In this third Community Spotlight, I had the honor of interviewing Ferwa Chevel Khalfan, the founder of a vibrant and comprehensive lifestyle platform called ARISTOS . On the site, readers can find insightful articles related to a wide range of topics including health and beauty, food, home development, entertainment, social circles, and general lifestyle tips. All in all, in starting and sustaining ARISTOS, Ferwa demonstrates her dedication to living a balanced life and encouraging people around her to do the same. I’m also thrilled to say that Ferwa is a LILAS Wellness Ambassador, so I’ll have opportunities to continue collaborating with her in the future. I’ve already learned a lot from her unique perspective. So, without further ado…
1. Ferwa, How do you prioritize wellness in your life?
I believe that wellness is VERY IMPORTANT. To me, living a balanced life is absolutely essential and being well is a critical part of achieving this balance. I try my best to follow something called the 80/20 rule, which is a productivity framework that helps me prioritize getting a few really important tasks done instead of spreading myself too thin. Sometimes, my work flow balance looks more like a 70/30 split and that is okay. I’m learning to be patient with myself in those moments.
2. On the ARISTOS website, you share how the platform encourages its audience to pursue balance in their wellness journeys. How did this core principle of balance shape how you developed ARISTOS over time?
ARISTOS was born from a concept and craving that I've had since I was a young teen. I had an inner belief that everything on this planet was given to us to use for our benefit. In other words, there are a lot of answers in nature. However, we were also given a brain to access research and science. So this means merging the eastern and western way of healing and wellness. This ultimately, along with how spirituality and religion were taught in my house, as a guide and way of life, not a rule book to follow blindly, was how I decided that this is the way I wanted to navigate life. A part of this also meant being informed, straight from the professionals, which is what I do with ARISTOS.
3. As a self-professed third culture kid, how did your exposure to different understandings of wellness in varying contexts impact your own?
Every culture, every country, has something to offer. Traveling, learning from cultures, having varied experiences, are the best things imaginable. You get so exposed, you become more agreeable and understanding. You analyze on a whole new level, and because every culture has its own healing practices, its own tips and tricks, there's so much to learn from. Through this cultural exploration, we also learn how we are more alike than different. Love is cultivated and you see beauty in everyone and everything.
4. Though you generate a lot of ARISTOS content yourself, there are also quite a few posts from a variety of contributors. What are some things that the ARISTOS platform has taught you about community and diversity?
Working on ARISTOS has absolutely shaped my understanding of community and diversity. For one, in wellness, there is no one answer for everyone. While a topic can have a general rule book or guideline, it is malleable to each person. Therefore, crowdsourcing from the audience,friends, and family's first hand experiences allows me to share real feedback,tips, and tricks on a certain topic. When it comes to professional advice, I think this automatic collaboration that happens as a result of a conversation and interview allows for two audience groups to be exposed to this discussion , to learn, and to hear new things, or be reminded of something they have learnt in the past.
5. Do you have any content recommendations (books, TV shows, podcasts, etc.)?
I love mindbodygreen podcasts for wellness from industries. The site is very similar to what ARISTOS offers, but it is a bit more focused on food and supplements, exercise, bloodwork, etc. I also love the "Skinny Confidential” podcast for a more social and filter-free conversation on lifestyle and wellness. “How I Built This” is an NPR podcast that is great for entrepreneur motivation and inspiration. In terms of TV shows, I currently am obsessed with Turkish TV shows. It’s a phase that started with being numbed with American TV.While I still love a decent reality show, Resurrection: Ertugrul is about Turkish history. Though the change of scenery is great, the show also just warms the heart since the underlying theme is about justice and fighting for what's right, while still never being rude or inhumane to people! I love it!
A huge part of the LILAS mission is recognizing incredible women making major contributions to the advancement of women's health. Their hard work and dedication enable all of us to strive for progress and be optimistic for a future in which women’s health concerns are prioritized.