Embracing Change and a New Chapter

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This is going to be a Friday Focus with a difference – a little bit of a life update as opposed to a specific topic. That’s a big reason I love my blog – it’s a platform through which I share health promotion focused content with you guys, and that’s my bread and butter of the content I want to share on it. My public health doctor hat is, as you guys know, 100% on my head at all times, and I feel really passionate about sharing as much information as I can with you all in that context.

But my blog also began as a place where I can write about and share my life journey, as a doctor, a human being, a young woman (I sound OLD saying that, ironically), a daughter, a sister, a grand-daughter/niece/cousin, a yogi, a friend – I have many facets to my life, as do we all, and I’m very aware of my own imperfections. I like to say we’re all imperfectly perfect, and that life is about progress, not perfection, and enjoying the roads we take in life. Writing about my ups and my downs on this blog as proved beyond therapeutic for me in the past (every single time) and in fact, it’s resonated with many of you guys who follow my blog and social media more than I could have imagined.

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Sometimes, I find I just have a LOT of thoughts running around in my mind, and writing them down here always helps to make sense of them. This week, I found myself reflecting on the fact that it’s APRIL and I have NO idea where the last 3 months went. In the last 3 weeks alone, I’ve had the biggest interview of my career so far, somehow managing to get the job specialty I wanted badly, and found out I’m going to be moving across the country to start the 4-year programme in July. Oh, and I’ve got assignments and exams to do and a Masters thesis to write, and two holidays to dive into before then. PHEW.

I don’t say any of that to moan. In fact, I think what strikes me most and has done since last week when I found out the county I’ll be working in in Ireland for the first 2 years of my public health training, is how grateful I am for all of these exciting (if a little overwhelming) developments in my career. I took a BIG leap out of clinical (I was hospital based for work for 3 years until last July) medicine last summer to apply for my Masters, and it wasn’t all plain sailing to do so. But it was my gut instinct as I’ve said before, and I had to trust it. And I guess, I’m just grateful that this path is lighting up the way I wasn’t sure it would or could.

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So, what I’ve decided to tell myself everyday going forward, is to remember to stop and smell those gorgeous roses on my way. Right now it’s daffodils as we finish out spring (they’re my favourite flower I think – March baby and all that!), but you get me. For the first 3 months of 2019, I kept my head down, and grafted. I do like to think I kept a fair amount of balance in my life throughout that time, but I was always focusing on the next deadline – and in the back of my mind, the big deadline was my interview. And rightly so – it’s a big chance for a big career step. There are times in life when you have to graft, put the hours in and do your best to be balanced to make sure it doesn’t negatively affect your physical or mental health (or social well-being!), but work/career/college/exams still takes the overall priority for a short time period. That was March for me – the interview was 2 days after my birthday for example – but to be fair, I was in denial about turning 28 anyway!

But now, as I said recently in an Instagram post, it’s time to look forward, be proud of myself, and stop to take a breath regularly. Sure, life is busy, there’s a Masters to finish out, a life move across the country to do, and (HURRAY!) holidays before then – but how awesome is that?! Life will always be busy, and in fact, I’d rather it be busy than boring. What I’m focusing on instead is enjoying the activities of my life – not using words like ‘busy’ anymore. Busy to me, and many of you I know, implies stress, and in fact, stress is just a reaction within us to an event or perceived challenge. We can change how we view that challenge, and therefore our experience of it, for the better.

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I haven’t mentioned this yet on my social media (I did sneakily drop it in in this week’s Podcast episode!) but I’m moving to Galway in July, a gorgeous county in the West of Ireland, and easily my favourite city outside of Dublin. I am SO EXCITED! Pretty much everyone who has found out I’m moving there has said how amazing a city it is, and then have been giving me advice and tips on where to live, where to workout, do yoga, get coffee, go for walks, eat brunch, go for dinner – it’s actually made me smile every single day and I’m so grateful for such generosity and positivity from all these guys, thank you all! I absolutely love Galway (for those of you outside of Ireland it’s about a 2.5 hour drive from Dublin) and I’m really really excited to move there in July. She’s flying the nest lads! Over the next few months I’ll sort out where to live and all that jazz, but in the meantime I’ve already (of course, true to form) picked out possible gyms to join, yoga studios to try and of course, the foodie scene! I’ve been to Galway several times but definitely not explored it as much as I would have liked to – but I’ll have 2 years to become an expert! So if you have any Galway favourites hit me with them – leave a comment here, or drop me a DM on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook! I’ll keep you guys updated on the move as it happens!

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A recent post-yoga class shot with my friend Ruth! (@yogaru_ireland on Instagram!)

Okey doke. BIG NEWS done. Life update nearly over. I thought I would finish this post by sharing some of the little things I’m doing to make sure I stop, reflect and enjoy every page of every chapter of my life going forward. They’re personal to me based on what I enjoy, but they might resonate with you or encourage you to find the activities that make you smile!

  • Continue my weekend dates with my Nana and Mom (family is priority!)
  • Catch up with friends every week (at least one friend date!)
  • Book myself into at least one early morning yoga class per week at my favourite studios (yes, I know yoga classes cost money to go to – they are my personal treat along with good coffee, we all have one and both are good for my soul! My favourite studios are Hot Pod Yoga, Reformation and Moons Yoga Loft – I’ve booked into at least one class two weeks in a row now and I’ve already booked next week’s!)
  • Read a few pages if not a chapter of whatever book I’m reading every day
  • Take time out from my Masters to write one blog article every week (I usually do write every week, but I want more structure for it in my life)
  • Keep up my kitchen creativity and work on at least one new recipe per week
  • Walk, in fresh air every day – with my head OUT of my phone
  • Finally – sing more! I love belting out tunes while I cook or drive!

And that’s it guys! I hope you enjoyed this post – something a little different and it was definitely therapeutic for me to write. I would love to hear what you thought, and your favourite self-care activities! You know where to find me  – @theirishbalance on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook!

Ciara 🙂 x

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