Updated: Oct 14, 2021
- Ever been so stressed that your body literally couldn’t hold you up anymore?
- I have.
- In fact, the world seemed like it was spinning every time I turned over in my sleep!
We often don’t appreciate, or perhaps even forget, the close connection between our mind and our body. We are beautifully designed by Allah swt to have souls intertwined with our mind and heart, all held in a physical form that is expected to run seamlessly. But, if one aspect falls the others soon follow suit.
In recent times, we have been met with unprecedented restrictions and a new way of living we couldn’t have foreseen. We’ve collectively been more aware of our mental health due to the impact it has had. I choose to see how blessed we’ve become because awareness is the doorway to maintaining good mental and emotional health.
Given what we know about our multifaceted selves, it’s only right that we take a wholesome approach. And I love to categorize, so we can delve into 7 key areas of our life with simple daily habits that can keep us steady and healthy.
The best part is you can design your ‘dailies’ according to what suits you best. Personalize it and make it specific for your mental health.
Practicing mindfulness is a powerful way to manage your racing mind. The idea is to be present in the current moment without overthinking the past, where our sadness and regret fester or the future, where our insecurities and anxieties have a wild rave.
All you need to do is bring your mind to the now. One way to do that is to focus on your breathing. But you can choose to focus on anything really – a sound or a scent. For the more spiritually-inclined, you can focus on Allah (swt).
It’s okay if your mind wanders and thoughts start flying. Let them. Don’t judge them or try to analyze them. They’re just doing what they do best - living in your mind as they’re supposed to.
Liken them to birds in a park. One second, they’re pecking away at the ground, the next they’ve flown onto a branch, and then they’re gone. Treat your thoughts the same way. With practice, you learn that not every thought needs to be listened to. Not every thought has weight. Not every thought has meaning or evidence to back it up. They’re thoughts, not facts.
You then know what deserves your attention, what doesn’t and you become a master of your mind. Furthermore, you can bring yourself back to the present moment any time you like and that’s how you truly keep your mind at peace.
We’re all on different spectrums when it comes to expressing our feelings. Some of us bottle them up while others wear them on our sleeves.
Our upbringing and experiences in life may not have taught us how to manage our emotions. So we find ourselves erupting in rage over inconveniences, or in extreme despair when we experience a loss.
Channel your sadness into creativity, talk to a friend, or what I have found works beautifully is journaling. Journaling your thoughts and your feelings gives you the freedom to write whatever you want without judgment from anyone. Not even you.
You can pour your tears out and let your heart bleed all over the pages and it gives the most therapeutic sense of relief. What’s more is you discover things you may not have noticed before. You learn about yourself and find solutions to what’s bothering you much more easily than when it’s all swimming chaotically in your mind.
Another tip if you’re really struggling, is to write down something you’re grateful for every day. Focusing on a blessing, letting your mind and heart appreciate it deeply can instantly pick you up when you’re feeling low.
There are days you cannot tell me apart from the furniture and while it’s important to know when to allow your body to rest, it’s just as crucial not to be totally sedentary.
Go out for a walk and get some fresh air. Try a short jog or a swim. Anything that gets your muscles moving and your heart pumping.
Particularly when we feel our mental health has taken a hit, we can be more reluctant to move. But forcing yourself out the door will give you better chances of getting your head straight than binge-watching episodes. As for fuelling our bodies, we know the drill; drink water, eat your greens.
We’ve heard it all before but what I’d like to add is how mercifully Allah (swt) has instructed us with His wisdom to look after ourselves physically, knowing the connection it has on our mental health. Ramadan is our reminder to manage our desires to master ourselves and gravitate our soul to Him; With that in mind, we can honor our Amanah by how we feed and treat it and just notice how it influences our mind and soul.
This is all about minimizing the things around us in our physical space. You’d be surprised how much a cluttered home can clutter your mind. So one word – Declutter.
Living in an organized home is one thing but let’s not forget the other place we also reside – the online world. Being accessible to anyone and everyone around the clock has a better draining system than my kitchen sink!
Every email, every notification, every flutter between apps is energy-expending. Most of it is heavy yet useless ‘input’ into your mind with little to no gain.
Learn where your screen-time is. Stop mindless scrolling. Take social media breaks. Set daily time-limits. Turn off notifications. Time-block for responding to emails and messages.
For many of us, when our mental health declines, we have a tendency to become more reclusive.
But the worst thing we can do is to shut ourselves off from others. It only increases our loneliness, physically, mentally, and emotionally. But knowing someone is there for us can be the one thing that keeps us from despair. Remember that you aren’t a burden to the ones who truly love you. Let them listen and be there for you. Even if you aren’t ready to share your issues, just connect the way you normally do.
You could consider being spiritually fulfilled as the most essential of all the tips. Being close to Allah swt is the very essence of what it means to be human. So, it really is no wonder we feel in turmoil when we be- come distant. The most beautiful thing to remember is that Allah swt is always close and never leaves us, meaning we can get closer to Him whenever we have loosened our grip.
Daily practices to keep you connected is to savor the 5 daily one-on-ones with your Creator, complain, and rant to the One who always listens. Strengthen your relationship by knowing Him, think of His attributes; His Compassion, His Mercy, His Glory and let them comfort you.
Whatever you spend most of your time doing becomes your occupation and if it’s something that is truly meaningful to you, it can fuel you rather than drain you. If you happen to love being a homemaker or a doctor, then experience it to the fullest. Make every part of it be amazing to you. Think of it as the opportunity that you get to do, rather than something you have to do. Work with the intention of it being in service of Allah swt and it becomes another way to worship.
My final tip - learn more about yourself and your values everyday and use them to align your lifestyle to who you truly are. The more you live authentically to the nature of your soul, the more your mind and heart find peace.