Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing burnout has been a pervasive problem. ...
“A sunflower is a wonderful flower essence to take for if you feel like you don’t have a strong enough backbone. If you have to speak out into the world, and you don’t want to, it’s a good one for someone who’s shy because it helps you be comfortable being seen. It’s a good one to use if you’re wondering what’s your path in life or are you confused or you’re not sure what to do, because the leaves follow the sun, so they follow the path of light.” ~Anna Yang
The Red Web Foundation: On the Bleeding Edge of Menstrual Awareness and Education
Anna C. Yang is a Waryshower for women who are on the verge of a new direction in life such as divorce, empty nest, loss of a loved one or re-inventing herself.
She has been a wellness and flower essence practitioner for 30 years. She has journeyed from illness to health, conventional nursing to holistic nursing. Through study and practice she has learned ways of reducing stress in body and mind while strengthening heart, spirit, and relationships. Her life’s work is to uplift, nurture, and empower women so that their souls blossom.
Certified Holistic Nurse, Health and Wellness Nurse Coach, Advanced Certified Labyrinth Facilitator, Masters Degree in Women’s Spirituality. Graduate of the Center For Plant Studies and Healing Arts
Nicole Vienneau 00:00
Hello, welcome to Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! This is Nicole Vienneau, your host, and today we invite Anna Yang from San Francisco, California. Anna is a certified holistic Nurse who’s got a master’s in women’s spirituality. She is also a flower essence practitioner, and a labyrinth facilitator, and she’s also founder and director of Stelle Fleur Institute. Welcome, Anna.
Anna Yang 00:30
Hi, Nicole. It’s so wonderful to be here. I’m really excited.
Nicole Vienneau 00:34
I’m excited you’re here to talk about things we’re passionate about, about Nurse Coaching, about all the things that you are doing in your world, and to just share with our consumers, our healthcare consumers, and fellow Nurse Coaches and Nurses and healthcare practitioners, all of the amazing things that you’re doing.
So, I thought we could take a little historical tour and go back to why you decided to become a Nurse.
Anna Yang 01:04
Oh, yes, where it all started. I think I was destined to be a Nurse because one of my favorite books when I was like, two and three years old, was Doctor Dan the Bandage Man, and it had actual bandages, you know, little Band-Aids in the book. My mother tells me that I was always out in the fields playing with kids, and we were always playing doctor. That’s all we knew. Unfortunately, we didn’t know the term for Nurse. But I would be playing Nurse.
And actually, my dad was a hospital administrator. So, I grew up around hospitals and medicine and I was very comfortable with that. And when it came time to decide on a career, that’s what I gravitated towards, because in high school, I was a candy striper, a volunteer at our hospital. And I really enjoyed that, I enjoyed helping people and being around there.
I was very comfortable, as I said, because we would go in with my dad on Sunday afternoon sometimes when he had to go in for work. We would be in his office, having fun, while he was doing whatever he needed to do.
But I remember going on rounds with him to the different Nurse’s stations. And he knew everybody in the hospital, all the patients– he knew about each patient, why they were there. He was an amazing hospital administrator. And so, we would stop off at each Nursing station and he would have a conversation with the head Nurse. And so, it was clear to me who was in charge of the hospital. It wasn’t my dad; it was the Nurses.
Nicole Vienneau 02:36
And so, from there, and through your experiences, you decided, hey, Doctor Dan the Bandage Man needed to be a Nurse!
What happened after you gained your Nursing degrees?
Anna Yang 02:53
I went to San Diego State. And so, it was a 4-year degree program. And I came back home to San Francisco and started my Nursing career at the University of California in San Francisco Medical Center. It had interns and residents and was a hard place to work because the patients there were really sick, they had multiple diagnoses. And it was fun, because it had the medical staff there. And that’s where I met my husband. So, it was a good place.
But I have to say, after seven years of hospital Nursing, that I burned out. I didn’t have any self-care tools to work with that I know all about now. But at that time, in the way-back-when years, I didn’t have any. And so, I left Nursing, but I never gave up my Nursing license. I always continued with continuing education.
Nicole Vienneau 03:53
We do hear present day Nurses feel the same way about becoming burned out. And you spoke of self-care tools and not knowing any at the time, but now you know a whole bunch of them. And so, I’m curious if you could share some of your self-care tips, and maybe what self-care is, for some of our listeners who may not even know what that means.
Anna Yang 04:18
Yeah, self-care can be a foreign word, especially to women. Because we’re always busy taking care of everyone else and we forget about ourselves or we think we can just keep going no matter what. And that’s not true. We need to take care of ourselves. It’s really a time to pause and replenish and re-nourish yourself in whatever way that speaks to you.
We did, once I left the hospital, I did make friends with people in the hospital and we did create a pilot project for self-care, for Nurses at the Nurse’s station, and we gave them a basket full of little, simple books to read and massage tools. There was a variety, it was just this wonderful goodie basket of things you could put on your shoulder just to relax for a while. And then we came in twice a week, I think it was, and we did little mini classes.
So, we would have them in, some people would come for the mini class, and we would have them breathe, just do some breathing exercises to help relax. We had them do hand massage, they would partner up and do hand massage. And it turns out that that’s a hugely important part of Nursing because of all the IVs they were making up. They kept flipping the tops off with their thumbs and that really was creating a strain on their thumbs. So, we would do hand massages, and deep breathing, and then we would do some stretching exercises, too. And all that was at the workplace. So that was wonderful that we could go in.
However, it’s really important, off time, to really replenish yourself. Go for walks in nature, do whatever exercise that you like to do to re-energize yourself and let go. Let going of the day is huge. Let go of all that mind chatter, just time to give it all back to the hospital or wherever you’re working. Take a breath and be more centered and focused on you and your home life, then.
Nicole Vienneau 06:35
Do you feel, in your Nursing career, when you were at the bedside, if a program had been implemented for you and for your colleagues, like the one you implemented for fellow Nurses, do you feel like that could have prevented you from leaving the bedside?
Anna Yang 06:52
Oh, I do. I do, for sure. Because then I would feel like somebody cared enough about me to have this program. And it was effective. Because I would be relaxing. And then it would be a way of teaching me that self-care is really important. And doing it outside of work time. So, yeah, I do see that I would have stayed in the hospital, Nursing, much longer.
Nicole Vienneau 07:20
Yeah. When you know that your employer really cares about you, it can make all the difference. So now, in your practice of your everyday life, what are some self-care things that you do for yourself?
Anna Yang 07:37
Well, breathing has always been, I mean, we do that anyway, it’s free. So, breathing, deep breathing, and especially hands on the belly breathing. That really helps me remember to be centered and calm before I start my day. And journaling, also, to get all that mind chatter out onto the page. That’s been really, really helpful. And journaling, especially during hard times.
My husband passed away almost eight years ago, and at that time, you can imagine it was really, really challenging. And I just kept a journal on my bed, and when I would wake up at night and couldn’t sleep, I would just start journaling and give all my worries and all my concerns to the journal, and then I could go back to sleep again.
And then I’m a labyrinth facilitator. So, walking the labyrinth, I love it. That is just a wonderful way to rebalance and gain insight. And it’s always refreshing and nurturing.
Nicole Vienneau 08:45
Can you describe what a labyrinth is?
Anna Yang 08:48
Oh, sure. So, the labyrinth is a walking meditation path. It’s on the ground. Some people think it’s the same as a maze, but in a maze, you can’t see where you’re going, and you hit dead ends. So, you’re always in your head. And the labyrinth, you see the whole path laid out, there are no dead ends, so no choices. So, your mind gets to relax, your body gets to relax, and all you do is you follow the path. And it’s a circuitous path, so you go back and forth and around and here and there, and you’re guaranteed to go to the center.
And the beginning part of the labyrinth walk is a time to just let go of all that mind chatter and have your body to start to relax. And when you’re in the center, it’s a time of receiving. So, receive just the peace that you feel or whatever you’re feeling. Receive the beauty that might be around you, receive that your mind is quiet, whatever. And then when you feel you’ve been in the center long enough, you follow that path back out again, and that’s a time of integrating your experience.
Usually, when you come out of the labyrinth, it’s nice to give yourself, like, 10 minutes of just quiet so you can just feel, but what happened, sense what happened, integrate what happened. And they’re used in medical centers and parks and prisons and schools and all over.
Nicole Vienneau 10:21
The labyrinth sounds like a beautiful self-care tool to use. Do you need to use a labyrinth to gain this kind of sensation that you speak of?
Anna Yang 10:37
No… I mean, you can do it in meditation. Get a similar… however, not everybody wants to sit. And so, it’s a really wonderful way for people who say, “I can’t meditate, I just can’t sit still.”
And also, you can use a paper labyrinth or finger labyrinth and trace it. So, you don’t have to physically go somewhere. And there are websites that have labyrinths online that you can trace, and that’s also equally effective. And I love integrating labyrinths into some of my programs and working with women.
Nicole Vienneau 11:20
Thank you for sharing some of your resources with us that we can go and explore, different ways of trying to offer ourselves moments of reflection and time for ourselves in our very busy world.
So, I was hoping that you could explain a little bit about exactly what a flower essence practitioner is.
Anna Yang 11:44
You’re touching on some of my loves in the world; labyrinths and flower essences. Flower essences, when I say flower essences, oftentimes people think that it’s an essential oil, that it’s the same thing—aromatherapy– and it’s not. So, essential oils are made by taking the roots and the leaves and the plant material, and distilling it, and the oil comes from that.
Flower essences, they take the blossom of the flower, put it in water, and then it’s the water that you use. So, two very different ways of using the energetics in the biochemistry of the plants. So, when the flower is in the water, all the biochemical markers of the plant go into the water. And then when we take that in, then that really benefits us.
I like to use a sunflower as an example. So, a sunflower, you know, they have tall, straight stems, and they have these big faces, and their leaves follow the sun. And so, sunflower is a wonderful essence to take for if you feel like you don’t have a strong enough backbone. If you have to speak out into the world, and you don’t want to, it’s a good one for someone who’s shy because it helps you be comfortable being seen. It’s a good one to use if you’re wondering what’s your path in life or are you confused or you’re not sure what to do, because the leaves follow the sun, so they follow the path of light.
So, those attributes would be in the water. And flowers never doubt who they are. So, all these attributes are just really strong and certain. And then you can let go– your cells can just relax those old patterns and take on these new patterns that you want to be achieving.
Nicole Vienneau 13:50
So, they’re ingesting it? Is that how it happens?
Anna Yang 13:53
So, it comes in a bottle with a dropper, and you put a couple drops under your tongue. You can put the drops in water, you can put the drops in bath water, you can put the drops on the palm of your hand and rub your hands together because the palm of your hand has the– that’s the point of the pericardium, so that touches your heart. So, that’s how it’s used.
And in most health food stores, you’ll see Bach remedies, and that’s from England. And Dr. Bach is the one who really created flower essences, although ancient people have been taking drops from dew, and taking those in internally, for ages. But he formalized it. And now there are many people who create flower essences all around the world. So, it’s really amazing.
So, my particular superpower is to create customized flower essence blends for people. So, I listen to what’s going on in a person’s life and what they want supported, and then I create a blend. Usually, it’s six different flowers that come together, and they support them. And then I also ask people to use an affirmation when they’re using the essence.
Nicole Vienneau 15:19
Can you explain an affirmation? What one may be for someone?
Anna Yang 15:24
Sure. An affirmation is stating something positive in the present time that you want to be having happen. So, a simple affirmation could be, “I’m growing and expanding in my awareness, and I’m safe and calm.” Just really, really simple. However, when you’re using the flower essences, things do change. You will change, whether you believe in them or not.
My husband, I would make flower essences up for his allergies. He was a doctor, didn’t believe in any of this stuff. However, I would make the essences up and he would take them. And then I would say, you know, a few days later, I would say, and I would notice that he’s, you know, sneezing less and all this stuff. And I say, “Oh, how are your allergies?” And he’d say, “Oh, gee, they went away!”
Like, “Oh, yeah? Did the essences help you?”
Uh, no, they just went away.”
So, they work. But when you say that, when you say the affirmation, it helps all your body parts know that you want this change. And so, it’s much easier.
Nicole Vienneau 16:37
Right, it’s almost like there’s confirmation and connection between the act of using the flower essence, but then your mind and your intentions, then go along with it.
Anna Yang 16:50
Nicole Vienneau 16:51
And what a wonderful complement to your holistic practices, to offer this for your clients.
So, can you tell us a little bit about how you came into Nurse Coaching and how you, kind of, connect the dots of the things that you learned in Nurse Coaching to your practice at Stelle Fleur Institute?
Anna Yang 17:11
Because I’m a holistic Nurse, I have a body, mind, spirit, approach to everything. And that’s one of the reasons why I love flower essence so much and the labyrinth. And I had started my flower essence practice, and as I said, part of that is talking to people about how their lives are going and what they want support in.
And so, I was talking and giving suggestions about their life and I just wanted to be able to do that more skillfully. So, when I heard about Nurse Coaching, I thought that that could really support my holistic Nurse practice in a way that could expand how I was working with clients.
Nicole Vienneau 17:59
And so, could you describe to the listeners how that all kind of works together?
Anna Yang 18:07
Well, in Nurse Coaching… Nurse Coaching was really interesting, because as Nurses, oftentimes we’re used to being directive with people. And in Nurse Coaching, it’s very much about listening to where the person is and asking them what they want and helping them go into their own wisdom.
In the flower essence practice it was helpful for me to know what questions to ask so I could tell where people wanted to change or not want to change. How they were feeling. And then using awareness practices that I learned in Nurse Coaching to help people go even deeper, to find the deeper meaning of their life or what they wanted, or what the situation really meant for them, and different ways of asking questions to get information that was helpful.
Nicole Vienneau 18:59
So, it sounds like the things that you learned in Nurse Coaching then complement your flower essence practice, and then, also, your labyrinth facilitator work. And then I do know that you have a master’s in women’s spirituality, as well, to compliment all that you’re doing in your practice. So, can you explain a little bit about that and how that influences your work?
Anna Yang 19:26
I went on my own health healing journey. After I left Nursing some years later, I had my own health challenge. And that’s when I started experiencing different complementary modalities of acupuncture, nutrition, energy work. I learned that the body has one idea, and the mind could have another idea. That I’m not always aligned.
And I thought, wow, I want to do this work to help women and girls be aligned and be who they truly are. Life would be so much easier if we were aligned. And some of this comes from family programming or society programming. And some of it comes from just decisions we made when we were three years old, but that tape is still running.
So, I wanted to work with women, and then this brand-new program of women’s spirituality was formed. And I thought that would be fabulous, because this is what I want to focus on, is women. And I knew that in the energy work, that the practitioner isn’t doing the healing, they’re connecting with universal energy and helping to create flow and opening pathways. And so, women’s spirituality just seemed like the next best step.
And it really helped expand my– I didn’t really realize how omitted women’s perspective was in all spiritual traditions. It just was really amazing to me to see one after another tradition saying women aren’t okay, women are less than, women can’t be praised, women can’t do this, women are unclean when they’re menstruating.
And, in fact, I did my master’s thesis on an educational program for parents, at the fourth-grade level, around menstruation, using a holistic perspective, supporting the parents, so then the girls, when they started bleeding, would have a more positive experience than their mom just saying, “Oh, here, here’s the sanitary pad,” and nothing more.
And having given them tools to celebrate this, and that goes back to my desire to support women and their natural being of who they are. Because if society says you’re not okay in the essence of who you are, that’s really tragic, and that has a big effect.
Nicole Vienneau 22:12
It absolutely has a very big effect. And when we think of Nursing as being predominantly women, all of these tools, you know, that you have encompassed in your life, alongside all of the wisdom that you’ve incorporated through your life experience, it just makes sense that all of these things that you’re doing really help look at how whole we are. We are all connected on a human level. We all have the human experience.
And I just really am appreciative of all of the time and effort that you’ve taken to learn all of these different modalities, and then to share them. Not only just keep them for yourself, but now here you are, with Stelle Fleur Institute, and getting out there, using all of these different modalities to really inspire women, specifically, to be their authentic self. So, thank you for that.
Anna Yang 23:13
Yeah, it’s really a love and passion of mine, as you can tell. Because out of my master’s, I came together with several women, and we founded the Red Web Foundation, all about creating positive menstruation, time for menstruation through menopause. And it’s still going. So, I’m really happy with that.
Nicole Vienneau 23:36
Wonderful. And these are things that people don’t generally talk about. You’re giving voice to it through all of these different mechanisms. Wonderful. Thank you so much.
So, I wonder if you have any clients that you could think of, off the top of your head, that maybe you could share a little tidbit about how you’re using all of your skills to incorporate it and help that person.
Anna Yang 24:05
One client in particular, about flower essences– She is a high-level professional, she works with people who have multi-millions of dollars, and she works to help them with their investments. But not only that, but personally, too, because it’s after someone dies that she might start working with these people. So, I told her about flower essences, that it might really be beneficial.
Because she has her own company and they were going through– every so often they have the FCC come and they have to do an audit and they were going through that and it was just this huge giant thing, as well as their quarterly reports were due, and everything was like the perfect storm.
And so, I told her about flower essences, and I thought that could help her and she said, “Well… okay…” And she, you know, she was really skeptical. She didn’t understand how some flowers could help her do anything.
So, I have a formula, called professional productivity, that she purchased, and now she swears by it. She is such a devotee of professional productivity. It got her through all these things. And she was clear, she could be focused, she could be calm, she could be confident, and she was getting a lot more done than she had been before.
Nicole Vienneau 25:36
Wow! That makes me curious to know what her affirmation was, too.
Anna Yang 25:44
Yes, good, quite, good call. I actually use that professional productivity. I was, a couple years ago, I was going on a trip to Hong Kong, and I thought, I’ll never get everything done before I leave. And I started taking, you know, my own blend. And I don’t remember my affirmation, but all of a sudden, I was having time to read. How can I have time to read? I’m getting things done. How is this happening?
Nicole Vienneau 26:15
That’s funny! It reminds me of your story about your husband. “What?! It’s not the flower essence!” But the flower essence is very important to helping with these issues that people are having.
Anna Yang 26:27
Nicole Vienneau 26:28
Amazing. And you’re seeing it firsthand with the clients that you’re working with.
Anna Yang 26:33
Nicole Vienneau 26:37
Wonderful. So how can our listeners find you, Anna? How can we work with you if we’d like to?
Anna Yang 26:43
Oh, yes, thank you for asking that. I have a wonderful website: www.stellefleurinstitute.com. They can go there and check out my programs, whether that is letting go of, finding freedom from the past year, or the visioning, new visioning, in January, I always do for the new year.
And now, the capacity of doing those all is on Zoom, as well as in person, hopefully in the future. So, they can find that out and about the flower essences. And also, they can send me an email at email@example.com. So, both of those ways.
I would love to be in touch with any women who are going through a divorce or empty nest or death of a loved one or reinventing herself. Because everybody, right now, is going through the big pivot and reevaluating and finding out what’s true for them right now.
Maybe my life, I thought was working but, you know, now that I’ve slowed down, it’s not working, and what am I going to do? So, it would be my great pleasure to help them strengthen their inner wisdom and find clarity and courage and confidence so that they will be equipped to deal with the twists and turns of their health going forward. And I’ll be there, along the way, with coaching and flower essences.
Nicole Vienneau 28:25
Sign us up, Anna! Sign us up!
Well, thank you so much for joining us here on Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! podcast. It was so fascinating to listen to what you’re doing in the world. And we thank you for all you are doing, and will continue to do, Anna.
Anna Yang 28:46
Thank you. It’s just been a joy to speak with you, Nicole, and I hope it’s been helpful for your listeners.