For 25 years, Ann Friedenheim, M.S., L.P.C., has worked with adults, teens and children living through many difficult circumstances to offer a safe and nurturing place to explore situations or problems that are causing distress. Friedenheim is also a registered yoga teacher and practitioner who has been teaching Kripalu and LifeForce Yoga® since 2002. Friedenheim will be this year's featured speaker at Jewish Family Service’s annual Phyllis Ringel Memorial Lecture on Sunday, May 15, at 10 a.m. at Congregation Keneseth Israel. She will discuss "Self-Care During Family Challenges or Transitions." The program will be interactive. To give a taste of what the program will cover, we asked Friedenheim a few questions.
What do you define as a transition?
Simply defined, the concept of life transition refers to a period of change that requires our emotional, mental and often physical energy to adjust to a new way of life. A life transition may be a new job or losing a job, the birth of a child or death of a loved one, major illness or the period of recuperation. Sometimes we make choices to move into a life transition, sometimes these transitions are imposed upon us and sometimes they come to us unexpectedly.
What are some of the reactions you’ve seen to transitions like these?
Certainly, some people are very resilient regarding life transitions and other people are more vulnerable and may feel the stress and strain of change in a more profound way. It may seem funny to think of it in this way, but the characters from Winnie the Pooh give us a glimpse into the various ways people handle life challenges. The way we meet the challenge of life transitions can depend on so many factors. Some of these are history of previous change and coping skills during those times, family and friend support, personality, attitude, spiritual beliefs, current life practices and the number of transitions that are occurring simultaneously.
Why is it important to take care of yourself during such a time?
This is a good question; however, I think it is really important to take of ourselves all of the time! In fact, if we are committed to good self care as part of our lifestyles, then we may find that the things we do for self care help sustain us during challenging times.
What are some ways to go about that?
There are so many options from which to choose: yoga, journal writing, exercise, breathing techniques, meditations, prayer, setting intentions, good sleeping, good nutrition, connecting with loved ones, being in nature, looking at or making music or art, singing, finding spirituality, laughing, and on and on … These are ways of “doing,” but there is also the question of self care as a way of “being.” How do we talk to ourselves? Can we cultivate kindness toward ourselves and self-acceptance? This is another aspect of self care. Most important is for each individual to find what makes sense for her or his own self care. There is research about certain practices, but the bottom line is for each individual to take the time to find out what works and what can be implemented realistically into a daily or weekly practice. This may translate into some things to “do” or perhaps some ways to “be.”
What will you focus on in your workshop?
In addition to what has been said thus far, I would like for participants to understand how important it is to put themselves at the top of their “to do” lists (or at least close to the top). I hope to help people assess their self care practices of the past and to acquire some simple practices that they can do each day that will enhance their self care. I also hope to share the idea of self-compassion and consciously increasing joy as a part of self care.
Brunch will be provided and RSVPs are appreciated. Call 610-821-8722 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Free and open to the community.