Expert Interview: Debbie Mandel

This week we are talking to Debbie Mandel, Author/Radio Host/Websites Host/Speaker/Fitness and Stress Management Expert. Her books include Addicted to Stress: A Woman’s 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life, Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul and, Changing Habits: The Caregivers’ Total Workout. Stress sometimes is a large part of our daily routine, but as Debbie shows us, it doesn’t have to be.

 

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I know many MoMs after delivering are under the idea that they will just bounce back to their pre-baby weight, I was definitely one of them, and then they are disappointed when after several weeks they are still carrying some weight. What is the best way to deal with this almost self-loathing feeling? How can Dads encourage their wives during this time?

First, it is helpful to counter this negativity by reframing it more positively. It took you 9 months to put on the weight and so, it has to take some time to lose it. You just achieved an enormously creative act. Focus on this amazing accomplishment. Then as soon as your doctor permits start your exercise program to get more toned and strengthen your core. When you strengthen your core, you will feel more stabilized and balanced. Activity Alleviates Anxiety! Also, exercise will help you organize your day around healthier eating – less likely to self-soothe with junk food. Dads can be reassuring that their wives are attractive and they can exercise with their wives and even more important, give their wives some free time to ease into themselves and relax.

The initial shock of bring home multiples can be too much to handle sometimes. I know when I brought my twins home that first night I spent crying in the nursery, fearing I could not handle it. What advice do you have for MoMs that have a similar experience?

We do a lot more thinking about living – than living. Many of us look into a crystal ball of negativity and get stressed. However, if we break down our goals into small, meaningful ones, prepare a schedule and see it objectively in black and white, what seemed overwhelming gets to be manageable, and even easy. In the beginning when a woman is hormonally up and down, tired and afraid of something new and challenging – all that enormous responsibility of now being a caregiver to multiples – she needs to ask for help. This is not the time to deplete yourself and prove how amazing you are, but the time to ask for help when you are physically and emotionally a bit more settled and can realistically identify what needs to be done; then the resiliency factor sets. A support system from dad to family and to friends – as well as community members – will be delighted to help mom on her journey. Ask for what you need and let go of the need to be “perfect.” Don’t allow the endless to-do list to keep growing to validate yourself. Shed a task or two because when you get to rest, you are actually more productive.

Sometimes Dads can suffer from post partum depression, what advice do you have for both MoMs and Dads during this time?

Everything changes with a birth in a couple’s life and men’s moods correlate highly with their wives because any mood, either good or bad, is contagious. First, it is important to be aware of what is going on. Awareness can help stop it. Then it is necessary to manage the small stressors you can do something about because they create a tipping point which overwhelm you. Food and mood correlate highly, so eating balanced meals is vital. Exercise is a potent anti-depressant and a true brain balancer. Light and music are great mood lifters. Combine music, light and exercise and you get a synergy. Friends and family can help out physically and with their positivism and humor – laughter breaks negativity instantly. If the depression gets more severe, see a doctor to evaluate. Also, keep in mind that women tend to marry their children. So, give him some attention too. Children do best when there is a couple who are in love and function as a team.

What advice do you have for stay at home MoMs that feel overwhelmed? What is is the best way to relieve stress in this situation?

This is the time to revive the hidden girl within before you became a wife and mother. Who are you? What is your unique identity? If you don’t know, answer the following questions: What are you good at doing and what do you love to do – that point where the 2 intersect? – Find that creative hobby (where you lose track of time) to help you know how you differ from others – I call that creative compensation. You will feel empowered and proud. The quickest way to shed stress is to move it out of your body while you are on route to turning your stress into strength. Just put one foot in front of the other. Be present to what you are doing and use it as an opportunity to stop all the thinking, that worry loop in your head. Even washing the dishes provides a break from negative thinking. This action cleans out the clutter. Make time for a few minutes of quiet space to close your eyes and breathe more deeply – inhale 2 counts through the nose, and exhale 4 counts through the nose. Think “with each breath, I now relax my heart.” You will feel calmer, think more clearly because you have oxygenated your brain. Smile deeply within. These meditative moments will help you to revive your true self because the first thing we all do on our own is – breathe.

Remember to hold yourself in good alignment – good posture because posture creates self-confidence. Quickest way to good posture: Shoulders back and down. You will feel less stressed and more empowered.

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Be sure to check out Debbie’s website and leave any additional questions that you may have either in our comment section or email us directly at multiplesandmoreblog@yahoo.com

 

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3 comments

  1. This was a great interview. I really liked the comment about having good posture…something I need to work on!

  2. great interview, and that posture thing works!

  3. Cindy (and Brian)

    "Activity Alleviates Anxiety" – I LOVE IT!

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