Living through a pandemic.

If you have been affected by the pandemic on any level, I pray that Allah bestows his infinite peace, comfort and compassion upon you, Aameen,

Welcoming the new year, in January I couldn’t have imagined we would be experiencing a global lockdown, but subhanAllah, here we are.

The lockdown and change in pace has affected us all in different ways. Whilst the energy and narrative at the beginning of the lockdown was about taking online courses, maybe learning a new language or doing tasks we don’t usually have time for, as it has gone on, the lockdown is stretching our emotional and mental capacity to new limits. 

The reality is that we are living through a global trauma. There is tragic loss, uncertainty and instability in our lives in this moment – and if this has brought up uncomfortable feelings for you, I see you. You are not alone; the whole world is experiencing a very similar situation.

Here are a few of my offerings of smalls ways to mindfully live with a pandemic:

1. Feel your feelings

This is an overwhelming period of time, so know that it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to be anxious, angry, low, happy, relieved or even feel indifferent. Whatever it is which is present within you, welcome it into your conscious mind like a guest. Be curious about said guest, knowing that they are here to teach you a lesson. A great way of doing this is through journaling, body movement, dua, prayer, Quran journaling, meditation and of course speaking with a trusted friend, family, colleague or even a therapist – a problem shared, is a problem halved! Whatever that looks like for you, make space for your feelings. When we feel, we heal, in sha Allah!

2. Get out in nature

I find that the most effective way of settling into my body is by going out into nature. It really is my sanctuary and happy place, especially when I am bare footed and have the sun in my face! The benefits of engaging in nature are well documented for our physical and mental wellbeing. From reducing anxiety, anger, stress, blood pressure to increasing energy and concentration levels. Give it a go, even if you’re just in your garden for 10 minutes a day.

3. Ride the energy wave

The emotional and physical impact of the lockdown means our energy levels may be going up and down like a rollercoaster, some days are productive, and many others may feel “wasted”. My invitation is to intuitively pace yourself with what’s happening in your body – when there is a bubbling energy, use this to get on with what needs to be done. This could be your work, your chores, exercise or other activities. And when things feel slow and low, be super kind and gentle with yourself, and do the tasks which can be done on autopilot, such as admin tasks. This is not the time to be punitive or self-critical, it really is a time for self-compassion, doing what we can with the resources that are available is enough.

4. Get your Zzzz

One of the first things which goes out of the window when there is any stress present, is sleep. The women I work with have reported feeling super tired, oversleeping, having disturbed sleep or not being able to drift off to sleep at night. And of course, when we don’t sleep well consistently it affects our cognitive functioning, our emotions, our productivity and motivation. If this is something you’re struggling with, be intentional in establishing an evening practice that will optimise restfulness. That looks like getting prepared early in the day by moving your body in some way then settling into bed shortly after Isha, staying off electronic devices, keeping the room cool and ending with sleeping supplications. A yoga nidra meditation is another effective way to quieten the mind and drift off peacefully.

5. Open hearted Dua

Last but definitely not least, speaking to our creator! He swt knows better than we do our state, let’s take this opportunity of slowness to turn to Allah with an open and soft heart and have a conversation. Confide our fears, worries, happiness and be held by Him swt. A conversation with Allah is a safe space, it’s a medicinal and mindful practice which cultivates presence, compassion and relief from struggle.

I hope one of these practices will resonate with you and enable you to continue to take care of your body, mind and soul. Remember when our metaphorical cup is filled to the brim, others around us can reap the blessings we bring into the world.

Your sister in faith,

Suad

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