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  • Shirley

Welcome! And what are we doing here?

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Hello, and welcome to my new blog! Honestly, I'm not sure if anyone other than my mom will read this (hi, mom!), but I'm seeing this blog as a space to explore and share thoughts on my experience so far in learning to reduce stress by recognizing the beauty that already exists in our lives and in the core of our unique personalities and contributions to the world.

So, this blog is starting in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. As a working mom to 2-year-old ("L") and 4-year-old ("A") daughters, our lives have become very different with them home from daycare over the past 3 weeks. Like everyone else, this transition has been difficult in numerous ways, and heartwarming in other ways. For the first two weeks, I felt especially stressed. Between balancing work with "being there" for the kids, keeping them engaged, writing complex manuscripts for work (sadly, in the hours of 3-6 am), managing food and household stuff, potty training, wanting to continue to work personal development stuff that I had been devoting time to, ambitions to work on developing a second side of my medical writing business, not to mention concern about our society overall, and the health, financial security, and well-being of the people I care about... it was (and continues to be) a lot to deal with. I was getting especially discouraged because I felt like suddenly all of my time was "lost" to child care or needing to sleep. I started feeling hopeless and discouraged that everything I had been working on and planning for over the last few months was suddenly not an option. But in the last week or so, I have started feeling better about everything and hopeful about continuing to move forward despite the circumstances.

So, how did I shift this mindset? First, I reverted back to a gratitude practice I've been working on for the last year or so (more on this in a separate post on this blog). Second, I've been assessing what is truly most important to me and identifying how to bring more of it into my life (again, more on this in an upcoming post). Third, I've been reminding myself of what I bring to the world, even in the context of not working and social isolation. It can be hard to feel like you're making a difference to anyone when you're stuck in the walls of your house all day. But I've been noting recently how small things can make a difference. For example, I feel even more connected to others now by exchanging a smile or hello when I'm out walking the dog or taking the kids for a walk (from a suitable social distancing space, of course). While connecting with just a few people seems like it wouldn't have much impact, I think these small connections make a difference in our overall well-being now more than ever. Through this blog, I'm also starting to share my thoughts on topics that I wouldn't necessarily have had the courage to share in the past. I'm learning to recognize that our individual unique voices DO resonate with others (though not everyone, and that's okay) and can make a difference in their lives, even just through acknowledging shared experiences and perspective. It can be incredibly validating to hear someone else express something that you are feeling, and I believe that each of us has the ability to share this with others in the world.

So, particularly right now, in the absence (or reduction) in daily external influences that help us validate who we are, it may be even more important than ever to take a moment and remember that our value to the world is not defined by our productivity and accomplishments by external standards, but by simply embracing who we are and existing as we are. My plan is to address topics surrounding this concept as well as general approaches that have contributed to improving my perspective on life, in the hope that the discussion might help at least one other person feel connected, understood, and/or inspired. I know that for anyone who is reading this, your unique combination of traits and experiences and perspective is valued by others, even if it is not formally recognized. Remember, you bring light and joy to the world just by being you!

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