Name: Deena Alawaid
Fav thing about your city: Dubai is very welcoming and so exciting! There's always something to do and ways to challenge myself within my career. Halifax will always be home. It's my comfort zone
Tell us a fun fact about yourself! I have a twin sister; it's the biggest blessing in the world. I've gone through life with my best friend since day one!
What is your connection to mental illness?
Mental illness is something that has always been present in my life growing up but it wasn't until I hit junior high/high school that I really began to understand what it was. I found myself figuring out more and more about mental illness through my twin sister than through myself - sometimes it's easier to make excuses when it's happening to you but you'll always get super protective when it's someone else. Afterwards, you'll begin to see it more and more in yourself.. at least, that's how I came to terms with it.
What does your every day look like?
I like waking up a little earlier so that I can enjoy a cup of coffee before starting my day. This time is 'me' time. I don't check my phone, emails or calls. After I've had my coffee; I'll reply to emails and messages. Then I'll head out to my boot camp (5 mornings a week) which helps me get into a good mindset for the day. Then I get ready for work and get to do what I love.
Usually, I get packages to my work address so once I am there I'll check my packages and plan out my weekly blogs - which I try to post every Sunday.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
If I could tell my younger self anything it would be to be a little selfish sometimes. That it's not okay to keep others happy at the expense of your own happiness. I would tell my younger self that my body is the only home I am guaranteed to have for my entire life. Take care of it. Exercise. Eat healthy. And don't put your body, or mind, through any extra stress. You're young - you still have the rest of your life ahead of you. Don't worry about what others are going to think of you. Don't worry about looking for relationships or adventures within others. The best thing you'll ever learn is that you are in control of all of those things- of love, happiness, adventures and success. Be your own best friend. The rest will fall into place eventually and you're going to be the happiest girl.
PS: go out of your way each day to make a stranger smile. It'll change your life in more ways than you imagine. And once you start bringing that into your career, you'll watch it take off.
WYL: Who is a Role Model to you?
A role model to me is someone that is not perfect in society's eyes; the image of perfection we have been given by society is very false. It's make believe. It's not a REAL human. Real humans have flaws and imperfections and it's ok. I think the stigma around mental health goes back to what we are told is 'perfect' growing up. We are given an image we have to live up to by society and it causes so many of us to hate ourselves because of it leading to many mental health illnesses - anorexia, depression, anxiety etc. A role model is someone who notices that and shows people that they're perfect the way they are. That it's ok to be yourself and it's normal to have mental health illnesses and it's OK to talk about it openly. It's part of what makes us all human.
WYL: How do you spend your Self-Care Sunday?
I love to blog once a week. It can be something as simple and fun as posting a blog review. Or it can be a very therapeutic time for me where I write about meaningful things in my life. The very personal posts help me go through situations and experiences in life. I love reading comments from people telling me that they can relate to what I've been through.