This week’s Friday Focus feels a little bit surreal, and perhaps a little bit self-indulgent, but in keeping with the title of this article, I’m gonna own and roll with it. As you will have seen from the gorgeous image above, The Irish Balance FINALLY has her own LOGO. You can see it right here above and below, and on all my social media channels today – and going forward! I’ve shared a few variations throughout this post, which will tell you the story of me and my LOGO, in terms of the utterly incredibly talented individual who has created it (AHHHH!), and I just cannot WAIT to hear what you all think!!!
Give me a moment here. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
Okay, enough of that, I promise. But I did want to write this piece to share with you why and how I have come to this point in my doctor blogger life, embracing all that that entails, and most excitingly, giving myself and my message the recognition and status having my own logo commands. When I started my blog two years ago, I had no idea what it would become, as I’ve written about in my recent article ‘The Irish Balance Turns Two’. It began as a healthy recipe hub, as I started my second year working as a hospital doctor, and as I discovered my passion for preventive (or lifestyle) medicine and health promotion, my blog grew and grew. I realised that I wanted and envisioned it to be a platform through which I could share with you all simple, sustainable healthy lifestyle tips and tricks, as well as reflections from my own journey to a more balanced life.
Many of you will know I started a full-time (one year) Masters in Public Health and Nutrition in September, and making the decision to leave hospital medicine to do so, after completing a fantastic three years of hospital training and achieving my medical membership exams, was not an easy call. In fact, it really took me from January of this year to the summer to first, apply, and second, decide if this path was truly mine. Finding a halfway between your head and your heart is never easy, especially with big scary life decisions to answer the frequently asked ‘What do you want to specialise in?’ question, and more importantly to answer my own personal FAQs about how to pursue my passion for prevention and public health in medicine. I’ve been asked ‘So, are you not a real doctor anymore?’ many a time since taking this decision, and I don’t take any offence at that – it reflects a lack of awareness about the role doctors can play in shaping the health of populations as a whole (as well as at the individual level in acute hospitals and primary care), by advising on and helping develop policies and strategies with government, as well as advocating for the health of society. That’s only a TINY aspect of what the entire specialty of public health entails (and 10 weeks into my Masters I am loving every other part we have covered so far) but it serves to explain to you guys not in healthcare the sort of career path we can take in this area. My favourite definition of public health I’ve encountered thus far is ‘the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organised efforts of society.’ (Acheson, 1988, World Health Organisation).
Why am I telling you this? How does this relate to a gal launching her own logo? Well, as a public health advocate in our modern increasingly technology-driven world, I am actually (after much questioning!) really REALLY damn proud of my blog, my foray into social media, and the following of YOU wonderful guys that I have built over the past two years. I have been overwhelmed by the positive messages, comments and feedback I get from you all on my recipes, ramblings and articles, and it always ALWAYS makes my day when I hear you guys have tried my recipes or made a positive change to your lives after reading one of my articles. I believe that, like it or not, our world is only going to grow more connected through digital media and technology, and while there are MANY downsides to excess screen time (don’t get me started), there are an equal number of positives that public health as a specialty can capitalise on to motivate and inspire healthier lifestyle behaviours at a population level. We know there are many determinants of health, and income, education and occupation (all contributing to the broad category of socio-economic status) are three that are key to consider. But with those in mind, it is still true to say that a large proportion of the population, at all levels of society, have access to the internet, via smartphones predominantly, which become more and more like mini pocket computers by the day. That digital access CAN be a force for good, if used correctly and in the right context – access to healthy recipes, recipe videos, information on safe food preparation, stress management apps and tips, apps to encourage physical activity – the Active 10 app and Change 4 Life campaigns developed by Public Health in recent years are just some examples. At college, we recently had a seminar on how to optimise digital technology and communication for public health promotion – I learnt so much and know this will be a key part of my career in public health. I don’t know exactly how yet, but where there’s a will, there’s away.
And so I have gone from hardly EVER talking or telling people about my blog to outright owning that shizz. I absolutely LOVE writing and have done since I was a kid. Equally, as you guys know, I LOVE science, medicine, nutrition, lifestyle aspects of our health, and communicating with and helping people, both in person and now online. So the fact that somehow I’ve managed to marry the two with The Irish Balance fills with me pure excitement and joy whenever I take a step back from my mental ‘to do’ list and busy life to appreciate it. Do I have it all figured out? Of course not. But it feels right, so I’m just gonna trust the process, and jump through each door that opens along the way.
I wanted to symbolise my ethos and motivations that drive me and my media platform, and I am very very grateful that my very talented friend, designer, yoga teacher, mom and creator of the incredible Yogaru (a productive woman or what!), Ruth Delahunty (who you guys will remember from my Sevens Days of Yogaru challenge) has been beyond kind and generous with her time, talent and skills in designing a logo for me. I was filled with gratitude, excitement, imposter syndrome (I told it where to go, don’t worry!), happiness, and most of all, a feeling that making this move to symbolise what I do was SO right. I discussed a few concepts, ideas and symbols with Ruth before she designed this beautiful logo, to give her an idea of my backstory, what has inspired me, and what I feel has contributed towards my journey and what I express as a blogger. I can’t even describe how talented Ruth is and how much I admire her creativity and work ethos – I’ll let the logo speak for itself. Also, whether you’re a yoga fan or not, you NEED to go check out her amazing Yoga Sequences on her social media and website, which I’ve linked here and here. And if you want to join me, I’ll be using screenshots of Ruth’s sequences to do another 7 Day Yoga Challenge before Christmas, so keep an eye on my Instagram to join me!
I won’t go into those (with two exceptions), because they are personal and private, and just something I want to hold sacred to me, and anyway, I know this symbol will speak to you guys. Two I will mention very briefly are first Ikigai, because I’ve written about it before in a blog post this year here – Ikigai is a Japanese term and concept, and roughly translates to ‘your reason to get up in the morning.’ I think that says volumes, and I’ve felt tied to that concept ever since I read about it. I feel such genuine passion for what I write about and share on my blog and in my day to day life as a doctor, and for this area of preventive medicine and health promotion. Integrating that concept, among others, into my logo was a must for me, and I’m so happy that it is as beautiful as it is with Ikigai intertwined in it. Second, Ruth came across a beautiful concept called ‘the sacred geometry of nature‘ which I absolutely love, which involves sacred universal patterns and symmetry. I think it just fits so well in my logo as a foundation, because this idea of a sort of fragile balance in nature can be very reflective of that delicate balance we (me included!) look for in life – hence my blog name! I chose the colours green and pink because green, as many of you will know, reflects my Irish roots, and I just loved the vibrancy of the pink – all producing this beautiful symbol to reflect show my passion.
And that folks, is a wrap for this week. I hope you love the logo as much as I do, and I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on it – comment, email, DM, you know where to find me – @theirishbalance on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook!
Ciara 😊 x