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Natural Awakenings Boston

Nina Manolson: Helping Moms Help Themselves

Jan 30, 2012 09:28AM ● By Kim Childs

Nina Manolson was exposed to holistic health practices early in life by her mother. As an adult, Manolson left a stressful career in television to live and train at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, in Stockbridge, where she became a massage therapist and yoga teacher. Believing that her clients needed more than physical help, Manolson earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology and later became a certified holistic health coach. Today Manolson is a wife and mother of two who focuses her coaching practice on family well-being through her Smokin’ Hot Mom and Healthy Yummy Kids programs. Natural Awakenings wanted to learn about her strategies for stressed out moms.

What kinds of challenges are your clients bringing to you?

Today’s moms are incredibly busy trying to run families, get their kids where they need to be, manage a household and work in or out of the home. The expectations on these women can be overwhelming and, as mothers try to arrange both the big picture for their family’s future and the day-to-day tasks, their own needs get lost. They may have a “to do” list that’s miles long, but they’re not on it. Add to that the fact that today’s families are more fragmented, so that circle of support with grandparents and aunts and so forth is not available to lots of moms. The saddest thing about all this is that women start to ask, “What’s wrong with me?” They also may seek to “reward” themselves with food at the end of the day in the absence of someone telling them they’re doing a good job. Unfortunately, the foods they often choose end up making them feel worse about themselves, so it’s a vicious cycle.

How do you help them?

The last thing I want to do is add to their task list, so I give them small chunks of self-care that are easily digestible in a busy life. The other thing is to be a source of support for moms with phone calls, teleclasses, and private and group coaching. My Smokin’ Hot Mom program is a seven step process that teaches them to put themselves first, make time for their own success, eat nutritious foods that energize them, practice self-compassion and mindfulness, ask for the support that they need and reconnect to their own sense of fun and sensuality. My background allows me to work with them on changing their mindsets, their eating habits and their lifestyles.

What are some of the changes you recommend?

On the mindset level I may have them practice statements such as “May I love myself completely just the way I am,” because we’re all so hard on ourselves. I also ask moms to make a list of things that really bring them pleasure in everyday life, because when you want to take care of yourself quickly you need to refer to something. Sometimes it’s things they’re already doing but they’re just doing them so darned fast; for instance, moms love being with their kids but their minds are often somewhere else when they’re with them.

On the food level, it’s really back to basics with more greens, and one of the things I encourage moms to do is to drink green smoothies for energy. Most of the moms I work with are exhausted, and that’s the easiest way to get your energy back. I also teach them how to make delicious, sweet treats that are healthy for them, which benefits the whole family and relates to my Healthy Yummy Kids work. I’ve just written an ebook called Feed Your Kids Well in a World that Doesn’t, which is available on Amazon.com or my website, SmokinHotMom.com.

Finally, I brainstorm with mothers about what kinds of support they need, where they can get it and how to ask for it. I also help them get realistic about the expectations they set for themselves.

How do you walk your talk, given all that’s on your own plate?

I’ve really worked my seven steps and the ones that work best for me include taming my expectations, getting support, having self-care routines in place and keeping those appointments with myself, just as I’d keep an appointment with a friend. I remind myself of the old adage, “If mom is happy, everybody’s happy.”

For more information, call 617-771-5121 or visit SmokinHotMom.com or HealthyYummyKids.com. Nina Manolson’s Radiant and Luminous programs for busy moms begin on March 7.

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