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From Silicon Valley to Self-Care: The Shift in Prioritizing Wellbeing as an End-of-Life Doula

A woman in a yoga pose, bent forward with her hands on the floor and her back parallel to the ground. A cat is sitting on her lower back. The background features two white doors and a green wall. The text overlay reads 'Self-care: Non-negotiable.

The most profound mindset shift I experienced when transitioning into my role as an end-of-life doula was learning to prioritize self-care. Even now, I sometimes grapple with it. This change was monumental, considering my 25+ years of experience in the tech industry in Silicon Valley. Though every company emphasized "work-life balance," the reality was different. Amid the whirlwind of shifting priorities, the expectation for quick results was overwhelming—a typical scenario in tech and in corporate America.

I understand the corporate world's demand for adaptability. Even in my current role, we face similar pressures. Societal norms often induce guilt and shame for prioritizing our wellbeing, but in my work, I've learned that self-care is a crucial component of my service to my clients. One memorable day, after an emotionally draining session with a client, I was overcome with sadness and stress. I remember looking at my computer screen, trying to create a new social media post, and just thinking about my client. Instead of diving into writing, I realized I needed to take care of myself first. So, I took a much-needed walk, something that would've been unthinkable in my previous corporate life.

In the corporate world, the pressure to work long hours, and the perverse pride that comes with such bragging rights, was counterproductive. "Look at me—I worked 14 hours for four days last week. I'm such a dedicated employee!"

As I transitioned to owning my own business, I educated myself on entrepreneurship. I learned about the significance of setting boundaries—personal and professional. One piece of advice that struck a chord was the concept of establishing three non-negotiables.

My three non-negotiables are:

1. Daily meditation: This practice helps ground me while making me feel lighter and reconnects me with my true center.

2. Daily exercise: It's vital, especially when most of my day is spent sitting. And it is exercise that brings joy (my gratitude to Zwift. Ven-Top, I hope my knee survives our next encounter).

3. Quality time with my husband, Oren: Our relationship is my pillar, my life's greatest joy. I couldn't do what I do without him. No matter how long my life is, it will never be enough time spent with him.

So how do I make it all work? I make smart commitments and plan diligently. I organize my month, week, and days (Oren is now a Kanban expert). My daily meditation and exercise are non-negotiable, so I tackle them first thing in the morning.

I allocate specific time slots for my work and take necessary breaks. Yes, there are long days and weekends involved—it's a new business, after all. However, I have set boundaries to ensure my wellbeing and my relationship with my husband stay healthy.

Reflecting back, I realize even in my past career, insisting on self-care would have made a significant difference. It's not just about doing what's necessary for my current role—it's about ensuring happiness in every aspect of life.

1 Comment

Sep 01, 2023

Beautiful writing! I love your courage to leave the corporate life to make a deep impact at the most vulnerable part of most people’s life! I wish you all the best and I can’t wait to see you again one day to hear about your journey!

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