Door County Women Learn How to Handle Change at Pampering Event

Chris Clarke-Epstein has a theory about why change is hard.

Clarke-Epstein, an author and contributor to nine books and an award-winning speaker, recently addressed women at the Family Centers of Door County’s Pampering and Practicalities Conference Jan. 25. The evening out for women was sponsored by Door County Memorial Hospital/Ministry Health Care (DCMH/MHC) at Stone Harbor Resort, Sturgeon Bay. About 130 people attended.

As for the expert’s theory, it is all about each person’s comfort zone. And while the zone, as its name suggests, may feel good, it actually kind of traps people, too.

“The problem with your comfort zone is you can’t learn anything. You have to step out of your comfort zone if you want to learn,” Clarke-Epstein said.

She continued, “And change will happen whether you want it or not.”

She called the area outside a comfort zone a “stretch zone,” where people learn as they try new things, behaviors and adventures.

Examples include women adjusting to divorce, marriage, motherhood and more.

“And we all went through these changes and expanded our comfort zone. But the only way that can happen was if we let go,” Clarke-Epstein said. “Because if you hold on too tight, you get yourself wedged in. And then you are missing what life is about.”

A change process has three characteristics, according to Clarke-Epstein. She told the women that change takes time, and it will be “slower than you ever imagined.”

For example, New Year’s resolutions are not going to be accomplished in a couple weeks. “The fun is in the journey,” the speaker added.

Next, is what Clarke-Epstein called the “oops factor,” which is a tendency for people to make mistakes as they try new things. A supportive environment is necessary to help people along.

“Mistakes are not the problem. It’s not learning from mistakes that is the problem,” Clarke-Epstein added.

Finally, change requires people to be courageous, according to Clarke-Epstein, who told the audience about her recovery just a few years ago from an unexpected stroke.

“Please remember than no matter what is going on in your life, it’s about the courage that you apply,” she said. “I know that you can do anything that you set your heart to.”

The conference was the fourth annual event of its kind for Family Centers of Door County. While the conference is about gathering women for an evening of fun and education, it also raises about $3,000 annually for Family Centers of Door County, according to Gina Wautier, the organization’s executive director.

Also, in conjunction with the event this year, two women won free days of pampering services, compliments of Options Salon and Day Spa and Younkers.

Peggi Ligman and Becky Meyer, nominated by Michelle Spanbauer and Dawn Parent, respectively, attended the event, donning new hairstyles, outfits and jewelry.

“I was absolutely thrilled that someone would think enough to nominate me,” said Ligman of Sturgeon Bay.

“I was up for anything. And it was a great day,” Meyer, of Baileys Harbor, said of the style change.

The women also appeared in a video, which was produced by Meghan Wautier and shown during the conference.

Also, 17 vendors displayed health information, and some offered complimentary services and gifts to women. Representatives of the Women’s and Children’s Health Center at DCMH/MHC announced the expansion of the obstetrician/gynecology team with Dr. Charles Shutt to North Shore Medical Clinic.

“Dr. Shutt has worked with us before. We know him, and patients love him. We are lucky to have him,” said Dr. Dorene Dempster, also an obstetrician/gynecologist with North Shore.

Other exhibitors included Curves, Sturgeon Bay. Owner Paula Sullivan encouraged attendees to join the fitness club and spend just 30 minutes three times a week at her facility.

“You will work all major muscle groups in 30 minutes,” she said of the cardio and strength training equipment.

Also, Michelle Geiger-Bronsky, executive director and nurse practitioner at Wellness Center of Door County, Sturgeon Bay, told women that the center accepts United Health Care Insurance.

Logan Creek Soap unveiled a new natural liquid soap as a companion to more than 60 varieties of bar soap made in Sturgeon Bay by Bob and Bonnie Abrahamson.

Paul Mancheski, owner of WaterScape Designs, showcased his design and build pond services and asked attendees to save the date for the Parade of Ponds on Saturday, June 28.

Loretta Gierhahan, of Sturgeon Bay, who has attended a few of the pampering conferences over the years, said she always enjoys them.

“They are always interesting: fun speakers and good gatherings,” she said.