Okay, so I don’t know about you, but I feel like running around in circles screaming. The schools are closed, and all events are cancelled. Everything is upended and in chaos. As a mental health professional, I thought I’d share a few self-care tips to help you stay sane (and calm!) during the coronavirus pandemic.
The first three are from our beloved deen.
Call your parents every day.
Take the time to call your loved ones, especially parents, daily. Now, many of us call our parents often to begin with, but this is a time to really double down on this good habit. We are all stressed out, and we know our parents always like to hear from us. Aside from the joy you can give them, just think about how happy Allah will be.
Play more Quran.
Most of us have some kind of MP3 player. Take the time to play extra Quran on your earbuds or headphones. The Quran is a healing, a light, a mercy, and a guidance; all things we need extra of right now. It’s also good to paly Surah Baqarah in our homes as often as possible for protection.
Don’t just wash your hands; make wudu.
When you go to wash your hands, go the all the way, and make wudu. We all know that all this chaos is a little overwhelming, and a little extra light on the subject can only help.
Next a few from from mental health standpoint.
Try Deep Breathing Practices, or Even Meditation.
Try to take deep breaths and be aware of your breathing. Deep breathing has been shown to calm the nervous system. Apps like Insight Timer and MyCalmBreath can help with this.
Exercise (At Home, Not the Gym).
Try to exercise regularly. Science has proven that exercise can give you a huge mood boost; it will be even more powerful if you can exercise outside in nature, perhaps in your backyard or on your patio, to combine the soothing effects of exercise with other mood-boosters, like fresh air and nature. We strongly recommend avoiding the gym or common areas such as apartment courtyards, as at this point, in order to contain the virus, experts recommend social distancing. There are lots of YouTube videos that you can follow along to for free exercise routines you can do at home; who would want to use shared gym equipment right now?!
Do Your Favorite Tried & True Self-Care Activities.
Finally, just to keep it real, engage in your favorite self-soothing behaviors, like indulging in a favorite candy bar, eating a favorite meal, taking a bath in Epsom salts, watching a favorite Netflix show, or listening to your favorite music, such as a nasheed or a favorite song.
Stay safe, and remember that social distancing doesn’t have to mean total isolation; you can still keep in touch with friends by phone or on social media. Continue using good hygiene such as wiping down areas with disinfectants and washing your hands. Remember, as our Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Trust in Allah, but tie your camel.”
Sarah is a social worker in the San Francisco Bay Area with at-risk and homeless youth. She likes to paint, drum, sing, and spend quality time with her family and God in her free time. She is currently working on a book on Sufism, mindfulness and recovery from co-occurring disorders and on an album with her band EYETestify.