for what you do. Folks need this information, and they need the tools in order to build that house and empower and not bulldoze and destruct. So thank you for being a pillar and being a vessel for that information.

Maria  (16:10)

And thank you for the work, the important work that you do.

This is my favorite recipe for the BEST gluten-free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting – lactose-free too!

This carrot cake recipe cake is quite simple to make and is delicious and moist, you can’t even tell it’s gluten-free. The moist cake and homemade cream cheese frosting are perfect for anyone, even those with lactose intolerance!

Arguably the best part of the cake might be the easy homemade cream cheese frosting. I use lactose-free cream cheese as I’m also lactose intolerant… but you can use regular cream cheese instead. The cream cheese frosting complements the carrot cake perfectly and adds an extra layer of creaminess and sweetness to this dessert.

The recipe includes ingredients that are easy to find and the steps are straightforward, making it a great option for anyone looking for a gluten-free cake that’s still delicious and satisfying.

How to Make the Best Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


For the carrot cake:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour blend – I do 1/2 cup each brown rice, sorghum, almond, and tapioca flours with ½ teaspoon Xanthan Gum
    Note:  *I buy my gluten-free flours from Bulk Barn
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated carrots, lightly packed

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package (brick) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


To make the carrot cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Oil two 9-inch round cake pans well, or spray with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add flours and xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt until well combined.  
  3. In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the oil, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, applesauce, and vanilla extract until fully combined.
  4. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until combined; add half of the grated carrots and mix until combined. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and carrots, only until combined – don’t overmix.
  5. Pour the cake batter evenly between both prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until the tops of the cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each one comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and allow to cool in the pans for about 20-25 minutes.
  8. Once the cakes have cooled, remove from the pans, and return the cakes to the wire rack to finish cooling.

To make the cream cheese frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and mix for about 30 seconds-1 minute until well combined and smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

To assemble the cake:

When cake is completely cool, top one layer with about 1/2 cup of the frosting, and smooth it out into one even layer. Place the other cake on top and use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Top with walnuts.

It’s best to refrigerate the cake once assembled as it has cream cheese frosting.



Yield: 10

How to Make the best Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

a photo of a carrot cake cut with a slice on a plate

This is my favorite recipe for homemade gluten-free carrot cake! This cake is quite simple to make and is delicious and moist, you can’t even tell it’s gluten-free. Arguably the best part of the cake might be the
easy homemade cream cheese frosting. I use lactose-free cream cheese as I’m also lactose intolerant… but you can use regular cream cheese instead.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes


  • For the carrot cake:
  • 2 cups gluten free flour blend (1/2 cup each brown rice, sorghum, almond, and tapioca flours with ½ teaspoon Xanthan Gum) *I buy my gluten-free flours from Bulk Barn
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated carrots, lightly packed
  • For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 1 (8-ounce) package (brick) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


To make the carrot cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Oil two 9-inch round cake
    pans well, or spray with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add flours and xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt until well combined.  
  3. In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the oil,
    eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, applesauce, and vanilla extract until fully combined.
  4. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until combined; add half of the grated carrots and mix until combined. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and carrots, only until combined – don’t overmix.
  5. Pour the cake batter evenly between both prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and allow to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes.
  8. Once the cakes have cooled, remove from the pans, and return the cakes to the wire rack to finish cooling.

To make the cream cheese frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk
    attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add the butter and whisk for under a minute until well
    combined and smooth.
  3. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and continue whisking until fluffy.

To assemble the cake:

  1. When cake is completely cool, top one layer with about 1/2 cup of the frosting, and smooth it out into one even layer.
  2. Place the other cake on top and use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Top with walnuts.


It’s best to refrigerate the cake once assembled as it has
cream cheese frosting.



The everyday practice of good habits is what defines wellness. And at the beginning of a new year, getting back into healthy routine is at top of mind. Combine that with our Canadian winters, a getaway to a warm destination is ideal.

When you think of a wellness getaway, what do you envision? Beautiful beaches, peaceful landscapes, relaxation?

Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island paradise! It’s nicknamed the “Land of 365 Beaches” because well, there are 365 beaches to explore. This idyllic Caribbean country makes sure that visitors aren’t just escaping and surviving, but also thriving and achieving better physical and mental health outcomes during their vacations. While they proclaim January to be Wellness Month, the island’s hoteliers offer unique wellness-themed getaways all year long.

Here are 5 Wellness Retreats for Pure Relaxation in Antigua and Barbuda.

5 Wellness Retreats for Pure Relaxation in Antigua and Barbuda

Carlisle Bay Antigua

Visitors to the Carlisle Bay Antigua resort can engage in high-intensity dance-based workouts in between morning Pilates and sunset yoga. Their wellness retreats take place in May. The resort has a well-equipped fitness centre, and the yoga pavilion is situated in a serene area of the tropical gardens. Their organic spa has a holistic concept that looks out for the welfare of the entire body.

Learn more at Carlisle Bay Antigua.

Photo: Courtesy of Carlisle Bay

Curtain Bluff

In April, Curtain Bluff will host two health and wellness weeks. Daily intimate group classes such as Vinyasa Flow yoga practice, pilates, tennis lessons with in-house pros catered to all levels, and daily spa treatments from an exclusive Health & Wellness Week menu will be available to guests. Aqua aerobics, a sunset meditation, a fitness walk through Old Road Village, and hikes to Boggy Peak (Mount Obama), Wallings Dam Nature Reserve, and Tobacco Bay led by in-house practitioners will also be available on a weekly basis.

Aqua aerobics with low impact, yoga at sunrise, and morning Pilates are available to guests beside the water. Herbal aromatherapy wraps are only one of the treatments available in the resort’s expansive beachside spa, which is discretely separated from the other areas of the property. The body and mind can unwind in a sumptuous cliffside soaking tub.

Learn more at Curtain Bluff.

Photo Credit: Curtain Bluff, Antigua

Wild Lotus Glamping  

Just the name itself has me intrigued because it’s so similar to the hit series, The White Lotus!

What better way to be at one with nature than by glamping on the beach where visitors are awakened by bird singing and the soft sound of waves on sand… ahhhh! Antigua’s only glamping resort, Wild Lotus, is in a stunning location, nestled on a nearly deserted beach with sunset views and surrounded by lush green hills. Wild Lotus’ fantastic beachfront location makes it ideal for wellness retreats as sunset yoga, rainforest massages, rhythmic drumming and Forest bathing will complement an outdoor wellness experience.

Learn more at Wild Lotus Glamping.

Photo: Wild Lotus Glamping, photo courtesy of Caribbean Journal

The Admiral’s Inn

The Powder Room is the English Harbour’s only spa where you can relax, eat, swim, and enjoy a full menu of spa treatments, including an open air massage table. Within The Admiral’s Inn in Nelson’s Dockyard, The Powder Room offers soothing and reviving treatments…. a vacation isn’t a vacation without some pampering. The spa’s facials boost the antioxidants that preserve the skin by combining the advantages of fresh fruits like papaya, pineapple, and banana in a customized mask. Learn more about The Powder Room at The Admiral’s Inn.

Photo: The Admiral’s Inn, Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, courtesy of Facebook

The Great House

The Great House’s Unwind Retreat is coming up this March! Guests will have complete access to the 26-acre property, which includes free local hikes around the surrounding area led by a local naturalist who is on hand to showcase the island’s local produce. The Great House Antigua also encourages hiking trails and exploring the island off the beaten path. Visitors are encourage to climb Boggy Peak or the Sleeping Indian for unparalleled views of the island, or explore Mermaid Gardens’ natural pools.

The hotel offers daily classes to all guests, which range from high intensity workouts, boxercise classes or Pilates and yoga classes. These classes all take place overlooking the crystal Caribbean waters on the meditation platform. The garden to table menu is part of the retreat, with all meals included in guests stay, as are daily smoothies and juices, made from the produce on the estate. The menu is curated to guests needs with local catch of the day and local ingredients used for all meals.

Spa services can be held in the Banana spa, in guests’ suites, or on their private terraces. All products use natural and local ingredients, and a spa treatment is included for all guests joining the retreat.

Learn more about The Great House Antigua.

Photo: Courtesy of The Great House