A Palestinian woman who spent the first spent first 14 years of life in Abu Dhabi, Rula Tabari has now settled down in Dubai. Like many other women in the region, she found balancing her education and work were challenging, and was always searching for ways to make life easier, better and more efficient. After she completed her bachelors degree in psychology at the tender age of 19, she went on to train as a teacher before doing a masters in educational psychology before going on to work as an educational psychologist for 20 years between Dubai and the UK. Now Dr Ruba has completed her PhD and is looking to open her own clinic. Throughout the years, Dr Ruba has learned about the importance of several aspects of mental wellness, strength and balance. She gives us a few inspiring tips to live better, healthier, more balanced lives.
1) You’re more resilient than you think, don’t get too overwhelmed — “Over the years, we get in situations where we have less help than we would like, or less time to do things, but somehow one finds a way… and what is a difficult change at first becomes routine…and you adjust accordingly…”
2) You REALLY can do whatever you put your mind to — “One of my bigger achievements was running a marathon in 2004. That was a real changing life experience for me — something I would recommend for everyone. This was a goal I never thought I could attain. What it taught me was how we really create our own ceilings. Even if you asked me then, I thought I was a strong character but obviously I had created a ceiling for myself. When I completed something that I never thought I could do, my life became much more active. I had a different outlook where everything was possible if you wanted it enough.”
3) Give yourself a choice — “If I had to give advice to women in the Middle East, I would say that women need to create their life in such a way that they give themselves a choice or options. Don’t live life judging success by your partner’s achievements, strive for your own , be your own whole entity. Don’t hold yourself back from different possibilities and educations and hobbies and goals because of pressure at home or societal expectations. And surround yourself with like-minded people; when you surround yourself with strong, industrious women, you find strength in them and feel inspired by them.”
4) Stay active, don’t be bothered by age — “I am too old for this… I am too old for that…Age is just a number, and should not dictate what you can and cannot do!”
5) Safe-guard time for yourself — “I believe its so important to find something that allows you to de-stress. We tend to feel guilt-ridden as women, that we have to do everything right. Be kind to yourself. give yourself time, give yourself space. We need to be less critical of ourselves; we try to be super heroes when we are not. It’s okay to go part-time, it’s okay to not be doing everything at once and feeling like you have to do everything. Stare at trees, for me it’s the “shut-down”, everybody needs to find something, i think it’s crucial.”
6) Find the humor in things and know you can’t change everything — “Humor is a great way to rebuild. I like to watch something funny or dance, anything to make me laugh. The biggest thing is to try and silence the mind so you’re able to relax… I feel privileged that in my job, people trust me with personal, private information… It is such a privilege in many ways. You get used to the frustration, understanding that you can’t change everything, so sometimes you have to let go of that. Now I go for appreciating what I CAN DO, and even small changes can be huge in the end.”
For more inspiring articles on tips for leading healthier, more balanced lives, visit Challenge to Change.