The Upside of Regret

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Ah…Regret!  They say that in the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.  Personally I believe this to be true but that doesn’t mean we won’t come face to face with regret on things we do choose.  In Palliative Care, the one thing patients talk about the most are regrets related to love.  Just like our friend Paulo Coelho in the above photo says, we need to live our lives now, not later.

Say what you need to say.  There’s even a song about that by John Mayer.  😉

Are you familiar with the saying hindsight is 20/20?  It’s that retrospect moment, when you look back on something you can clearly see what you should have done…only thing is, it’s done.  Like dating the wrong person or getting a really bad haircut.  Ouch..regret.  If you’ve ever made a bad decision, regret has been your roommate.  Not like Sheldon’s roommate agreement from the Big Bang Theory but more like a difficult companion that can make you both tougher and more sensitive all at the same time.  You get to decide if your toughness looks like unending bitterness or if your sensitivity looks like a kindness so deep it heals every wound it touches.  Do you want regret to be your arch enemy or your best friend because ultimately, it’s you who decides.

Even though the past cannot be changed, the way you tell the stories about it can be.

For instance, remunerating the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s will keep you stuck in the past and also in denial.  Something happened, yes it was horrible but it happened.  Instead, try to find the life lesson that’s hidden in there because there’s always one waiting to be found which is why we’re here to learn from it.  Take a positive spin on it and see what happens.

Regret is a mixture of two emotions, sadness and anger.  Sometimes these emotions can be overwhelming so one thing you can do is this.  Write two columns with the headings Sadness and Anger at the top.  Under each heading, answer this question as many times as possible:   “I am _______ about __________”   This is the messy hard part but remember, the only way out of painful emotions is through them.  Keep writing until you can’t write anymore.

It’s time to grieve what you lost.  This is essential because if you don’t, it will come back twice as hard the next time around on the next situation.  The moment when you see someone gaining what you regretted losing is when you know you’ve finished grieving. Bravo my friend.

Now it’s time to look ahead to the future and pave a way to making better decisions.  Life will bring us to a crossroads more than once and maybe what we need to do is to lean into love and not fear.  Ask yourself “What would thrill me more?” rather than “What will keep my fears at bay?”  But some might say the love path is anxiety provoking and scary.

Maybe…but here’s the thing.

This is the moment you can call on regret, not as a burden but as a motivator that reminds you not to make choices that make you feel awful in retrospect.  This is the upside of regret.  If you’ve done all the above steps and realized everything based on love is worth doing, then go ahead, because life is about to take you on an adventurous ride of happiness.

And I bet you won’t regret it.  ❤

Much Love,

Jen
xo

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What I Know For Sure…Now: A Letter To My 21-Year-Old-Self

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Okay seriously, life is full of lessons whether you want to learn from them or not.  When you do learn, you expand your personal growth and development and make necessary changes so they don’t happen again.  If you don’t learn the life lessons, they will keep happening over and over until you do.  They won’t go away on their own.  That’s just the way it is…sigh.

No matter what age you are, something happened to you that affected your life and how you reacted to it changed you.  It didn’t kill you, it made you stronger.   But what if you could have a conversation with your younger self and give advice that would save you time and grief or give you confidence and perseverance in various areas of your life?  I know I’ve thought about this and I’d like to share what I know for sure… now.

Dear Jen,

You are 21 years young now and are studying very hard to become a nurse.  You have chosen a career path that is helpful and compassionate which aligns with who you are and your core values in life. Yes studying is hard, working in the hospital is hard but never give up because you are on the right path; you’ve got this.  Know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours, this is the beauty in nursing.

What if I told you when you graduate you will move to another country to work and travel?  Not just once but twice. Nursing can open many doors for you and later on there is another big opportunity coming up that you cannot say no to, in Qatar.

Don’t always expect to be acknowledged and appreciated for all the hard work you do, people are tired and busy in their own worlds but in your heart, just know you are doing your best and in the end, you will be rewarded by Him.  Know your own self-worth because if you think you are cheap, people will see and treat you as cheap. Try not to control every outcome, just relax and enjoy the ride because you have so much ahead of you, a world of experiences that will blow your mind!

Life Coaching is in your future which is another beautiful helping profession and by walking this path, you learn so much about yourself in the process and it’s an automatic win-win for you and your clients. You will be so inspired, you will really love this but it takes work to get it going.  Don’t give up.

Relationships are complicated but a very big part of your life Jen.  Friendships are to be treasured and respected by both sides otherwise, it’s not worth it.  Everywhere you go, you will meet new friends and connect well with them for life because of who you are.  You have many amazing friends who inspire you so hang on tight they are your rocks during your toughest moments.   Don’t forget to be there for them too and love them with all your heart.  Sadly, one of your closest friends will be diagnosed with cancer and cannot beat it.  However, having known her, changes your perspective on life for the better because you learn to appreciate the little things, slow down and look within yourself for answers to life’s complicated questions.  You have all the solutions inside you, just dig deep because they’re all there.  You feel a deep sense of gratitude for having known her and you miss her.

Family is another important part of your life and you need to show your appreciation for everything they do for you.  Nobody’s perfect and everyone is doing the best they can, just like you Jen.  Perfection is a dangerous thing and not even possible so let it go.  Imperfections are what make people beautiful including you.  It all depends on your perspective, try to look at them as your gifts.  Your entire family loves you unconditionally, you love them too and you get along with everyone.

Ah, romance, romance.  You have met some really nice guys that showed interest in you so far and you have been interested in some of them.   But Jen, you need to have more self-confidence you need to love yourself more.  Learn how to be assertive and stand up to the ones who don’t treat you right and hold hands with the ones who do.  Don’t get blindsided by flattery, take it for what it is which is sweet.  Not every guy will understand your kind heart but that’s ok, it’s not your job to convince him of it.  Never let the good guy get away, easier said than done.  Romantic involvement is complex and fleeting.  Don’t settle for someone, make sure your man adores you, protects you, makes time for you, has the same values as you, has your back on everything and knows how to use a hammer!  This will save you a ton of frustration…

What you really want is someone who makes you smile, is proud of you, supports you and inspires you, is emotionally there for you and treats you like his queen.  Not a man who drains you or takes advantage of your good nature or abandons you.  He will love you with his whole heart by making you his number one priority and not let his external environment control how he feels or acts around you.

He must know his own core values and who he truly is on the inside otherwise he is a chameleon adjusting to every external environment, not a man.

If you are looking for a chameleon, go to Costa Rica.

Make sure he never interrupts you or puts you down in front of other people; he should be singing your praises instead.  You are a fine catch young lady and never forget that!  😉

You put everyone’s needs ahead of your own and deep down, you want your needs met too and why not?  People pleasing and putting yourself last is killing you without you even realizing it.  You need to take better care of yourself so you have the ability to take care of others.  Everywhere you go you are a caretaker.  Learn to set some boundaries for yourself otherwise people will walk all over you as if you were a doormat.  “No” is a complete sentence, remember that my love.  And whatever you do, don’t let the opinions of others influence you to the point of doing nothing.  You’re better than that.

Be very mindful of selfish people and narcissists in your life.  They are your biggest threat because they give subtle red flags and are very good at charming you.  Take off those rose colored glasses so you can actually see the color red.  They are only interested in themselves so don’t kid yourself into thinking they have something to offer you.  They are takers and you are a giver so you are vulnerable in this situation.  Be very, very careful.

I know you can’t see it now but your heart of gold will fall in love with one man and two children over the years.  Unfortunately heartbreak is in your future but this tragedy has its silver lining.  You experience two sides of the same coin but you are a trooper, a real warrior.  Facing these various betrayals are the biggest stressors you will go through but it’s not what happens to us in life that determines who we are, it’s how we cope and react to it that counts and you have excellent coping skills.  Like grace under fire. You are not a victim so don’t play that role, ever.  You might feel like you are all alone in this but you’re not.  You are stronger than you realize and you have God in your corner.  This is a time for self-compassion and practicing self-care, finally.  You have put this off long enough Jen so time to pay attention to yourself.  It’s self-discovery time.  Be a good example for your kids because they are always watching and taking notes.  Learn the lessons here and don’t worry so much, everything is going to be okay.

You really need a vacation, you should plan one.

Writing blogs for you is a positive emotional outlet and an incredibly important way of dealing with stress because getting your emotions out on paper or a screen is cathartic.  A wonderful healing tool for all.  Not only are you helping yourself but also helping others by letting them know we are all in this together, nobody is alone.  An amazing world of bloggers is out there and each person has something beautiful to offer, appreciate each and every one of them from your heart because they are probably fighting a battle of their own you know nothing about.  You learn to write your way out of this betrayal and when writing the story of your life Jen, don’t let anyone else hold the pen, own it.  You get to write your own ending.  On the other side of this fear is freedom so hang in there, you’re doing great.  You are finding your inner voice and are finally starting to use it.  Better late than never girl!

Exercise has always been a priority in your life but during this time you must keep moving more than ever.  The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits are endless.  Exercise helps to get the negative energy out, clear your mind, release those endorphins and make you feel empowered again.  You meet more friends along the way who support you and you can’t imagine your life without them because they are just so fun to be with!  You learn new activities like Zumba and PiYo which you even become addicted to!

As you make your way through the pain with your kids, your vision becomes clearer and you slowly get your strength back, thanks to your family and friends here and all around the world.  Connection has empowered you to stand up for what you believe in and fight for your rights my little warrior.  You are getting to know and love yourself more and more each and every day, the butterfly is emerging.  One of the greatest lessons you can learn is to practice gratitude, forgiveness and surrender.  These are the silver linings in the dark clouds.  You will make it to the other side Jen, you are almost there so don’t give up now.  Music and lyrics inspire you and give you energy.  There’s one song that’s about standing for something and getting stronger which is exactly what you need right now.  You need to stand for you.  Share this song with your amazing friends and in the meantime…ROAR!

To be continued in another 20 years….

And this is what I know for sure….now.

Love,

Jen
xo

Lights In Your Tunnel

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We like to search for those final happy destinations in life.  You know, the ones that will finally make us feel relieved and satisfied.  We work so hard on a project, exams, a relationship, or our health while focusing on the end result which is that light at the end of the tunnel.  Or perhaps it’s a separation or divorce that turns your world upside down.  The truth is, we crave that light, it’s all we can think about to help motivate us to move forward because in our minds we believe the moment  we can see that light, the difficult situation will end.  You say “When all this is over I can finally relax and be happy.”

Is that really true?  Maybe…to an extent.

Is it possible to be happy right now while you are in that long, dark tunnel?  Tunnels are scary, cold, intimidating places.  You are probably wondering how can one be happy in such a depressing place?  Sometimes we miss the boat by going in alone and limiting our vision on the end result when we could be using some light and support to navigate that tunnel.

Little moments in life are worth celebrating just as much as the big ones.  By having something to look forward to like meeting a friend for coffee, scheduling a Skype call from someone who is important to you, reading uplifting blogs that give your life meaning, planning a mini vacation or just eating your favourite food with your kids all represent little pot lights in your tunnel.  Each friend, family member or supportive person is worth a light in your tunnel.  The more positive people and moments you have creates more support in your situation.  And the brighter your environment is, the more tolerable and comfortable the situation will be, therefore you will begin to feel happier and even more relaxed.  You need these lights to help you cope better.  It’s time to celebrate coping better because you are doing the best you can and every action step counts.

If something really great happens to you that represents a chandelier!  It’s time to celebrate again.

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Be grateful for everything you have and see how many colored lights appear.  By shifting your perspective, the tunnel is now an illuminating space that transformed from unpleasant to beautiful.   Light replaces darkness the same way love replaces fear.

If you are going through a difficult time right now, don’t wait until it’s over to celebrate all your milestones you are achieving along the way.  You could be waiting months or years before you see that light at the end of the tunnel.  Why would you want to deprive yourself that way?  Do it now because you’re worth it.

Take comfort along the way by always having something to look forward to with the people who care for you.  Those who you know well and those whom you’ve never met before but seem to cause a positive ripple effect in your life.  Notice the happy little surprises that pop up.  These are your lights that will decorate your life and lead you out of the tunnel because you have the right to be happy now.

Celebrating a win doesn’t mean you need to do something outrageous or expensive, just be kind to yourself.   If that seems difficult, ask yourself “What would I buy my 10 year old self right now that would make me happy?” or “What have I wanted to do but have been putting it off?”   Maybe the answers to both questions are chocolate and a massage?

Sounds good to me…that’s a win-win.

Much love,

Jennifer

P.S….All my gratitude to the lights and chandeliers in my tunnel. You are amazing!

Be the Rock in the Raging River

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Infertility has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a disease of the reproductive system and the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

One in six couples in Canada experience infertility in their lives and that statistic could rise according to the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS).

Infertility can result in severe emotional stress where couples often hope each month that they will finally conceive, then feel despair when it does not happen. Men and women experience the stress and grief of infertility quite differently; this can create substantial personal and marital stress. Treatments are physically, emotionally, and financially draining. Stress does not cause infertility but if left untreated, stress and stress hormones can certainly have a negative impact on the ability to conceive.

Stress:

1. Impairs follicle health and development. Stress reduces the secretion of estrogen from the follicle which reduces the thickness of the endometrium and the fertile mucous

2. Reduces the secretion of progesterone from the corpus luteum in the luteal phase, and thus affects implantation. Stress can cause luteal phase defects.

3. Affects the surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland which is responsible for stimulating ovulation.

4. Increases prolactin secretion by the pituitary gland, which inhibits ovarian function

5. Affects the part of the immune system responsible for preventing miscarriage in early pregnancy

6. Negatively impacts many other health concerns which may impair fertility, such as thyroid health, autoimmune conditions, allergic conditions, pcos, endometriosis, and gastrointestinal concerns

The mind and body are connected and hormones that aid in pregnancy are affected when a person is under a significant amount of stress. Therefore, seeking help during such a fragile time is crucial to get the needed support mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Fertility specialists manage the physical side of care and there are many things within a patient’s control to feel better such as seeking out a Fertility Coach, a Psychologist, support groups, reading reputable websites on infertility, acupuncture, practicing self-compassion techniques, meditation or even fertility yoga.  The main goal is to decrease mental and emotional stress to a level that is manageable so the physical self can relax and let nature take its course in hopes of having a positive outcome.

One of the most useful ways to begin your journey to surrendering what you have control over and what you don’t is by cultivating some mindfulness.  This can be achieved by quietly checking in with yourself every now and then, paying attention to what you are thinking and doing in the present moment and by practicing self-compassion, as best you can.  Here are a few examples of how to cultivate your own mindfulness:

  1. In order to live your life fully, you have to be present for it
  2. To be present, it helps to purposefully bring awareness to your moments-otherwise you may miss many of them
  3. This requires a great deal of self-compassion and kindness towards yourself, which you deserve
  4. This is hard but well worth it
  5. It takes a lot of practice, don’t give up, you can do this

With all the emotions and stress moving around you like a raging river during this time, try to be the rock in that raging river to have some more stability in your life.

“Nothing is ever just in your head. Nothing is ever just in your body.  They are intrinsically linked-always.”  ~ Dr. Christiane Northrup

Please feel free to contact me at Jennifer.juneau1@gmail.com for your initial FREE 30 minute coaching session.  You are not alone on this journey.    ~J.J.

Climbing Mount Infertility

couple-climbing-a-mountain[1]    On January 28th, the “Let’s Talk” campaign by Bell has proven to be highly effective in getting people to open up about the stressful situations they are facing in their lives without the guilt or judgement from others.  It’s not just a mental health day it’s more about taking charge of your life and focusing on the solutions.

My name is Jennifer Juneau and I am a Registered Nurse with Fertility IVF experience and a trained Solution Focused Life Coach who specializes in Fertility Coaching and Health and Wellness Coaching.  Do you or someone you know suffer from infertility?  1 in 6 couples are diagnosed with infertility each and every day.  How stressful is this?  Extremely.  It can also feel very isolating because of the social pressures by “well meaning” family, friends, co-workers and neighbours.  Reality is that you are not alone.  Infertility can also impact one’s career due to all the needed treatment appointments, relationships with friends, family and even with their significant other.  Both men and women experience the same emotions, how they deal with them is what sets them apart.  Financial stress is huge given the fact that fertility treatments are thousands of dollars unless you are treated in Quebec. When couples don’t see this coming, they cannot prepare for it and when it hits, it hits hard.

Does stress cause infertility?  It hasn’t been proven that it is a cause but what can be said is that it can contribute to it.  The mind and body are connected and hormones that aid in pregnancy are affected when a person is under a significant amount of stress. Therefore, seeking help during such a fragile time is crucial to get the needed support in a mental, emotional and spiritual way.  Doctors deal with the physical side but there are many things within your control that you can do to feel better such as seeking out a Fertility Coach, a Psychologist, a support group, reading reputable websites on infertility, acupuncture, practicing self-compassion techniques, meditation or even fertility yoga.  The main goal is to decrease your mental and emotional stress to a level that is manageable so that your physical self can relax and let nature take its course.

The journey of infertility can often feel like a steep climb up a mountain but it doesn’t have to be that way.   I am currently accepting new clients who are struggling with infertility and who can use someone as their guide to get them through their treatments in a well-informed way and has an inside track to the fertility world. Emotions can sometimes get the best of us but as your Fertility Coach in your corner, solutions can be sought out to help you cope.  As a nurse and a coach, I will make that human connection and provide my undivided time and attention you desire and help you find solutions in coping better to get through the IVF treatment process with less stress and anxiety.   The result you will have is the feeling of relief to have someone as your guide who will actively listen to you and have that support you may be lacking.  This will help you relax and get through the treatment process with ease.  Fertility Coaching cannot guarantee a baby, but it can certainly help.  I am available to coach you by phone, Skype, or face to face, no need to take more time off work.  The goal is to make it as convenient as possible for you.  I invite you to please check out my website:  www.couragecoach.wordpress.com or email me at Jennifer.juneau1@gmail.com for your FREE 30 minute coaching session.  If you decide you would like to work with me, I offer 3 affordable packages to suit your needs.

I look forward to working with you and getting closer to the summit of your mountain.

Please note that all information is strictly confidential.     ~JJ

LIFE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS

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Have you ever been on trial for something?  Big or small.  What was that like for you?  Was it held in a court room or was it something in your life where you had to defend yourself, not knowing what the outcome would be?  In the end, was it worth it?  Trials and tribulations can be a test of our patience and sometimes it seems like they last forever.  How much can one endure?

The trials that I am talking about in this blog are about the ones we live outside the court room with our work, families and friends.  What is the trial you are going through right now, or, what trial did you just go through?  For example, maybe you are trying to prove yourself at your workplace that is causing a conflict which is turning into a trial or you have a friend going through a health issue such as cancer or infertility that is not being solved and each day is a trial for them because of fighting and not knowing what the outcome will be.  The thing about trials is that they raise a very important question, “Who are you really?”  You must answer this question, especially at this moment during the trial because when you define your life as to who you really are, the trial loses power and you win.  Only you can define your life because it’s how you react to it that counts.  The trial actually stands outside of you, ranting and raging trying make you believe that you are the trial.  It holds no more power than we give it.  Trials are merely a moment in time without a heartbeat but you have a heartbeat and several good moments in time.  There is a big difference, it does not define you.

Life is bigger than what we can see with our own eyes.  The beauty of life coaching is that it can help you cope during these trials to find solutions so you can live an inspired life!  Now that’s worth it!  Please feel free to contact me for a free 30 minute coaching session.    -JJ