Back In Action: Lessons on Resiliency

In 2010, I suffered my second consecutive injury while moving patients in the hospital as an EMT. This one was to my back, and little did I know at the time this challenging journey would help make me a happier person.

Initially, the medications, tests and endless paperwork all took their time and toll. I was unable to work and found it difficult to twist my body without shooting pains running up and down my back.

I felt helpless. I was in pain, I couldn’t work, and I started to think I had hit rock bottom. I was finding it tough to get motivated, and felt myself fighting the onset of a depression. It was difficult to get out of bed and take care of simple things, like cleaning my room and eating. I felt like I had lost control of everything in my life.

I remember the moment when I started to believe in myself. I refused to give up and started taking control of my actions and reactions to make my life better.


Planning was the first part of my comeback:

Julianne Charland

A big part of my recovery was focusing on the elements of my life that I could control. Before downloading Owaves, I started keeping a list of freshly minted goals on my bedroom mirror.

I literally planned out every detail of my day. What am I going to eat? When am I going to work? What are my top 3 to-do’s of the day? Everything got written down and planned.

Slowly but surely, I started healing. With a new job and the option to seek physical therapy, I gained the courage to take a 200RYT yoga teacher training course and start following my dreams to inspire others to live a happier and healthier life.

An essential part of my recovery was to be disciplined about my daily plan. I set my goals high, and also forgave myself for not completing everything every day. I’ve heard that if you complete 100% of the things on your to-do list, then you didn’t give yourself high enough expectations. I would take the time each morning to go through my day, then at night, I would plan and prepare for the day ahead.

A simple example is breakfast. I made a point of eating a healthy breakfast each morning, because I knew it gave me energy for the day ahead. I’ll usually carve out time just after sunrise for a cup of tea, organic veggies, eggs, a medley of rice and quinoa, and maybe a hint of cheese.

I review my day-plan every night and every morning still to this day.

Taking Action

A major turning point for me was when I realized I must take action to balance health, work, and play.

I had goals I wanted to achieve in my new-found careers, but I didn’t respond well to unexplained authority. For example, if you tell me to jump off a cliff, you must explain why and give me a good reason to, right? That’s when I started to take action to create an environment that I could flourish in.

Granted, I’m fortunate to have a very flexible job when it comes to the hours I work, but I started to create an argument for why it was critical that I go to my favorite yoga class, or how beneficial it was for me to surf in the middle of the day. The mutual reward for my team and I was that, with this sense of control I gained, my performance skyrocketed. If I feel like something isn’t going right in the office, instead of complaining, I offer a solution explaining how it will benefit all parties and how quick the fix might be.

People tell me I’m lucky because I surf during the day, or that I’m crazy for being so bold, but I take action knowing that it makes me a better person and allows me to help others more effectively. I also work really, really hard to maintain integrity and show that I am productive with this freedom. I am still to this day one of the top performers in my company. I credit my success to planning my day in way that allows me to teach yoga, to do yoga, or to go out for a surf when the waves are good.

I still can’t bear to feel like I have no control in my life – so I take action to assert myself in both body and mind. Now I can fit in those “extra” things that make my life much happier.


Journaling each morning before I turn on any electronic devices has been revolutionary for my recovery.

I don’t put too much structure around it. I stand at my desk overlooking Cardiff lagoon during sunrise, and just write.

I get any negative thoughts running through my mind out of my head and heart and onto the piece of paper – it helps me flush out naturally occurring toxic emotions and focus on positive actions.

Journaling helped me cope and better manage my situation. If I saw a pattern of negativity, I would keep journaling about what I could do to solve the problem. I used my yoga training to ask questions like: What do I need to change to make this situation better? What are the positive pieces of this experience I can focus on?

Now I feel like I’ve coped with much of the negativity related to my injury, so I find myself excitedly writing about my future and my goals more often than not.

Life is a Journey

Perhaps the key lesson I’ve learned on this path to recovery has been to learn and redefine.

Our journeys are like a morphing puzzle; as soon as you feel like you’ve found the missing piece, something changes and that piece no longer fits. Redefining your purpose and motivations on a daily basis is key to fueling your body and mind for all around wellness.

Where you are today is the right place for you. Remind yourself that challenges are meant to teach you something that will change your life now or at a later time.

Final Thought

Time is more valuable than money. The lifetime of the universe has an infinite amount of time. Our own journeys have a very finite amount of time. What you do with your time is your choice, but I highly recommend a rigorous diet of love, laughter, and dream chasing!

By Julianne Charland, Yoga Instructor, Surfer and Businesswoman. For more tips from Jules, follow her on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter. We have a new post about Julianne here if you want to stay up-to-date!