Altamash Javed, a former investment banker turned one of the regions most promising photographers.

His clients include Dubai Tourism, Audi, Apple, Ferarri and Emaar.

ALJVD spoke to our founder Ally Salama about one of the leading struggles millennials go through in today’s world: Mental Health.

Due to connectivity issues in the UAE, we decided to postpone our podcast series and conduct an interview together instead.

How do you manage the daily stressors as one of the leading content creators in the Middle East?

Thankfully I don’t have to manage on the daily :).  But yes, as a freelancer at times it can be difficult.  Not getting gigs, late payments, frustrating clients.  I just handle every situation as it comes but most importantly always take a lesson away and implement a solution to make sure I am better prepared for the future.

How do you make sure you take care of your psychological health wellbeing in your day to day life? Do you follow any specific routines to enhance your health?

I’ve found that meditation and prayers have helped me.  I don’t always pray, but when I make it a habit I do find myself and the surrounding energy calmer.  In this age of social media, I think it is VITAL to take breaks from it.  We are in uncharted territory.  Seeing your twitter timeline all day or watching people living up life on Instagram stories can have a negative toll.  I try to take a 2-3 day break from social media every month.  That means delete all the apps on the phone.  And believe me, going offline for 3 days these days seems like an eternity.  I encourage my friends to do it all the time and I am yet to see someone do it successfully.

Has there ever been a time where you felt under extreme pressure as a creator? How do you usually deal with it?

Yes. I remember why I started.  I slow down.  I go back to basics.  I try to learn from others.  There is nothing wrong with walking away from it for a bit.

Could we talk about Travelling and the pros and cons it can have on our psychological health? What advice can you give to our young travelers keen on pursuing a career similar to yours on maintaining great mental health?

Traveling actually revitalizes me.  Please do not go to locations to re-create viral photos.  Go to places to experience them.  Learn about its history.  Hang out with the locals.  Your life will be much more fulfilled if you travel for the right reasons.  I am nowhere close in terms of that goal, which would be to travel most of the time and get paid for it yet creating what I want to create.  I’ll crack it someday.

I have not watched it and I probably couldn’t relate to it anyway.  I am nowhere close to those guys traveling all the time.  My lifestyle and commitments do not allow for that.  But I have heard of those who travel all the time, those who we think are living their best life, being the most depressed too.  Again, I can’t relate on those terms, but when I start hitting up 20-30 countries a year I’ll let you know.

What are some tips and ways you can give, to millennials in the Middle East, that usually help you significantly increase your mood and overall wellbeing?

I guess it goes back to what I answered above.  Please do not take social media too seriously.  No one or very few post failures.  It’s very competitive.  Everyone seems to be a creator – hence focussing on your own voice is more important than ever.  Take breaks.  Surround yourself with people who uplift your spirit, and be there for them when they need it. Pray/meditate whatever its called to you. Be thankful and full of gratitude. You probably have it better than you think.

What would you say to any of our listeners today who might be going through a rough patch? What can you say to those who cannot speak up due to fear and shame? If you had one thing to tell them, what would it be?

Please find someone to speak to.  Even just one.  I have found that it was a few key people in my life that have helped me through dark times, even as recent as last year.  They will pull you through.  If not hit me up I will speak to you.


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