Managing my Anxiety

This post is something I have been wanting to write for a while now but I haven’t had a chance. I suffer from anxiety and depression and over the years I’ve been slowly learning how to manage it better so I can live a better quality life. So I wanted to share some of the ways in which I have learnt to manage my anxiety as it may help someone else too.
This is obviously not going to magically make everything fine but it still helps. I have good days and bad days and days when nothing seems to work but I have found that I am doing better than I was a couple years ago. I don’t have as many panic attacks and my low days don’t seem to last as long.
Of course these things may not work for everyone, I had to go through trial and error to see what worked well for me.

1) Counselling – Not seeking help from professionals was probably what delayed me in being able to manage my anxiety sooner. I was completely lost and didn’t know how to help myself but I attended regular counselling sessions on the recommendation of my doctor and it was the first time I felt I had help in learning to cope. There’s several different types of counselling and I attended group therapy where the focus was teaching us to manage our anxiety and teaching us what anxiety is and how it affects us. We were given practical techniques every week and lots of information. And it really helped me.

2) Someone to talk to – this is someone who is close to you and someone you trust. For me it’s my husband, who I can go to and say I’m struggling and feeling like this. He doesn’t judge me or tell me to “get over it” he listens to me and will try to help me, whether it’s that I’ve said I feel low or that I have zero motivation to do anything.

3) Nature always helps me to feel a little better. Whether it’s flowers at home or going to the park. The smell and look of flowers and greenery helps me to feel relaxed. I don’t know what it is about flowers but having them on my table in a vase makes me smile.

4) Unplug from social media. It can be so amazing to just unplug for a while. I’m bombarded with notifications all day and just putting your phone and laptop away and doing something you enjoy is so helpful.

5) So following on from my last point, do something you enjoy. Something that is therapeutic for you. For me it’s a variety of things. I like to colour or paint and it helps me to re-focus and stop worrying and stressing about the hundred things that are running through my head. It just helps me take a step back from everything. But my favourite thing to do is to read. I love reading in the evening to help me to relax. I normally clear the area I’m sitting at so there’s no distractions. Light a candle and dive into my book.

6) The things I’ve mentioned so far have been all things I do at home, but sometimes I end up being stuck in the house for too long when my anxiety acts up and I find it hard to get out of my bed let alone leave the house. So I found that having a place that you find relaxing to go to or doing something that you truly enjoy can motivate me to get myself up and leave the house. For me those things are of course book related. I love attending book events or just going to the library or book store. I’ve even discovered a cute cafe that has a bookshop in it. There’s armchairs and sofas for you to just come and sit and you can read or study and hang out. Also going to hang out with friends is something that usually gets me out of the house too. Or planning a “date night” with my husband. These range from going to the sea life centre to parks to discovering new places in our area.

7) Praying and reading Quran. So for me this goes without saying that my faith has kept me from completely despairing of ever get through my difficult times. Especially when I was at my lowest the only thing that kept my thought of self harm at bay was my faith in God. It’s so hard at that point to think of anything positive and the only thing that kept me going was knowing that this time too will pass and He will help me through it all.

8) The last thing I want to mention is something that completely surprised me. I would never have thought that having a cat would help me with my anxiety and depression. I have never been an animal person so when I finally caved and let my husband adopt the stray that had started living in our garden I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I fell in love with him. He’s such a cutie and love having him around. It’s just so relaxing to have him chilling with you and cuddles are the best! Plus he’s so entertaining and never fails to lift my mood!

So these are the things I do to help me manage my anxiety. I hope that by sharing my experience it helps others and I would love to hear from you about what you do to help manage in your everyday life.

I also want to mention that reading, learning and understanding anxiety and depression has helped me a lot too. I would definitely recommend picking up a book and learning a bit more about it.

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She Wore Red Trainers book review

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I recently read She Wore Red Trainers by Na’ima B Robert for Ramadan Readathon. I had read this book a few years ago but I decided to reread it as I absolutely love this story. If you want a halal love story then this is the book for you!

This book centres around 18 year old Ali and Amirah. They are both coping with their life and family situations and it leads to them bumping into each other. The story then continues to show how they both develop feelings for each other but constantly try to keep everything halal.

This story gave me so many feels! I related to Amirah so much and the struggles she was going through in trying to battle out her feelings for Ali and wanting to pursue her goals in life. I loved how it showed that you can keep it halal but still choose who you want to marry.

It dealt with issues that many young Muslims face in today’s society. From learning to balance deen and dunya to lowering your gaze to not being judgemental of other Muslims and so much more. A lot of misconceptions regarding women were also so wonderfully woven into the story. None of it feels like a lecture and only what’s relevant to the story is mentioned.

For anyone wondering how Muslims can get married to someone without dating then this book explains it so well. It reminded me of when I got married and one the one side my colleagues were shocked that I hadn’t dated my (now) husband before deciding to get married but people in the Muslim community made remarks about how “I wear a hijab” but I chose my own husband so how “practicing” could I be. That because we knew each other (we were in the same class at uni) we must have dated. So reading this book was so great as it deals with all these assumptions within the Muslim community and helps non Muslims understand how we can marry someone without dating.

It was funny and adorable and it gave me butterflies. I would definitely recommend everyone to read this book.

Rating: 4.5/5

When a disagreement with a girlfriend leads to Islam

When a disagreement with a girlfriend leads to Islam…

After a fall-out with his Muslim girlfriend, Tim turned to the Islamic Society for answers. There, his 10 year journey, searching for the purpose of life, finally came to an end.

Watch on to see how God guided him and why there was nothing for him to overcome…

When becoming Muslim gets you a visit from the police

When becoming Muslim gets you a visit from the police…

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James came to a point where he accepted Islam as the truth. But he kept delaying his conversion because he was scared of changing his life. Until he got a visit from the police.

Watch on to see how God guided him and helped him overcome…

Everlasting Marriage part 1

Recently I attended a seminar run by Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed called Everlasting Marriage. I wanted to share some of the things I learnt with you all.

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you love and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.
Quran (30:21)

Before she explained this ayah to us, one which we all probably know, she spoke to us about signs. We often confuse the signs Allah sends us with our destination. But the purpose of the sign is to direct us to our destination. A sign is only a means to the end. It is not our destination. We need to be aware of this as we live so we don’t confuse a sign with our destination. Our destination is Jannah. It is not a job, or home, or marriage.

As we discussed this ayah we not only talked about what this ayah is telling us but how we can practically implement these into our lives.

Allah created us to live in sukoon with each other. Our home is meant to be a place of serenity and tranquility. Inside the home it is supposed to be sukoon, it is meant to be a shelter, a refuge from the storm outside. Yet for many of us it the opposite. The storm is inside the home so people go outside to seek serenity. We need to make our refuge inside the home.

The ayah speaks about love (muwadda), in Arabic there are many words which mean love yet Allah chose to use this specific word for love. This is because muwadda means an expressed love. This is a love that you not only say but actively show by the things that you do. It is not a love where all you do is say I love you. It is a love that you show in the things that you do. This shows it is important for a spouse to show their love, it isn’t enough to just say I love you and not show it in any way.

However it is important to note that not everyone expresses love in the same way. The way in which we feel loved, so how we wish to receive it, is often the way in which we express love. However our spouse may not feel loved in the same way as us so it can lead to a miscommunication.

We learnt that there are 5 love languages. So there are 5 different ways in which we can feel loved and express it. It is important to know the way in which we feel loved and the way in which our spouse feels loved so that we can express our love in the way that our spouse understands.

In the next post I will discuss the love languages in more detail inshaAllah.

The Blessing of Sleep 

Sleep. Something that many people take for granted. I mean it comes naturally to us. We get tired and we go to sleep. Right? 

But what about us who lay there every night wishing they could just fall asleep? Tossing and turning all night. There are people, like me, who just don’t know what a good night sleep is anymore. We don’t wake up refreshed and ready to take on the days tasks. We struggle to get up, dragging ourselves and every morning is a battle. I have chronic back pain resulting from a prolapse disc, which is getting worse over time. I haven’t had a good night sleep in years. I don’t even remember what it feels like anymore. I sleep for 3-4hours a night if I’m lucky and even that is disturbed. It’s because lying down is painful for me. It takes me hours to fall asleep and I can’t lie in one position for more than an hour. So I wake up every hour because I’m in pain and have to change position. Now I’m not saying this because I want people to feel sorry for me but I want you to appreciate this blessing of sleep. Trust me when I say that a good night sleep is so important to how we function in the day.
Ibn Uthaymin rahimullah said sleep is a blessing of Allah because it renews energy and heals fatigue 
We can tell the difference between the days when we’ve had a good night sleep and when we haven’t. There are books and classes out there telling us how to make the most of our sleep so we can be more productive and make the most of our day. 
And it is He who has made the night for you as clothing and sleep (a means for) rest and has made the day a resurrection. Quran (25:4)
Even Allah has stated in the Quran that the night is for resting so we can spend the day doing our work. 
We should thank Allah for giving us this blessing,without it we wouldn’t be able to function. We wouldn’t be able to study, work, exercise and all the other countless things we do. Most importantly we wouldn’t be able to worship Allah and that is what we’ve been created for. Allah could have created us to do nothing but stand day and night in his worship but he didn’t he allowed us rest. We should thank Allah every day that we were given a good night sleep to be able to fulfill our purpose. Even our sleep can become a good deed if we sleep with the intention to rest so we can worship Him better. 
Don’t take sleep for granted, take it from someone who is unable to have a good night sleep. It truly is a blessing.

Boys will be Boys. Right?

“She was asking for it”
“Why was she dressed like that then?”
“Well she shouldn’t have been out that late.”

Phrases people say when they try to justify why it wasn’t really the mans fault that he assaulted or raped a woman.

And I just can’t believe people actually think like this!

And in thinking like this we actually oppress the women. We stop them from getting an education, having a job, having a social life where she can go out and meet other sisters etc They think by doing this it’s enough. They neglect what’s even more important. Teaching men how to treat women well.

So if the woman had worn full niqab she would never get assaulted? If she didn’t go out or have a job she would never be a victim of abuse? Wrong! They still have.

About 85,000 women a year who are raped in England and Wales alone. And that’s the women who actually report it. But why does this happen to so many women?

Women are held more accountable than men. And often women are actually blamed for being raped. It’s the mindset that it’s the womans fault anyways, or that she was asking for it, that needs to change. No woman wants to be assaulted or raped. Ever.

This attitude is put within while we’re kids. When we’re told that a boy likes us if hes mean to us. Or if we tell someone he’s making fun of us etc. we’re told that, boys will be boys. We actually teach boys this behaviour is okay. That girls will be held more accountable than they will.

So just like we teach girls to be safe and not go out too late etc. We may even prevent them from going out, instead, keeping them in the home. We don’t allow them to get an education or build a career because something may happen to them. How about we also focus on the men.

We need to teach men how to treat a woman, how to be respectful and polite. How to control themselves if they see a woman they’re attracted to. That they are not superior to women and teach them to hold themselves accountable for their actions. Especially when they are kids and teenagers do not say that they’re “just being boys” because the greatest of men would never accept this behaviour and mindset.

The greatest of men to live, the greatest examples who we should make role models for men treated women in the best manner. They would never assault a woman and then behave as if it wasn’t really his fault.

Musa (as) when speaking to the women at the well did not stare at them, he even walked in front of them to be more respectful. The prophet (saw) has so many examples in which women, including his wives testify to how well he treated them. In fact every prophet is known to have treated women in the best manner.

So then why is it that we don’t teach this to our sons? Why do they think they can get away with assaulting or raping a woman? Why is it that when a woman comes forward and says she has been raped shes made to feel as if shes responsible for being raped? Why do we allow the rapist to get away with little or no punishment?

So change this mindset, don’t stop women from living their lives, teach the men how to behave.