Oct. 25, 2022

Resilience For First Responders- Jennifer Boileau

Resilience For First Responders- Jennifer Boileau

Jennifer is an educator with a B.S in Education with an emphasis in special education, and she has taken that teaching background and shifted her focus to teaching practices of resilience as a Trauma-Centered Yoga Teacher, Certified iRest© Meditation Teacher, Reiki Master, and Sound Healing Facilitator.

She is currently a Trauma-Informed Contractor for the New Castle County Police Department in Delaware for the Holistic Officer Wellness Program to address stress and trauma in recruits through retirees. This program includes not only the police, but the Medics, Recom employees and their families as well. 

Jennifer is deeply committed to helping you find focus, resilience and balance in your
life, whether you're just building your skillset in school, or in a high stress profession.

Book a free discovery call on how to Keep The Fire Burning in your relation or develope an Overcoming Obstacles mindset at https://calendly.com/enduringthebadge/15min
Follow me on social Instagram at enduringthebadgepodcast & jerryfireandfuel for updates.

Jennifer is an educator with a B.S in Education with an emphasis in special education, and she has taken that teaching background and shifted her focus to teaching practices of resilience as a Trauma-Centered Yoga Teacher, Certified iRest© Meditation Teacher, Reiki Master, and Sound Healing Facilitator.

She is currently a Trauma-Informed Contractor for the New Castle County Police Department in Delaware for the Holistic Officer Wellness Program to address stress and trauma in recruits through retirees. This program includes not only the police, but the Medics, Recom employees and their families as well. 

Jennifer is deeply committed to helping you find focus, resilience and balance in your
life, whether you're just building your skillset in school, or in a high stress profession.



Book a free discovery call on how to Keep The Fire Burning in your relation or develope an Overcoming Obstacles mindset at https://calendly.com/enduringthebadge/15min
Follow me on social Instagram at enduringthebadgepodcast & jerryfireandfuel for updates.


Hi everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of Enduring the Badge Podcast. I'm host Jerry Dean Lund, and I don't want you to miss an upcoming episode, so please hit that subscribe button. And while your phone's out, please do me a favor and give us a review on iTunes, our Apple podcast. It says, Hey, this podcast has a great message and we should send it out to more people.

So please take that 30 seconds to a minute to do that review and just maybe by doing that, it'll push this up into someone's podcast feed that really needs this message. Hey everyone. Before we jump into this next episode, I want to talk to you about my personal coaching program. My personal coaching program deals with two things.

One is your mindset, two is your relationship. And I want to support you in getting you to your greatest potential, uplifting you, and assisting you in self-discovery, and creating that connection with your significant other that just is gonna last a lifetime. We don't wanna be just moms and dads or in a relationship that's not gonna serve us and take it to the next.

I also have a mindset program that helps you reach the mindset of success in all areas of your life, and a mindset that makes you successful personally, not just on the job, but off the job as well. If you're looking to do that. Please just reach out to me on any of my social media platforms or go to the in, during the badge website and there you'll find a little red icon at the bottom that's a microphone, and you can leave me a voice message there, so don't hesitate to reach out to me.

My very special guest today is Jennifer bolo. She is a civilian certified and trauma informed yoga and tactical breathing work. Also, Iris meditation teacher, a practice research through the Department of Defense, and focuses on supporting the first responder community through non-pharmaceutical.

Research based modalities. She's also an ilio spouse. I listened to an iris meditation before I recorded this, and it was very relaxing and very rejuvenating, and it only took five minutes. I just sat here and listened to it in my chair. And then I recorded this episode. I hope this episode gets you thinking about the different modalities you can use to get better sleep and become a more resilient first responder.

There's so many tools out there, and listen to what Jennifer has to say about these three tools that she offers you to help you become a better person all around. Now let's jump right into this episode. How you doing, Jennifer? Great. Thanks for having. Yeah. Thanks for being on. Thanks for fitting me into your busy schedule, which is good.

We're just talking about that. That's a good kind of busy that's happening in your life. Exactly. It's, It's exactly the kind of busy I want to be. So . That's perfect. That's perfect. Then don't you introduce the audience a little bit to your, about your, about you, and then a little bit about your, what you're doing, and then we can dive down into both of those.

Yeah, absolutely. So my name's Jennifer Bulow and I am a trauma informed yoga and meditation teacher. And really I was drawn to that work from dealing with my own anxiety growing up. Um, you know, all throughout my educational life into college, I really struggled with anxiety. You know, went to doctors, did kind of the traditional routes of typical Western medicine, you know, trying to find, um, you know, I sure I had some outlets of, to try to relieve some stress and whatnot, but I really struggled with.

Trying different medications and just having them not work for me. And I'm not saying that meds aren't a good thing. They absolutely can be. Um, they can be, you know, really powerful for some people. Yeah. But for me, it just was not the answer. And so I became drawn to. Some, you know, more holistic methods to help deal with things and I was very drawn to meditation, very drawn to yoga, and having more like mindful movement in my life.

And, um, I became a special education teacher and, and was before I had our daughters. But once they arrived, then I found my anxiety kind of came back to life again. A lot stronger. Yeah. How about it and, and also, You know, along the way my husband, uh, became a police officer, so of course the, the stress of the kids in home and family stuff.

Then compile all that with him being in law enforcement, which, you know, as a spouse. We're not out there on the front line, but we're certainly hearing about it, getting that secondary trauma on the back end and really worrying about my husband. You know, it's not like I, I used to say like, Couldn't you just.

Be an accountant that just sits at a desk or something and she's like, Uh, no. So it was like swat all the way from almost day one, you know? Um, it was like swat, undercover work, undercover drug work. And it looked, like I said, we've been married for 22 years. It looks like I've been married to at least 22 different people.

Um, yeah. Yeah. From his lovely undercover work, but, You know, I found that I was really drawn to share the kinds of practices that were helping me personally with him and really seeing how it could be applicable to people in law enforcement. So my training kind of just evolved into being drawn to, uh, supporting.

Our military veteran community and first responder community. So my training led me to Warriors at Ease, which is an organization that trains sworn and civilian members to teach all over the world on military installations, really helping to deal with post-traumatic stress injury, military sexual trauma.

You know, anxiety, all the things that kind of come from that nonstop, uh, hypervigilant world of, of, of serving. Yeah. And, um, and that by default, you know, connects directly with first responders as well. Um, And that kind of led into IRS's meditation, which is called integrative restoration. A very particular type of protocol meant to address the same things that sleep disruption, post-traumatic stress and anxiety that can come up with, um, again, all of the rigors of the work that you all do.

Right? And so, That was all research at Walter Reed. It's now recognized, uh, in our military as a tier one intervention for, for pain management. And it's something that I really was drawn to want to share with, you know, the law enforcement and, and military community even more so. That's what I'm doing now.

Yeah, Yeah. Just that. Just that, Right. Just, just doing that . Yeah. Just that. So I wanna Big deal. Yeah. Right. I kind wanna start back younger. When you're feeling that anxiety when you were younger, do you know what that was caused from? Well, I think there were a few different things. Um, Primarily I was a swimmer and I was swimming at a high level, and uh, it was very overwhelming to be on.

On a stage, an international stage coming in with a Team USA jacket on and being like, Ugh, I don't know about this. Um, and it honestly, eventually, uh, we found a physician that was checking me for heart problems because I was having heart racing. You know, my, my thoughts were racing, my heart was racing. I just had that complete sympathetic nervous system response of this fight flight all the time, and it was getting worse.

And, uh, one of the doctors said, Hey, Jen, you know, do you wanna do this anymore? And I was like, I'm allowed to say no. . I didn't know I was allowed to say no. It was like my whole life, you know? Right. Focused on this goal of, you know, we all were like, everybody wanted to get to the Olympics, you know? Yeah.

Yeah. And it, it never dawned on me that I could have said no, like, I think I'm done. Um, and which didn't really, you. Go over that. Well, , but I did that, that, that was a big source of anxiety for me. Then I didn't realize it until someone pointed it out because, you know, just like with anything, when you're, you know, in the weeds so to speak, you don't necessarily notice like, Oh, this is what's.

Probably causing a lot of my stress and anxiety and, and I think that's where a lot of it came from. Now, of course, after I gave up my swimming, um, I did notice it, uh, through college as well. And I think it was a lot of test anxiety stuff. A lot of, um, you know, performance anxiety in that, on that stage. So, uh, that's really.

That struggle became very apparent to me because it didn't make sense. Yeah. To start to think like, like I'm folding my laundry right now in my dorm room. I'm not doing anything. Why is my heart racing right now? Sure, sure. Why do I feel like my, my skin's crawling? And, um, you know, what I learned is that's what anxiety's like and, um, you know, from different little traumas that maybe you've experienced throughout your life that.

You kind of forget about, you push them down. They're not big catastrophic things, so you just kind of say, Oh, this isn't that bad. And you push it down, push it down. It's kind of like holding a beach ball under water. You know? You can only hold it down so long and then it just shoots up. Right? And it doesn't necessarily make sense when it, when it comes to the surface, you know, something.

Folding the laundry. Why is that making me upset? It's not the laundry, it's, you know, something else working in its way to the surface. And um, that's when I started to find that, wow, if I, you know, do a yoga practice, if I engage in one of these meditation practices, I feel so much better. How can I feel like that a little bit more?

So right. Led me out of that a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. I've heard a lot about athletes that have that type of anxiety and they, one of the way, one of the things they do is they make sure they try to shift it into, um, excitement instead of like anxiety. Yeah. And that's where the, like the elite, elite athletes, I mean, you're very close it sounds like, to being one of the top swimmers in all of the country and maybe the world.

So that , Well, , that's a little overstatement, but I, I swam with some people who were maybe, uh, who were definitely that caliber. Put it that way. Yeah. Yeah. That's, yeah. Anxiety enough, I think. I think there's the difference of. Maybe sports anxiety and then just the anxiety that you're, you're kind of feeling, why do you think it would creep up when you're like folding your laundry instead of like, um, o other times of your life?

So, One thing that I know now, , that I didn't know back then is how trauma memories get stored in the body. And there's a very typical way that memories get stored in this area of the brain called your hippocampus. It's like they give it like a nice little filing cabinet. You just open the drawer and you can recall that memory quite easily.

It gets timestamped, it gets updated, so maybe. You know, something happens and like I give this example of you go out to dinner and you're waiting for someone to meet you, and the person never shows up, and then later you find out, Oh, that person had car trouble, their phone. Died, or you know, who knows what.

Yeah. There's some reason why that memory gets updated, right? And then it goes into that file and you just put it away and it's not a big deal. But when you have some kind of trauma memory, um, that lives in the body, it gets stored in a different way through your amygdala, which is your alarm center in the brain.

And when that gets stored in that area, It doesn't quite have the same nice, neat appearance as the filing cabinet. It's more of this alarm clock sensation, so it's not time tagged. It doesn't get updated. It comes back with the same felt sense as if it's happening right there in that moment, and it comes back sometimes situationally.

Maybe you'll be in a situation like maybe I was doing something.  I did right after I had a traumatic experience at home when I was a kid. Do you know what I mean? Yeah. It doesn't, it doesn't make sense at the time, and it can be situationally accessible. It can be just something that just, I don't know, it just comes to the surface and it, at the time, it can be even more overwhelming because you're like, My reaction right now doesn't match what's happening.

This doesn't make sense. Um, you know, that's why it can come up in a very odd time. It, it feels very out of control and I think that's a big piece of anxiety no matter where it's coming from. You know, that felt, that feeling that this is happening to me and I can't control my body right now. Like, why is my breathing out of control?

Mm-hmm. , why is my heart racing out of my chest like that is a bit overwhelming. So, you know, again, it kind of takes me back to. Being this awareness of the breath, this awareness of what's happening physically in your body, Um, yeah, they're really important. Yeah. I could see just doing like, uh, a task like that of folding laundry that you've done hundreds and hundreds of time.

Just like Right. It's on automatic, Like you don't have to think about how to fill laundry for the most part. You just mm-hmm. , you just fold it. And so it seems like an easy time where thoughts could creep into a situation like,

Absolutely. And you know, when you're not giving your brain something to focus on when you're not maybe redirecting your breathing or redirecting how the thoughts are acting, you're, you know, we say our mind kind of has a mind of its own. Right. Right. It kind of does what it wants. We need to give it something to focus on.

So, um, that was one of the things I had to learn for myself to like, It's not necessarily a bad thing when there's, when, you know, maybe intrusive thoughts come up or, or something. Maybe the heart starts to race or something. I, I used to look at it as something that was a, a negative, and now I look at it as, Oh, thanks, like the, here's my pointer to take me back to a practice that's going to help me settle back in and kind of move through whatever it is.

And it might not make sense at the time in the mind, but if you can build up that awareness, Then you have that ability to shift what's happening in the body. Yeah. I think building that awareness is huge and takes practice to like recognize those, those thoughts or triggers or whatever that come up. So let's play, let's talk about like how, how sleep probably plays another role in this type of like, having anxiety and, and type of feelings pop up.

Oh yeah. And sleep is probably what I hear the most. Um, when it comes to police officers or you know, people in the military that I've, um, worked with. Primarily like right now with the Newcastle County Police Department, which is what my husband was, um, on their department for 21 years, I think  before he retired.

Um, I've queried them, um, now that I'm working with their department through something called the Holistic Officer or Wellness Program, and I coed the officers saying you. What's your biggest issue and absolutely what I hear the most is sleep, because we all know their sleep is disrupted. . Yeah. Yeah. They don't, they don't want it to be disrupted, but it often is.

So, um, it, it does make a lot of sense that suddenly when you lay down to go to sleep, the mind is like, Everything else is relaxed. Awesome. . Let me just jump on this hamster wheel  and really start to ramp things up so you could think about literally everything you've ever thought in your life in over the next hour so you can stay awake.

Yeah, and then you know, by the time you fall asleep, then. , you get called out for swat, right? , right, Right. Yeah. Seems like that's how it goes. Um, so there's something that happens actually at night. There's a lot happening at night in the brain, but your brain goes into cleanup mode and there's something called your glymphatic system that.

Takes that cerebral spinal fluid and it washes all the brain tissue trying to get rid of any toxins. And those toxins leave the body through the circulatory system. Uh, eventually they get filtered out through the liver and, um, that, that fluid in the brain gets replaced, like I think four to 12 times every 24 hours something.

So the brain's using a lot of energy to do this process. And then on top of that, when you wake up, you, you know, you wanna feel rested. Yeah. If you, if you do wake up and you feel rested, then you can know, okay, the mitochondria in my cells got what they needed. That powerhouse of the cell. Remember from like high school biology, , um, the powerhouse there gives you your energy.

So sometimes if you wake up and you're like, I feel so refreshed. This is great. That's a sign that that process went really well. If your sleep's really disrupt, There's a chance that you're gonna wake up feeling kind of crummy because that process didn't get to, you know, flush out completely the way it needed to.

And strengthen those mitochondria, those, those energetic parts of your cell that's gonna give you that energy when you get up. So one of the things that I share with, um, our officers is that I rest meditation. Because in studies they've shown that even three to five brief sessions a week, like 10, 15 minutes listening to a recording, um, can replicate the same brain rest as if you slept for six or seven hours.

So that's huge. So though, even if you're sleep sleeping, , you're right. Even if it's like only like two or three hours, you're getting a night. If you have some kind of practice in place to give your brain that same rest, like, is that not the most amazing thing? I mean, I know what my husband Yeah. Uh, went through with sleep because I was waking up too

Yeah. He tried to be really quiet in the middle of the night getting up, but you know, I always hear him coming and going, so I. That's a huge thing, and from something that's a non-pharmaceutical option. Right. You know, again, I'm not, I'm not saying meds are bad, but I am saying, Hey, if you can add something to your life that is a non-pharmaceutical solution or support, not even, I'm not saying it cures everything, but.

I am saying, I think it's really important, so yeah. Yeah. I was just sitting down with one of my friends, uh, over the weekend and he's working graveyards and he was, uh, showing me his sleep, You know, that's monitored by his watch. Mm-hmm.  and I was just like, Dude, you. He gotta fix that somehow. That terrible, like, you know, like you're saying, like, yeah, one or two hours here and there and it's broken up because depending on the shift work, you're, you're working, you're trying to be up with your family or spend some time with your family instead of just, you know, sleeping when your family's up and active.

It, it is pretty brutal. And I, I, I know for myself, like sleep interruption is huge and. Very few times I feel like in my life I've ever woke up and I'd be like, Oh, I feel refreshed. Like it just like that feeling is hardly ever there. And I do distinctly remember a feeling one time, and it's been several years ago, that I was like, Whoa.

That's how people feel when they get like eight hours of like good, solid sleep, right? Like that's addictive. That's amazing. Like I need to sleep like that way more often.  and it's just very hard to, uh, to get in that kind of rhythm or practice. Mm-hmm. , do you, do you find that officers are, um, since this is, you know, doesn't take a lot of time, that more they're more apt to, to do this type of ire?

Well, yes, and I will say that I'm, I'm seeing people kind of.  open up to it like, Okay, wait. You know, Can we do that again? Can we, can we, When can we do this again? At first, you know, when I talk about it, sure it sounds nice and yeah, you know, whatever. But I think that it is kind of, feels kind of new in, in the law enforcement world, at least in our neck of the woods.

We're on the East coast and it is a little more new over here. Um, but these practices absolutely make a difference. And I say that, you know, they're very experiential. It's one thing to hear about it and it's another thing. Yeah. Entirely to. Experience a practice and, and it's, you know, it's not like I'm teaching you anything new.

Right. I'm reminding you. Or helping to kind of clear the brush away. Yeah. You know, beneath all of the stuff. So like shift work and family stuff and money stuff and you know, just keep piling it on. Yeah. Right. And underneath all of that is, Really amazing, like baseline of, of, of your stress level that maybe you forgot.

You knew how to feel like that. That's, so that's why when you experienced it, you were like, Whoa, could I feel that again? That would be great. So what I'm finding is when, when I have people in. Recently I had a, um, a class of the negotiators during their, um, crisis response team, uh, training day. And I don't know, I, I may have only spoken with them at, uh, through, you know, role calls and stuff like that at, at headquarters.

I don't think I had anyone in class before. And afterward they were like, Whoa, I feel like I just slept. But like the kind of sleep that I like from what, before I had kids kind of sleep. Yeah. Like that kinda sleep , which I think a lot of it's can relate to . Yeah. But. And like, how, how amazing is that?

Because guess what, I didn't, they weren't sleeping. I didn't put them to sleep. Right. We just get into a space where we're touching into that sleep state. We're just taking you deep enough that you're able to, you know, just kind of let some of the, the, the mental stuff you're holding up, up, up, up, up.

Suddenly you get to put it down and then there's this remembering. Oh, I know how to feel like this. I, instead of my baseline of stress being way up high, all hypervigilant all the time, I can lower it down and kind of feel what that feels like again, and I'm, I'm very clear with everyone to remind them. I am not the one doing it.

Right. I'm like, your tour guide, I'm, I'm like your guide along the way, but you are the one that's, that's taking yourself there. You know, you're, it's so, it's, you are building up this resilience, right? I'm not telling you, imagine you're floating on a cloud. No. Because maybe you're terrified of heights like me, and that's a terrible thing to imagine.

You know, And that's what I love about IRS is that it's very, Uh, trauma sensitive. I am not telling you what to think or feel, but I'm guiding you and so maybe I'll say something that we call your inner resource in. I rest, I'll, I'll say, Can you think of a time when you felt the most at ease? Maybe there's a memory that comes up.

Mm-hmm. , or maybe a time when you felt grateful for something or, you know, maybe. A time when you felt okay, like everything was okay. Um, maybe it was just getting to drink your coffee while it was hot, you know? Yeah. And, and that, and that's a, that's a great feeling. Yeah. The kind of coffee, like before everybody else is up, Like that's a good, that's a good feeling.

So, so tapping into that, and then suddenly, That opens up a lot more and then I can take you a little deeper and then I bring you back up and sometimes it's like, Whoa, what just happened? Where did I go? I wasn't asleep. I heard you. I could follow what you were saying, but I don't know where I went. And it's just people being able to, you know, trust me to hold that space for them to allow them to, to.

Find that, again, kind of dig beneath that brush and find that place of ease in the body because it's there, you know, uh, there's nothing to be fixed there. You, you're not broken. There's, there's nothing wrong. You're dealing with a challenging work environment for sure, but it's, there's nothing broken.

It's just clearing that brush away to find. That baseline that maybe you, that you definitely recognized it when you found it, right? So, Right. The role, I think sleep plays animals, first responders lives, ties directly to their emotions without that restorative sleep, like I know myself and I'm sure that anybody that sat down for five minutes and thought about it, they're like, Yeah, I know myself.

Good enough to know. If I didn't get restful sleep or get any type of, uh, generative type of sleep or whatever, I am not gonna be as good as I can be. And I feel like a lot of that comes out me for especially comes out in just emotions, maybe of anger, and you're like, Whoa, where's this coming from? And when you're interacting with the public all time and trying to be at this high.

High state of readiness and service that it's really hard to give from this empty cup of compassion when you're sleep deprived. Mm, I would agree with that. A thousand percent . Um, I mean, I know how I feel when I don't get good sleep, and I used to say to my husband, I don't know how you do it because not only like do you have to get up and go back in, you have to be able to, to operate, right?

Mm-hmm. , you have to be able to go out there and be an operator and maybe be on a stakeout for a long time or be on a scene for a very long time. Or like you're saying, dealing with really difficult people, be able to act, be decisive, be clear minded, like. That always just blew my mind. Um, you know, like I, I've, I've not worn the uniform.

I don't wanna say I know what it feels like myself, but that was definitely something that always kind. Probably didn't help, uh, my anxiety any contributed to like Yeah. And I think, I think you're, you're, you're so true. Like it's even, you didn't wear the uniform, but you were a mom and that's a pretty damn hard job in itself, you know, doing that and, you know, trying to get rest and also be a wife and all.

Yeah. All the other things that come, come with life. And once again, you know, you're ch if you're. Fill someone out of someone else's cup up and your cup is empty. It's just impossible to do in a, in a good, healthy manner. I feel like it's really tough. It's really tough. And, and that was probably one of the things about IRE that just made me so.

Excited about learning more about it and which is why I just kept going with the training, um, to be just formally certified in it because it just seemed to check the biggest box . Yeah, right. Um, knowing that this was something that really could help make a significant difference, um, for officers for, you know, Our vets, whoever it might be.

I have, um, Vietnam vets I've worked with who have told me they have not had a good night's sleep since being in Vietnam. I mean, that's a long time to be struggling with your sleep and, and the nightmares or whatever might be coming back with it and knowing that they can just listen to a recording. Not only feel rested when they get up, but then have that felt sense of ease, kind of continue even a couple days later.

I mean, that's just huge to me. Yeah. You know? Yeah. And, and if you can do it without any kind of medication, all all the better for, for your body. Exactly. Like it can't. No, I, that's, that's what I love about it and, and truly, you know, the kinds of things that I focus on, I'm focusing on your brain, your body, and your.

And guess what? You have all, you have all those things all the time. You know, um, a, a practice to con, you know, focus on the breathing, not, not always necessarily control it, but be able to feel that you have those tools to be in control. You know, physically moving your body in a way that helps resolve some trauma.

And then the ires portion, you know, something for the brain. Something that helps to, you know, reset and. Reconnect some pieces that that need to be, uh, you know, firing on all cylinders. Um, you have these things all the time. You don't have to go to the gym. You don't have to go buy it, you know, you already have it within you.

And I know that sounds so cheesy, um, to say , that you already have it, you know, my dear. Um, but you really do. Um, and that's, that's a. A pretty powerful thing. If you can learn to tap into those resources at a time that maybe is really stressful. Hey everyone, have you lost that loving feeling because life has you so stressed out and you're just being moms and dads now and just running around like crazy.

And the passion in your relationship is gone and you don't make it a priority anymore. Well, let me help you with that. I offer a free 15 minute discovery call that you can book on the in during the badge website, or you can just reach out to me on anyone social media platforms, and I will get back to you as soon as possible in the academy when I've been working with the recruits who just graduated now, they're all newly minted officers,

We were, you know, talking about this, how, Listen, I, I want you to feel good in class, but I want you to take this with you. I want you to be able to, Be on a scene that maybe is just too much. Maybe it's something you never wanted to see ever, and you need to still make decisions. You still need to be safe out, out there on that scene.

You still need to be able to give directions, be able to receive directions, and the way to do that is to harness your breathing and what they told me at GRA right before graduation, They were using the breath work, um, practices during, you know, high stress scenarios. Um, you know, whether it was building searches or, uh, defensive driving when they got OC sprayed and they felt like they couldn't breathe , um, that was definitely not a day they were looking forward to.

Right. But knowing that they were able to use some, some tools and, and then they were coming back to me saying, I can't believe it worked. And I was like, I know, right? Like you, you didn't even have to have to do anything. You just, you just used your breathing in a way that served you in that moment and helped you move through a really stressful situation.

So, um, you know, I'm like, I'm not just teaching this to you so that, cuz it sounds nice. It's actually yeah, really effective. And, and, and that's been pretty. . Yeah. Do you find in like the younger generations or more like, you know, wanting to do this and, and maybe it comes to them easier, or do you feel like, you know, I can't teach an old dog new tricks type of thing?

Um, there's that, that side of the, the group, Well, there's always that side , you know, there's always. Really. Okay. You know? Yeah. I don't know about this kind of side. Yeah. But, but I will say that I did feel going, So this academy coming through, Is the first academy group that I've had. I just started with the department, um, back in March I believe I was hired and this, um, holistic officer wellness program.

It was funded through a federal grant in the cops office through the law, enforce law enforcement mental health and wellness act. That gave me the opportunity to teach in the academy and actually, you know, develop programming from recruits through retirees. So knowing that, you know, my background with warriors and IRS is one thing, and also, um, accessible yoga.

So, so knowing that if you're. Say you've had an injury on the job or something that you're still able to be included as well. Um, but I, I will say that this, this group, I wondered, you know, what's this gonna be like? I, over the years, sure, I've learned to, to steal myself a little bit, um, and not get my feelings hurt when I walk into a room and.

You know, I have a bunch of faces, like, you know. Yeah. The eye roll, like all kind. We're gonna talk about yoga. Great. Right. You know, um, um, I especially would see that with like, uh, years ago I had some, some vets I was working with in particular, and the first time I walked in, if looks could have killed.

Right. Like, they just were like, Get this girl outta here. We didn't check our schedule. We really should have not come to this meeting tonight. I could just see it. And, um, guess what? By the end they were like, Right. Um, when are you coming back? You know? Um, and I was like, um, that's the thing. It's, it's, can you be open enough to just experience it?

Right. And I'm not saying it's for everybody. Sure. But I am. Listen, if I can help you, um, move physically in a way that's going to help to loosen up some of the, the pain and discomfort, you, you, you have your low back or across the hips from wearing your duty belt or from having all your gear all the time on, and you know, I know our officers constantly, you know, turning to the right, turning to the right in their car to use their, their laptop.

You know, like the, the, the pain and the, the tightness that happens not only physically over time, but also from what the, what happens with the nervous system, you know, when you're in a constant sympathetic nervous system, fight flight, you know, super hypervigilance all the.  that creates this chain reaction in the body, and your brain starts to give you more of what it thinks you want, right?

So the more stressed you are, your brain's like, No problem. I can give you more stress. , let's shrink your prefrontal courts text. Let's shrink your hippocampus that stores those memories, and let's let the amygdala, that alarm center grow like crazy. Like, or let's shrink up your SOS a little bit, your hip flexor, and.

You know, you're sitting all the time, You must really want that. And then you go to stand up and you're like, Oh, oh my God, my hip. But, you know, but it's, it's a slow leak. It's something that happens really slow over times. And so by the time you're really feeling the pain, it's been happening for years.

Right? Yeah. It's been going on for a while. So I will say that, you know, to answer your question, yes, the recruits were very open to it. Um, Um, they were great about it and, and the feedback I got from them was fantastic. You know, going into roll calls, I always, I tell my husband, it's funny because I know everybody, Oh, I know all the old quote.

I use air quotes. Okay. Old heads in the back, right? Cause we are, we are the old heads now. Okay. So I can say that , So, so, you know, people in the back that are like, Oh, really? But they also, most of them, if they don't know me, they know my husband. So they. They, they were great. They've all been so wonderful and um, but it is new, right?

Right. And so what I've said to them is, Hey, listen, I know this is something very different for you. I'm just saying come to class sometime, try one of the recordings. So for another part of the How program is that I have an online library I'm building for them so that they can access it at any time because I know that not everybody has the time to come out to a in person class or something.

Sure. So I teach online for them and I have a little online library they can go to and it's anonymous. They. Do it, you know, whenever they want kind of thing. And I've gotten really great feedback from people. Um, That's great. So I, I think once they have a little bit of experience, like you said, waking up and being like, Oh man, I felt so good and I could remember that feeling.

It's so, so good. You know, once they get a, a little bit of a taste of it, it. Okay. I'd like to feel like that again. Sure. How, what, how, how do I, how do I make that happen? Yeah. So there's a, Jennifer, there's a yoga component of this as well that you're teaching. And I think, I think we've, we've talked about different types of yoga on the podcast and none of them been the, you know, the yoga that I think people see on TV where they're out at the, the park and, you know, doing yoga in the middle of the park and stuff like that because not gonna find too many first responders out there doing, doing that type of yoga.

So, no. What, what type of yoga describe what you do. Like how, how do you do your, your yoga practice? So I'm trained in vinyasa and yin restorative type yoga, but what I choose to do the most, uh, with our officers is a yin style of yoga. And yin is typically a seated practice. You know, Now they say there are more positions you can do for the upper body, but it's focused primarily from the waist down.

We're getting into all the fascia. And the connective tissue, the ligaments, the joints that surround the muscle. So for instance, so it's a very, um, it's a lot more. Relaxing. Right? It's not like, you know, I'm not turning you into a pretzel, I'm not counting you into the ground. Cause listen, I can do that , but that's not what, uh, my focus is.

My focus is all on nervous system regulation, Right? And helping to give you that fluidity of movement and yin offers that. So primarily seated practice really working to, um, free up, uh, the fascia because if I can get you into enough positions with enough time, right? So we get into a position, we hold that position for time, and you're taking the fold.

Maybe you're folding forward, maybe. Leaning one way or the other. You're only doing just enough. You're going to where you feel just enough sensation, and then we bring in the breath. Right. So then maybe, maybe you're just gonna notice your breath and that's fine. Or maybe you start to invite in something we call a coherent breath, where you're breathing in for account a four or five, and then exhaling for that same amount.

Or maybe extending the exhale just a little bit more to help, um, stimulate that parasympathetic nervous system a little bit more. So, It's a very, um, calming practice and it can also be a difficult one because you are so still and you're quiet. And we don't often allow ourselves to sit still for very long, and we definitely don't allow ourselves to be that quiet, right?

So, um, that is another time when suddenly the mind can turn into like a popcorn machine and there's just like, you know, popcorn everywhere. So it can be a challenge in a, in a very different way. People sometimes don't expect it to be a challenge cause they think, Oh, we're just gonna sit on the floor.

Okay. You know? And then it's like, There's a lot more going on here than just  getting on the floor. So, so that's, that's pretty cool. Also, it also makes it very accessible. It can be done from a chair, it can be done from a reclined position or, or seated on the floor. So, so yin is my focus because if I can get that fascia to free up a bit.

Um, if you think about an orange. If you were to peel in orange, you know, that white pit inside, you know, it has all of the sections of the orange, but then there's also this connectivity, right? If you, if you peel it back, sometimes there's that webbing of that white pit, you know? So that's the same way it is inside the body.

And if the fascia can release just a bit. Oh, the dog's waking up. Sorry, , you're good if that fasc can release just a bit. That takes some pressure off the muscle and then that muscle is not getting jammed into the bone. Right? So then we've created this whole environment of ease and that is, that's just like a huge thing when, when your duty belt's been killing your low back, you know, you feel like your sciatica is out of control and really, Just by releasing that fascia a bit, letting the muscle pull back.

Now suddenly we don't have so much pressure, you know, going into, um, the spine and, and causing, you know, even more significant pain for yourself. So, um, I find it to be a very, uh, helpful practice, especially for people who are sitting for long periods of time, um, you know, up and down, really not getting that sleep heavy equipment, all that good stuff.

Um, I find that it's the, the most effective. Now, there are aspects of Vinyasa yoga, um, that I think are, of course, I think it's fabulous. Um, but I'm, I'm not trying to, you know, Have you hot and sweaty and, and whatever. At least not for generally what I'm doing. I mean, Mm. I'm happy to teach that. Yeah.

There's a benefit to that as well, right? That type of yoga. Of course, of course. I'm more focused on creating this awareness of this mindful movement, right? Comparing your breathing with your movement. Um, you. Helping you to slow things down. You know, I have now we say that saying of, um, slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

Yeah. Right. I wanna help you even when you're in the midst of something that's very overwhelming, to give you those tools to be able to slow it down. Because if I can teach you in a time of ease to manage the breath and, you know, be, have this awareness of the body when.  in the middle of something and it's all hit in the fan.

I want you to have that muscle memory right of, of the breath in the same way so that it comes right back to you when you need it. So I remind people we're practicing in a time of ease. Nothing's going down. You know, we're typically practicing, either we're on Zoom, so we're all home and in a comfortable place, or we're in one of the county buildings that we all had to swipe into to get in inside, right?

So it's a very safe feeling, you know, we're only surrounded with other cops and, um, family members and things like that. So, um, you know, I try to create an environment where you. You know, let go have that sense of ease and build up that resilience so that when you are in the middle of something out on the road, you're able to, you know, pull from that reserve that you have built up.

Yeah. Yeah. Getting people outta that constant pain state also has, must have an exceptional amount of good that's happening in their body by not living in that painful. Oh, I mean a thousand percent. And even one of the things we do in IRS is having you kind of change your relationship with pain. Right?

And just, And instead of it being, I mean, I know when you're in a lot of pain, you're like, Really? I'm gonna think of, this is not a negative thing. It feels pretty negative to me right now, . But if you were to let your awareness. Focus in on where that pain is. Let's like where it's localized, so maybe it's in the shoulder , because this is my shoulder that's messed up funny.

I just go right to that. So yeah, , so, so noticing, you know, Okay, I'm, I'm feeling this sensation that is really uncomfortable. Now with that awareness, can you sense into really feel into the center of that? And what's interesting is when you place your attention on that pain and you try to feel into the center, suddenly it kind of feels like it moves and it's like, well wait.

I'm trying to find the center and that sensation will sometimes will, at least for me move. And that is really interesting. So it's like pain is your, your body's trying to talk to you. Mm-hmm. , right? I mean, I know a lot of the reason why. So many of you are fantastic at your job is because you're able to override your senses, right?

You know? Yeah. Everything's sitting the fan. Everybody's running this way. You guys are all running this way. I mean, you know, I understand there has to be a certain amount of ignoring signals from the body to do your job well, but. During these times of ease, when you can practice, if you can really feel into what your body is saying to you and what you're experiencing, you might find that just that, you know, that practice of feeling into the center of where that pain is, you know, emanating from.

Suddenly it might have a bit of a, the intensity might change, um, and, and you might find it harder to find that center of the pain. Sounds too simple. Trust me. I know. Just like breathing sounds like, it's like, wow, thanks Jen. I've been breathing for 47 years. Like, thanks, but, but really it's that, it's building up an awareness of it and then just kind of building up your tools.

Of awareness of the physical body, awareness of the breath. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I like that because who's not in pain these days? , . But the older I get , the more I wake up like, Wow, I'm really feeling it. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Through the programs you offer, was there any other advice that you would give somebody?

I would say number one, I would say take advantage of what's around you. Right? Take advantage of. Like for us, it's, it for new Casaa County Police. It's this program. I, I just implore people to take advantage of it because, um, it is funded through the, you know, for the department it's free too, those officers.

Um, but there's a lot of free resources out there too, and I have a lot of free things out there. Um, there are a lot of other people, especially in the IRE community, um, and. It's like, kind of like iPhone, but I rest. So the letter I and then rest. Um, if you were to go to their website, they have a ton of free, um, meditations that you can try, uh, you know, as well, being kind of open to things that might seem a little outside of your, of your comfort zone maybe.

Yeah. Um, I think that's a really big piece. The while in the world that I'm in, right. In the yoga, meditation, whatever world. Yeah. What I'm doing is, is not very out there at all. It's, it's, there's a lot of science behind it, which is why I love it. Um, but I know that in the law enforcement, uh, world, it might feel a little bit new and it's like, Hey, listen, I'm, I'm not, I'm not the kind of person that's gonna tell you you can't drink, you can't do this.

You can. But I am gonna say, if these are your only coping strategies, then maybe we should talk, right? Yeah. That I, um, that be open to some things that might seem a little, you know, out of the ordinary for you, but ask yourself, you know, are the things I'm doing working right? Um, you know, and I finding that my sleep's getting.

The more I'm drinking, I'm gonna say probably not. Right, Right. Or, or am I only sleeping when I'm taking a ton of sleeping pills at night? Or something like that's, you know, that might be the way you've always done it, but that might not be the answer anymore. Right? Yeah. And it's okay to, to try something that, that maybe can support you in a, in a better way and, um, support your brain and your body in another way and again, Missing meds here.

Just saying be open to what's around you and what's available to. Yeah, because I think, you know, things that come with the drinking, you know, you, you may sleep, sleep for a little bit long, not longer. You may sleep a little bit, but it's not like the restful and restorative type of sleep and Right. That comes with its own negativ activities of, of drinking too much and drinking too often health wise.

And same with medications, you know, taking medications and things like that. I, when you do wake up, you don't really still feel. Restorative restive sleep, It's more of a, Oh shoot, I just slipped my mind. It's more of a sedation, more of a sedation type sleep, which is not, absolutely not as good as the sleep we're talking about here and rest.

Exactly. It's like a little, It's that sedation, it's that escape. It's just like, let's pretend that everything's, you know, everything's fine and I slept, you know, just fine. It's, it's, it's like what we say. We, we don't want you to fuse with like the heavy emotions and the heavy stress you're dealing with so that it becomes you.

We don't want you to completely be, um, Now I'm losing the word . . Um, oh my gosh. It'll come back to me. But what we want is disidentification, we want you to be able to step back and say, Hey, you know what? I've created some practices in my life, um, where I can step back and see the forest for the trees. Yeah.

You know? Yeah. I can take a step back and say, Man, I really need a little bit more of X, Y, Z. So while you know the practices that I share, while they might not be for everybody, um, find something that helps you feel more of that feeling that you remember of like, oh, That sleep was so good. . Yeah. You know that getting more of that inner resource feeling of, you know, when was the time when everything was okay, What did that feel like?

Or when you're doing something that makes you feel really good off duty, maybe you're, you know, I know a lot of guys are into Ju did Sue or some kind of martial art or you know, whatever it might be. When you're there and you're experiencing that, what does that feel?  because there's a felt sense with that.

Yeah. You know, even if you think about your kids, there's like this felt sense of this, this warmth maybe, or this happiness or something that comes up. It's like bottle that. Remember that you know, your body will remember that and draw upon that when you need it. You know, when you're in the midst of something really rough, It's okay to give yourself two minutes in your squad car after coming out of a scene.

That was just horrible.  absolutely horrible. Give yourself the two minutes to just slow your breathing down, maybe tap into your inner resource, kind of give yourself a little bit of yourself once again, and then return back to, yeah, what you need to do. Because we know that a hyperventilated brain, literally on a brain scan looks like fog over the brain.

And if you're going to be effective and if you're gonna be safe in what you're doing out on the. You need to be able to control your breathing, um, at a, at a high stressed point. So, you know, those, those moments outside of, uh, of work are really important. So I think Right, giving yourself those moments are, are key.

Yeah. And maybe getting some of those back, the ones that you have. Yeah. Oh my gosh, absolutely. Cause right, you were, you, you're in this career for a really long time, see a lot of terrible things you never wanted to see and live with a lot of pain. So at the end, right, we all want to retire and be as complete as possible, you know, to the person that that first signed up for, you know, for this, this job and stuff.

And I, I feel like that's, there's a, there. Pretty big gap there quite often. That definitely needs to, to be filled. And it sounds like, you know, this is definitely one way to help or can be connected to that person you once were. Exactly. I always joke that my husband and I met when we were in grade school together.

Like I was in sixth grade and he was in seventh grade. So I say I knew him way before this job. Um, the during and now the after, and. Of course he's now still an investigator for the state. Now the little, doing something a little different, a lot less stress than what he was doing before. But, um, it's true.

I mean, the job does change you. And it's like, how, how can I get, keep myself mm-hmm. , you know, true to myself and how do I, and if I've lost myself a little bit along the way, how can I get back and. I just love that we, we really do have these tools within that can help make that happen. Yeah. That is awesome.

Jennifer, where can people find you and find out more information about this? So I have a website. It's my name, Jennifer boy load.com. Um, and I do have a SoundCloud account too, but if you go to the, my website, you can kind of find everything there. Um, I do have some free meditations and some, some relaxing, uh, music you can listen to as well.

And. When I work one on one with people, that kind of information is all on the website too. So you can reach out to me anytime. I'm, I'm always happy to field questions and maybe I have a resource that can point you in the right direction, uh, to something that. Would make sense for you, you know? So, yeah.

That's awesome. Thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I am going to do my own research and look a little deeper in, cuz I'm always fascinated by Right. What's the, what's the tool that's gonna give me the, the best result so I can be my best at the end of the day or beginning of the day. Yeah.

Absolutely. Well, thank, Well, thank you so much for having me. I, I really enjoyed it. Yeah. Thank you so much for being on. Thank you for listening, and please remember to reach out to me if you're struggling with your mindset, your marriage, or any aspects of mental health. I'm here to help you. Thanks again for listening.

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Jennifer BoileauProfile Photo

Jennifer Boileau

Founder of Jennifer Boileau Mindfulness Coaching

Jenn is a civilian certified in trauma informed yoga, tactical breath work and is a fully certified iRest meditation teacher - a practice researched through the Department of Defense at Walter Reed Medical Center that focuses on supporting the first responder/veteran/law enforcement community through non-pharmaceutical, research based modalities. As a LEO spouse for 22 years to her now retired Sr Sgt/SWAT operator husband, she knows the rigors of the job and how it affects the officer over time - as well as the family. By teaching you how to harness the power of your breath, your brain, and your body, you will develop a skillset that you can access for life. Through practice, you can expect to have a lessening of PTSD symptoms, better sleep, greater heart rate variability, and more ease in your life.