I think looking after yourself requires a lot of courage. Whilst sometimes looking after myself looks like taking a bubble bath or reading books like ‘The Compassionate Mind’ by Paul Gilbert or going on a walk or taking myself out somewhere I love – often looking after myself is the total opposite of an Insta opportunity. It’s tough love; forcing yourself to do that piece of work you’ve been procrastinating on because you know that the longer you put it off the more anxious you’ll become, it’s throwing yourself into an opportunity that terrifies you and remembering that Allah SWT is protecting you and will help you if it’s truly good for you and you have faith, it’s taking a step back from your worldly life when you realise you haven’t been connecting with your faith as much as you feel you should.
You have to look at where you are, think “How does my heart feel right now?”, “Where do I want to be?”, “Which excuses am I making as to why I’m not there yet?” and “What do I need to heal?”. It means analysing what your main focus is right now and trying to shift it if you recognise your current focus isn’t healthy or constructive. Looking after myself means being gentle with myself, it means trying to dismantle emotions which don’t push me forward but being brutally honest. If my life is a conversation with God, what am I saying with my actions and what am I saying with my words?
The more beautiful this conversation is the happier I am, the softer my heart, and the stronger and more confident I feel. When I’m looking after myself well it doesn’t look interesting to other people, it’s not the time of my life that I post a lot of pictures on social media because my life would look boring to those on the outside. Being organised, showing true gratitude for the opportunities I have by working hard, making the most of my blessings, focusing on improving khushoo (humble focus) in prayer, reading Qur’an and deepening my understanding of Islam, pursuing my interests and strengthening my relationships with others, spending quality time with family and the friends I love, really connecting, are all part of really looking after myself and it’s during those times I feel I have more to give others as well.