Dr. Jayelle Haavaldsen, ND – Edmonton, Alberta

Dr. Jayelle Haavaldsen, ND studied biochemistry at UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna before she earned her ND title at Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver. She has a passion for mental health, the mind-body connection, and emotional wellness. Her interest in hormonal, reproductive, and menstrual health was piqued a little bit later, “once I started my practice some sort of raging feminist emerged from deep inside of me – so now I’m also very passionate about that!”. She also has a significant interest in metabolic disease, as she has an extensive family history of diabetes and has seen firsthand how this affects lives. “I have a very curious brain, so I get interested in anything quite easily.”

Dr. Haavaldsen, ND lives by Brené Brown’s motto: “The goal is to be authentic, not to fit in.” She explains, “I used to deal with a lot of anxiety and fears around being likable and making everyone happy. This quote really stuck with me and helped me learn to embrace who I am and show up earnestly.”

She draws inspiration from her husband, who has an infectious adventurous spirit and inspires her to live fully: “I’ve climbed more mountains and biked more trails and jumped into more lakes than I ever thought possible thanks to him.” In line with the naturopathic philosophy, she also finds herself very inspired whenever she is in nature – the forest, mountains, lakes, rivers, and in her garden.

In order to maintain a healthy work/life balance, Dr. Haavaldsen. ND stopped attaching her worth to her productivity and started setting boundaries. “Seriously, this was a big challenge for me – I used to burn myself out because I wanted to be ‘the best’. I had to re-wire my thinking so that I now see my rest time as a priority, not a luxury or a reward for hard work.”

When asked what she hopes to gain from the AAND community, she responded: “Exactly that -a sense of community. I’d really love to connect with more NDs in Alberta! Being a new grad, I found it challenging to go from a situation where I was with my peers/colleagues all the time to suddenly having very little interaction with others in the profession. It was very isolating.”

Her experience as a new grad during a pandemic was unique with a strange combination of highs and lows, but she is thrilled to finally be a working professional and have an income. At the same time, the reality of how expensive it is to be an ND has also set in. “I think being an ND is extremely rewarding and the days are filled with tiny wins, but [when I first started] there were many moments of self-doubt and feeling like I had no idea what I was doing.”

Her advice to new grads entering the profession is: Don’t compare yourself to others, especially not those who have been in this profession for much longer. “Just keep focusing on you (and your patients). It will come with time.”

Interview by Annick Meckes, July 2021