An “adrenal fatigue” saga in three acts

Photo by Milo McDowell on Unsplash

It all started with back pain.

More than ten years ago, a physical therapist treated me for lower back problems that had worsened after my second child was born. Stretching, strengthening, and massage eased the chronic ache, but I still threw out my back on a regular basis. Not from pushing a stroller uphill or hoisting a toddler into a car seat — instead, simply getting out of bed or brushing my teeth could nearly immobilize me for part of a day.

Eventually, the physical therapist suggested I might be suffering from inflammation, so she recommended a health coach specializing…

Protecting children’s relationship with food during the holidays

Photo by Yulian Karadzhov on Unsplash

While the holidays are going to look a little different this year, there is one thing we can count on: fears about indulging in food and gaining weight will appear at the table right alongside grandma’s famous cookies.

Even if your family refrains from commenting on calories, carbs, or body size, it’s nearly impossible to escape the pressure to feel guilty for enjoying food. And that’s before we’re bombarded with relentless sales pitches for January “resets” and “lifestyle changes.”

Weight-focused advertisements, magazine covers, and even jokes aren’t harmless, and our children are particularly vulnerable to the dangerous implication they should…

Busting dangerous myths about eating disorders

Photo by Ursula Gamez on Unsplash

Popular culture loves to toss around medical terms, inflating confidence in our understanding of certain illnesses. In a world that idolizes thinness and restrictive diets, it’s not surprising anorexia regularly appears in television plots, stand-up comedy routines, and click-bait headlines. Flippant references to a serious disease aren’t harmless. Widespread beliefs, stereotypes, and misunderstandings about anorexia hurt sufferers and those who care about them.

As the pandemic has triggered an increase in eating disorders, it’s particularly important to call out some of the most common — and dangerous — myths about this potentially deadly disease.

  1. It’s a white girl problem.” Nope…

Lessons from Common Sense Camp

When my husband and I decided to run our own Common Sense Camp during the summer of 2020, we set out to teach some essential life skills. And our plan worked: our kids gained competence and confidence in so many areas, from personal finance and laundry to emergency preparedness and cleaning. What I didn’t expect ? That I would learn so many lessons myself.

Slowing down can be really rewarding. I don’t like to sit still; my daughter once said my spirit animal is a hummingbird. So the quieter pace of lockdown life challenged me…

Instead of finding the right backpack or securing a carpool, parents can gear up for fall with some simple strategies for building resilience.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Back-to-school time has always been an anxiety-provoking transition for many families. “Will my children make friends and have teachers who ‘get’ them?” “How will my kids handle new academic challenges?” “When will I have time to attend parent meetings and fill out All.The.Forms?”

This school year brings a whole new level of fear and uncertainty, and we may feel ill-equipped to handle what’s coming next.

Parents are exhausted from a summer without childcare, camps, or getaways —…

Forget Zoom Mandarin class — they’re learning how to change a tire, balance a checkbook, and read a map

A family looks at a map at home.
A family looks at a map at home.
Photo: Oliver Rossi/DigitalVision/Getty Images

One of my favorite single-panel comics from Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” features a boy pushing mightily against a door marked “pull.” Above him, a sign announces the building as a “School for the Gifted.”

It’s an image I’ve thought about more than once since becoming a parent. As my kids — now 12 and 17 — got older, it became clear that they were, let’s say, heavy on the book smarts. Sometimes, when my husband and I would observe our children struggling with ordinary tasks, we’d joke that they could benefit from Common Sense Camp.

The joke was never…

Why we need to help teens and tweens unpack the makeover narrative

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

If you’re familiar with 1980s pop culture, you can probably picture Oprah Winfrey pulling a fat-filled red wagon on stage to emphasize how much weight she had shed on a liquid diet. Though she later expressed regret about what she called an “ego trip,” she has yet to acknowledge the ways she promoted weight bias and dangerously low caloric intake.

Oprah didn’t invent the message, but she reinforced it for all of her fans, myself included: the size of your jeans might garner more attention than your character…

Oona Hanson

Educator and Parent Coach — supporting parents of teens and tweens.

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