Caring for Self while Caring for Others.

October 11th

In the Heat of the Moment: How to Prevent the Accumulation of Stress that Fosters Burnout.

Harry Zeit MD CGPP and Irina Dumitrache YTT

Modern life presents a multitude of stressful moments where we are challenged and triggered, creating a cascade of neurophysiologic responses.  Because we tend to be busy, or distracted, we are not always able to process these stresses in the moment.

In our quest to succeed, or sometimes to just cope the best we can, we often ignore stresses and carry on with the pressing tasks at hand.  Unfortunately, there is a cost to this approach, and the gradual accumulation of stress can create a litany of negative effects on our well-being.

Many contemporary approaches to wellness and self-care do not directly address the harmful effects of stress, but focus on far more downstream approaches.  In this workshop, in keeping with the basic tenets of this series, we will be focussing on recognizing the impact of stress from moment-to-moment.  Instead of ignoring and internalizing the effects of stress, through disconnection and numbing out, we will learn ways to release the effects of near constant activation of our survival systems.

Learning Objectives:

Appreciate the cost of accumulated stress over the long term.

Understand the effect of stress on the autonomic nervous system and its role in burnout, addiction, chronic illness and pain.

Learn a seven-step practice for identifying and releasing acute stress.

Experience an opportunity to become familiar with and practice stress-releasing techniques.


November 15th

The Heart and Shadow of Mindfulness Meditation

Harry Zeit MD CGPP and Irina Dumitrache YTT

In five years of presenting Caring for Self, we have covered a wide range of self-care topics.  And during that time, we have not formally offered a presentation on mindfulness or on meditation.

Why is that?

We could answer that question in different ways.  The first would be to say that each one of our talks has included a focus on self-awareness and embodiment and that mindfulness is at the core of our material.  The second would be to say that there has been so much hype and confusion about what mindfulness is and isn’t, what it can and cannot accomplish, that it seemed prudent to avoid this somewhat over-indulged subject.

This year feels right to tackle and directly address the subject of mindfulness.  Is this a wisdom practice thousands of years old, or a modern-day, well-packaged shadow of the real thing?  Are we practicing mindfulness or mindlessness, when we talk about our current practice?  What are the benefits and limits of mindfulness, as is it being offered in the larger self-care movement?

Learning Objectives:

Review different meditation approaches, including mindfulness meditation.

Appreciate the benefits and limitations of mindfulness meditation.

Learn to differentiate dissociation, thinking, and mindfulness.

Familiarize oneself with and practice a trauma-informed somatic-based meditation.