Practical Parenting expert: Leanne Hall
By Practical Parenting Team
July 27 2018
Leanne Hall is an integrative psychologist and mind and body expert. In her work as a practising psychologist, Leanne has been transforming lives for nearly 20 years. She has worked extensively in TV, websites and print publications.
With her impressive clinical and academic experience, and her additional qualifications in fitness and nutrition, Leanne covers everything from the beauty myth and women’s self- esteem, body image, relationships, parenting, teenage mental health, the foods to pack in your children’s lunch boxes and how much exercise you need.
A mum of two, she’s grounded, authentic, determined, strong, intelligent and compassionate. By using a combination of positive psychology and mindfulness techniques, holistic nutrition and fitness coaching, she is teaching Australia about prevention, self-nurturance, and sustainable health. Leanne is currently completing a PhD at Sydney University in an area she is both personally and professionally passionate about – Ultra Running!
Q. Your profession: What drew you to this area?
A: I’ve always been interested in why people do what they do – and understanding what makes people tick. I’m also passionate about health and fitness, so while I love being a psychologist it felt natural for me to take a more integrative approach, given that our mind and bodies are in constant communication with each other.
Q. Tell us about your work with teenage girls, social media and eating disorders?
A. I’ve worked clinically with young girls and boys with body image problems and eating disorders for many years. I come from an early intervention perspective which means I like to treat these issues as early as possible – helping young people identify and work with their strengths and build resilience. While social media can become part of the problem in some instances (it’s never the cause!), I believe that it has some wonderful benefits for young people, when used appropriately and for the right reasons!
Q. What advice do you have for parents of pre-teens to equip them for the teen years!
A. By far the most important thing for parents is to keep the communication channels open! This means having and encouraging conversations that might seem uncomfortable. Pre-teens know more than parents think they do – sex, drugs, body image, anxiety and depression; these are topics that should be talked about openly in an age appropriate way. Even suicide is something that young teens need to be able to talk about, especially as it relates to things like cyber bullying.
Q. What do you wish every pre-teen Aussie kid knew?
A: That they ARE ENOUGH! So many young people think they are not enough, and constantly strive to be more, or worse – different. I would like all pre-teens to know that they are unique, and talented in their own individual ways. The task it to find your strengths, know your worth and OWN IT!
Q. How do you manage juggling two children, work and eating healthy?
A. Often I don’t! I think “balance” is something we strive for but rarely achieve in life. And I’ve come to realise that’s totally ok. I do my best, but I drop balls all the time.
Q. What mum’s health and wellbeing topics are you most passionate about
A. We can’t be all things to all people! We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. Success is not about what you see on social media, it’s about being content with your life. I think mums need to learn that making time for themselves is not selfish – and leaving the kids with a babysitter while you enjoy a romantic dinner with your partner is called “awesome parenting”. Invest in your family & friends, and most importantly….invest in yourself, because relationships are everything.
Q. What does your life look like when you’re off duty?
A. I’m working on slowing down, because in the past I would often function like a mini tornado at home! I’m trying to meditate each day (sometimes unsuccessfully) I exercise quite a bit, and combine this with socialising. I run, cycle and swim – sometimes alone, but often with friends or my husband. I am lucky to be able to work around my kid’s commitments, so you will often see me doing the school drop off/pick up – grocery shopping and house work (ok, so I’ve become a bit slack with that of late). I also study, (PhD in Psychology) meaning that some days I bunker down in my local library for hours!
Q, What work accomplishment are you most proud of?
A. All the people I have helped/treated. I get no end of satisfaction from seeing people grow and become the best they can be. My clients inspire me everyday!