Canadian Poet Najwa Zebian on the Importance of Reflection and Healthy Boundaries

Mental Health

Canadian Poet Najwa Zebian on the Importance of Reflection and Healthy Boundaries

How do they do it all? ‘Personal Best’ looks at the hardest working Canadians, and their wellness routines. This week, we talk to London-based poet Najwa Zebian.
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Lebanese-Canadian author, speaker and educator, Najwa Zebian is currently touring the continent with her ever-popular poetry and new book, Sparks of Phoenix. She published her first collection of poems in 2016, and ever since, Zebian has been an inspiration to many across the world, connecting with her fans through social media.

Here, Zebian talks about her self-care rituals, gives us some tips on asking for space, and setting up healthy boundaries.

How do you start your day?

I start my day by having my morning tea. It’s something that grounds me and adds some self-care to my morning.

What is the first self-care ritual you do for yourself every day?

I take some time to reflect on how I am feeling and what I should do during the day based on this feeling. For example, if I am feeling down in any way, I know that I need to be cautious of who I interact with and how much negativity I allow myself to be around.

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What are the differences in your routine since you started touring with your poetry?

I used to feel I was not fully myself because there were many parts of myself I was hiding. Since I’ve written my words and began sharing them with the world, I feel fully myself. I feel home. I feel I can be myself with no apologies. I feel whole. I did not feel that for the most part of my life.

You talk about some potential triggering moments when you work. How do you relax?

I relax by taking a step back from what I am doing, instead of ignoring the feeling. I acknowledge it, feel it, then let it leave. In my third book, Sparks of Phoenix, I ask my readers to give themselves permission to feel their feelings without waiting for anyone’s acknowledgment. There is so much power in that.

Where are your favourite spots to relax?

My home. Coffee shops. Airplanes. Anywhere I am alone and have time to process and think.

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How do you make time for yourself on a busy day?

It can be hard sometimes to make time when there are so many demands. What I always try to do is fit in a few minutes of alone time, wherever I am, to get back in touch with my thoughts and feelings. It can be hard to ask those around you for what you need, but you must remember healthy boundaries are important. And that includes being able to not ask, but state, that you need a few minutes to yourself.

What are other important things you do for yourself to feel pampered?

One of the most important things for me is to spend time with my nieces and nephews. They are my world. Spending time with them is like a breath of fresh air because they see the world so innocently and it brings back a childhood nostalgia that makes me want to see the world with the same beauty and hope.

On a scale of one to 10 (one being a couch potato and 10 being a fitness guru), where do you sit when it comes to health and wellness?

I am definitely not a couch potato, nor am I a fitness guru. I have a hard time placing myself on that scale because I am constantly working and moving. My knowledge about fitness is personal to me and my own health needs. So maybe an 8.

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Do you use any fitness apps?

No. I don’t. I do try to balance my diet with regular physical activity that comes naturally. My workouts are at-home workouts I’ve learned over the years.

How do you wind down at night?

This is something I am working on. It’s a challenge. I’ve been trying to imagine putting my worries and stresses to sleep before I sleep. It has been helping.

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