The way I look at it there is so much we do not have control over in our lives such as who our parents are, where we were born, whether people will like us or not, the security of our jobs and so on. However Allah does not hold us accountable for these things; He has given us free will and holds us accountable for how we exercise this. When we focus on those things over which we have control we feel more motivated and hopeful. It is our decision how we interact and respond to our environment, but even before this, it is our decision how we treat ourselves. Looking after yourself is about using the free will Allah has given us to make the right decisions for our own wellbeing – to nourish the body and life that Allah has entrusted us with.
I think the main way I can take care of myself is by nourishing my heart through prayer. So I pray my daily prayers and try to do dhikr and make this a regular practice. I take care of my physical wellbeing by exercising – a few times a week I go running. I also try to eat healthy. Another way I look after myself is by spending time with the people who are important to me and enjoying their company. Life can be so busy but I know it’s important not to let these relationships get neglected as they nourish me emotionally and psychologically. I used to have really poor sleeping habits, getting to sleep very late and feeling tired all day. I have made it a rule for myself to switch off from electronic devices by around 8-9pm and get to bed before 11pm. This has really improved my sleep both in quantity and quality. I feel more energised in the day and focused on my tasks. I also get to spend more quality time with my family in the evenings. People sometimes think self care sounds selfish or indulgent but actually the things I do to look after myself fuel me so I can be productive at work, at home and in my relationships with the people around me.