I have learnt to listen to my body when it’s tired, to learn to say ‘no’ to things when I need a break and to take breaks without feeling guilty. Part of this has been about prioritising the most important commitments such as uni or work and leaving other things, no matter how hard it is to do that. And that’s the crux of the matter, self-care isn’t all bath bombs and Netflix (although these can form part of it), it’s about deciding to sleep at 9pm instead of 1am or switching off my phone, it’s about ‘biting that frog’ and doing my best to avoid procrastination. It’s about a self enforced spending money on books ban until the ones on my shelf have been read. And it’s about cold, hard truths. The hardest realisation so far has been that I can be of no real use to anyone if I first and foremost do not prioritise my own mental and spiritual well-being.
Am I perfect at this? Absolutely not! But that’s the point, it’s part of the wider struggle and neglecting to look after myself leads to burning out or getting sick or feeling stressed which reminds me that my body does indeed have rights over me, which must be fulfilled.
It’s been a journey of realising when I feel the best and understanding why I feel that way, of recognising the purpose of life and what God intended from it, from all humans and recognising that I too, have a role in that.
I was gifted a Dua Journal not too long ago, and it’s been great at reorienting life and helping me to refocus when things go wrong because it reminds me to recognise good moments, little wins and reflect upon areas of improvement. Spending time alone is also a great way to reflect and you don’t need a Dua Journal to do so. Before going to bed or just before or after salah, a small moment to breathe, reflect, forgive yourself and listen to yourself is often all it takes.