meet jahan sharif
the Los Angeles-based producer and founder of Everything We Can, who believes it’s important to always listen to your body.
How do you make your health a priority?
Before the pandemic, I didn’t have a car. I would walk wherever I wanted to go and take Ubers and Lyfts if it was too far. By virtue of walking everywhere, I built exercise into my day. It didn’t even register as exercise; it was more of, ‘I have to run these errands.’ Basically, I would end up walking around 3 hours a day.
“Then the pandemic hit and there was nowhere to go.”
I remember I went from about 15,000 steps a day to averaging mid-pandemic, about 500 steps a day. My body deconditioned really fast. I had overall less energy and everything just seemed harder. I’m currently in Seattle and since I don’t have a remote office anymore, I made a standing desk at the kitchen counter and I bought a BOSU Ball. I got the BOSU Ball because I realized I stand up to 8 hours a day and just by virtue of standing, I feel more energized. So I thought, how else can I bring motion into the act of standing. I now have the BOSU Ball underneath me and having physical movement built into the day has helped me be more energetic.
For me, a lot of my mental health practices come down to being patient and being okay with things being a little bit messy. The place I’m trying to work to is a place of acceptance of reality.
What is one ritual you can’t live without?
I always say if someone wanted to murder me, it wouldn’t be hard because I do the same thing every single day. Same time. Same route. Here, I was at Obet and Del’s Coffee Shop and 3 days of the week, I walk down there and get an extra hot, honey oat latte (I get this drink no matter where I go). It’s a way for me to single the end of my morning solo boot-up process and the beginning of the workday. Before I grab a coffee, I’ve probably been awake for an hour and a half, I’ve read the newspapers I want to read, and I’ve scrolled through Instagram. Then by drinking caffeine, it’s me signaling that now we are shifting gears to the next thing.
I’ve noticed that if I don’t have coffee and if I don’t take that moment to tell myself I’m going to the next phase of my day, I struggle moving on to the next thing. I have backups built-in. So I actually built a failsafe for the ritual. Otherwise, it throws the rhythm off of my day.
How do you regain a sense of control when you feel overwhelmed or off-balance?
In this photo, I was having a moment of overwhelm. I had a lot of asks to do and not enough time to do them. My personality is not one in which I really spiral, but I definitely, at this moment, needed to pause. I know I could probably work on all these things until eternity, but I needed to stop and take a little mental break.
I don’t do yoga that often anymore, but I did yoga consistently for about 5 years. One thing that every teacher always reminded us to “Listen to our body because if you don’t, you’ll injure yourself in a very literal sense.” I always carried that lesson with me. In this case, sure, I wasn’t moving, I was sitting down and didn’t physically injure myself, but I felt the same sort of stress and tension and overexertion. So I said, let me stop. Turns out, it was what was needed. Taking those 10 minutes to stop was a way for me to regain some sense of ownership over what I was doing.
next story — violette