Scroll through Tahereh Mafi’s Insta feed and you’ll behold some pretty impressive physical feats. Watch as she balances on one leg atop a BOSU ball while whipping a pair of battle ropes. Witness her completing half a dozen pullups with ease. And marvel as she lunges, uphill, with a big barbell hoisted on her shoulders. But weight training isn’t some social media flex for the YA author—it’s essential for her well-being.
Tahereh first embraced the iron as a teen breakdancer (you need muscles to perform a windmill or her signature move, the crab). And, after learning as an adult that she has a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol that puts her at greater risk of having a heart attack, she doubled down on lifting as a form of stress relief and strength building.
“I sit at a desk all day while writing, so when I do get moving, I like to push myself pretty hard,” says Tahereh, who is mom to a 4-year-old, and has published 12 books in the past decade (her latest, An Emotion of Great Delight, is out now). “I like the way it makes me feel.” Consider us pumped up too. Below, Tahereh shares her wellness rituals.
Find daily rituals that empower you.
“Getting dressed is essential to my sense of self. It’s very important for me to delineate off-duty and on-duty hours. And the routine of changing helps me to prepare; it helps me change states. I feel best when I feel formal, like I’m ready to tackle anything.”
Lay down your armor.
“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that true strength doesn’t come from hardness. When you’re hard, you become brittle, and when you’re dealt a blow, you break. Learning to soften has been transformative, because you become flexible—you don’t break, you bend.”
“Learning to be compassionate with yourself is essential. Be forgiving to your younger self. Allow her to be. You did the best with what you had.”
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