Surfing Anyone…??

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Jon Kabat-Zinn founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in Boston, Mass. teaches the use of mindfulness meditation as a technique to help people cope with stress, anxiety, and pain.  He has also published many books and audio recordings on mindfulness, one of my personal favorites being “Full Catastrophe Living”

The reason I am writing this blog is because I love his quote in the above photo and wanted to share it with you.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

Life is like the ocean it’s big, calm, rough at times, warm, cold and sometimes blue.  Let’s face it we’ve had our fair share of waves and situations come crashing down on us whether we expected them or not.  However, in those exact moments we have two choices.  Run or surf.

If you choose to run, the waves won’t stop they will actually follow you and maybe pull you under.  You may think you’re doing the right thing but it won’t last for very long.  The running goes on and on and you become more exhausted, depleted, and scared, you feel as though you can’t catch your breath.  Those waves just keep on comin’.

If you choose to surf, then the world is your oyster.  Now you have the ability to face the waves with an amazing attitude and a new added skill.  When you surf, you are living in the moment and you are in control of yourself, not the waves.  You feel on top of the world and it’s easier to go with the flow than against it.  You take the waves in stride and what felt scary at first is now something exciting.  You understand the rhythm of the ocean and can time the big waves that may catch you off guard.  Don’t be afraid just get back on your surf board and try again.  You feel so brave and proud of how you are handling things and you should be!  People on the shoreline are looking at you wishing they could surf like you do and you know it.  This makes you smile from within and even gives you peace while riding that wave.

So who are you, a runner or a surfer?  I’m a surfer girl. 🙂

Much Love,

Jen
xo

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This Girl Can

This post goes out to all the girls who think they can.  You can get rid of that stress, you can push yourself to the limit, you can do anything you set your eyes on doing, you can live well and look amazing!  It’s mind over matter girls and you’ve got this…that fire inside you is there for a reason so get moving and get inspired because you’re worth it!!!!  Let’s go Zumba lovers!  😉

Love you,

Jen
xo

Light A Candle Instead Of Cursing The Darkness

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We are all victims of circumstance but we have a choice of remaining in victim mode or stepping out of it and living our life.  Sometimes we can see trouble coming and other times it catches us right off guard sending us into a downward spiral but either way, we need to decide if we want to be happy or not.  Initially, it’s natural to feel great disappointment, hurt and grief but it’s not healthy to live there permanently.

Things happen, I’ve seen trouble coming and it has also knocked me off my feet, leaving my head swirling and my heart broken.  However, I cannot and will not let that define me.  When I read this quote, it was like I heard music and corks popping out of champagne bottles!

 To me, darkness represents being deeply disappointed, the hard times, handling tough emotions, the struggle, the pain and even change.  Everyone defines it differently depending on what they’re going through.  When you think about it, if you try to navigate through the dark without any light, it’s very difficult to see where you’re going or what is right in front of you.  You might bump into things, trip over something or even worse, stub your toe which only causes more pain.  The other thing about darkness is that it seems to hide us well.  Maybe people like the dark for that reason alone.  They don’t want any help so they don’t want to be seen.  The question comes when that same person endlessly criticizes or complains about their situation but doesn’t do anything to make it better; cursing the darkness.  Or maybe they just want to be found by someone, be seen, heard and understood.   After all, we all crave connection.

The simple act of shedding some light on the subject can change the entire space where darkness lives.  You can see what and who is around you, what is ahead of you and that feeling of being on edge is less.  It’s a more comforting, positive response, a new perspective.  Igniting a spark inside you is an action step in moving forward because you are no longer thinking about making it better or wishing for it, you are making the effort and doing it.  Lighting a candle could mean reading positive daily affirmations, finding activities that bring you joy and doing them as much as possible, practicing gratitude even in the dark moment, trying to find the hidden life lesson inside your situation or reaching out to your support system to help you and accepting their help.  It can also mean stop denying and start feeling the pain because the only way out of it is through it.  When you decide to do this, your mind shifts from controlling to allowing and your body shifts from stress to peace.  It doesn’t magically disappear but it certainly becomes more manageable.  Having an open mind and an open heart changes a negative into a positive with an intention to do so.  Darkness is a wonderful teacher that helps us grow through personal development because without darkness there can’t be light.

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All of our life’s tragedies big or small have their time and space for darkness.  Just keep in mind that at some point, you will need to turn on a light to be able to see clearly instead of wishing it wasn’t so dark.  It’s time to live in the joy zone.

Much love,

Jennifer Juneau

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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

BE THE SAILBOAT OR THE DUCK?

imagesCAEW51O2  Stress is a part of life and how you handle it on the inside can reflect how you look on the outside.  For the people who know me by now, you can see that I love analogies and for anyone new, welcome to my blog and my perspective on things!

Some people look so calm on the outside and yet they talk about how stressed they are.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe what they are saying is true but it’s because they are a duck.  Remember going to the park and feeding the ducks?  They would all gracefully swim on top of the water as if they were gliding effortlessly, or so it seemed.  Under water there was a whole different story going on.  Their little webbed feet were paddling so fast and furious to reach their destination as if their feet were on fire!  From a distance, we can’t see their feet so we think they are free from any stress whatsoever and that things come easily for them.  Just like the person who is stressed out and doesn’t show it.  On the outside, they are Mr. or Mrs. Calm but on the inside, they are stirring up a storm that only they know all too well.  Just like the duck’s feet, we cannot see what is on the inside or in the duck’s case, under water.  That is not to say that stress is not a good thing, it can be very motivating in certain circumstances, especially if you are in front of an audience giving a talk, you definitely want to be the duck.  It’s when stress turns bad and starts to affect you physically, that’s when you want to learn how to sail.

caribbean-sailing-september[1]  Watching sailboats is so beautiful and relaxing.  With the right amount of wind and catching the best angle for your sails, you are off to the race of feeling free.  By letting the wind carry you while you ride the waves in the water, trusting you are safe is like letting go of some control in your life, dealing with stress as it comes and knowing that you will be ok is freedom of stress.  Often times on the sailboat there is a lot happening on the outside that we can see in order to make the sailboat move like watching out for the boom!  It looks busy and to some stressful but in fact, it’s organized and well thought out, almost with anticipation of what might come next.  This is what I have found to be useful in dealing with stress, if you can organize your thoughts and beliefs, you will focus your intention on smooth sailing and therefore have a relaxing day on the water, watching the ducks bobbing by!  So toss out your anchor, enjoy the present moment and watch out for the guy on the sea doo!         -JJ

CALLING ALL NURSES: HOW MUCH OXYGEN IS LEFT IN YOUR TANK?

Have you ever been on an airplane and really paid attention to the flight attendant that is acting out the proper way to put on your oxygen mask in case of an emergency?  I am guessing the answer to that is “no.”  I have a challenge for you the next time you find yourself on a flight to paradise.  One of the reasons the flight attendant is demonstrating this necessary policy is because in order to help other people, you have to start with yourself first.  The same is true when you apply that to your career as a nurse.  We are not only taught but expected to take care of the patients, their families, and our colleagues, only to find out later that we forgot to take care of ourselves along the way too.  This is a normal consequence of doing a good job for others but not for us.  Is it possible to think that we count too?  Or is that just being selfish?  If we don’t put our oxygen mask on first, where does that leave us?  On the plane with the others heading for a crash landing in a town called BURNOUT.

The best way to avoid stress and burnout as a nurse is to start by putting your oxygen mask on first so that you have enough to give to others.  Also, you can only give what’s in your tank so it’s important to monitor this amount that you have at all times.  You do realize I am using a metaphor here and that the oxygen mask is an analogy for taking care of yourself, right?

Stress and burnout are rapidly increasing all over the world in every helping profession out there.  In schools, burnout is not even talked about which is sad.  Nurses are often overlooked for all the hard work they do and at the end of the day, we are expected to take care of our families at home and friends in need.  All of this is possible, as long as we take care of ourselves and don’t run our bodies on empty.  When our oxygen tank is no longer in the green and is heading straight for the red, it’s time to jump into self-compassion mode!  What is self-compassion anyway?

Self-compassion involves 3 key components that can ease our stress by far. (Neff, 2003)  Start by treating yourself kindly like the way you would treat a good friend who is suffering rather than using harsh judgment on yourself.  Two, try to see your own experience as part of a larger human experience instead of isolated and abnormal.  We are not perfect and neither is life.  Third, become aware of what you are feeling emotionally and let them be as they are instead of suppressing them for a later date.  On a physiological side which is a great side for nurses to understand, when we are being self-compassionate to ourselves it releases the “feel good” hormones of oxytocin and opiates.  Similarly, if we are self-critical when we have a bad day, it threatens our defense system and cortisol and adrenaline are released into the bloodstream making us feel even worse.  We become irritable, tired and stressed.  Do you see the road sign that is up ahead?  Burnout.  Unless you make a change soon, that is where you will end up.  So how do you change?

Practice the 3 key components of self-compassion and give yourself a time out or a break.  When you are able to do this, several things will begin to occur such as a greater desire to learn and grow, higher motivation, less frustrations, increases in life satisfaction, connectedness, gratitude, more effective coping skills, more caring and supportive relationship behaviour, more conscientiousness and improved health and wellness.

I am highly supportive of nurses all over the world who work so hard not only at work but also at home.  Give yourself a big hug for being such a compassionate person to others and then give yourself another hug for being a compassionate person to yourself.  You count too and not just during nurses week!  Remember, whatever you do, don’t forget to check your oxygen tank and put your mask on first!     -JJ