Jenni Marceau is the first to admit that she is not the worst affected by the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.

Still, the challenge of repairing the Marceaus’ damaged family home, while maintaining both her professional and personal life, is tough.

“Noel and I are luckier than some, as we both work and can live in our home, but it’s been an exhausting claim process,” she says. “We’ve dealt with six insurance case managers, five loss adjusters, two project managers, four building firms, eight organisations, and had four mediated multi-party meetings.”

After years of wrangling with what everyone agrees is an unfair process, the matter is finally resolved, but it has taken a toll on her and her husband’s wellbeing.

All Right? infographic poster accurate

The All Right? campaign’s The human cost of unsettled earthquake claims poster illustrates some of Jenni’s challenges.

The earthquakes put a strain on Noel and Jenni’s relationship, as constant decision-making about their house took up much of their time and energy together.

“I had a constant ball of fear and dread in my gut as I wondered what bad thing would happen next,” she says. “We went through floods, health challenges and layers of grief as we lost our home, put future plans on hold, and couldn’t keep up with our friends. We felt quite powerless in our house negotiations, particularly early on.”

Navigating a way through

A compass guiding Jenni through these experiences is the Five Ways to Wellbeing: Give, Take Notice, Connect, Be Active and Keep Learning.

She came across the five ways in 2011 at a community meeting and thought they were brilliant – “so practical, simple and sensible” – and has included them in her life ever since.

“I’ve pushed myself to discover new routes to ride my bike, I’ve taken notice of the lovely things still around me, connected to our close neighbourhood support group, as well as connecting to a centre of peace, and my faith, during a retreat at the Home of Compassion.“

She’s kept up with her hobbies, such as growing micro-greens and making soap. Taking a year-long herbal course, using herbs to make medicinal, cosmetic and culinary products, was also timely.

Her advice to fellow Cantabrians is to accept all the free help that is on offer and be grateful for any good, kind, and skilful people you meet along the way.

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