“Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue that way. So you should not be extremists but you should try to be near to perfection so that you will receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.”
(The Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, as recorded in Bukhari)
This beautiful hadith teaches us that we should not make religion or life too difficult for ourselves.
As usual, this post is inspired by recent events in my life that I have reflected on and learned from. I strongly encourage you to learn from your life experiences. Calmly reflect on them and be patient.
Recently, I have caught three colds within one month (a lot of kids play in my home). Alhamdulillah, with the help of vitamin D3, it is not that bad, but still, it is difficult. I am also struggling with my children, who I am afraid are not eating enough healthy food. I also am having problems with a family that I work with. I am tutoring their semi-autistic son and lately their time expectations have caused me stress.
To make matters worse, my internet has not been working properly, and it is important for me to answer emails on time!
So, with all of these stressors, I realized that I need to take care of myself more. I also find that when I am able to bring myself back to inner peace, my outer world starts to improve. Since I do not want more stressful events to enter my life, I have trained myself to use coping skills to return to inner peace.
So here are some ways to take care of yourself:
1. As always, be aware of your inner world as well as your outer world. If your outer world is not going well, in my opinion, you need to start taking care of yourself before things become worse.
2. Reduce Stress. If something is causing you stress, you must do something about this. Can you reduce your commitments and activities? Can you take a mini-vacation to a local place? Can you talk to someone who cares?
3. Train yourself to stay calm, no matter what. This is easier said than done, but trust me, when you calm down, you will find solutions to your problems more easily.
4. As always, remember the two states of the Believer: Patience and Gratitude. Be patient when life is difficult. Look for things to be grateful to Allah (swt) for. Even little things can bring out your feelings of gratitude. Today, I was grateful that our electricity was working regularly (Since we live in Northern Iraq, the electricity cuts off sometimes).
5. Problem-solve! Think of solutions to your problems (first clearly understand what your problems are). You will feel empowered! For example, I decided to limit my time with the family that I work with. Even though they may not like this, I need to do this for my own inner peace.
6. Watch what you eat. Do you know that food can have a powerful effect on your emotions? Try to pay attention to how certain foods make you feel. Raw veggies and fruits are best!
7. Be Patient with your Limitations. We are not superheroes. Also, we are all different. Even though one person may seem to “do it all”, that does not mean that you can do the same. Learn to listen to your inner compass and to accept the fact that you do have limits.
8. Did I say REDUCE STRESS? Even though I am repeating this, I really hope that you will find ways to do this. For me, a cup of tea is a great stress reducer. Did you know that stress can cause all kinds of physical health problems? You have to find ways to reduce stress.
9. Finally, accept the fact that life is stressful sometimes! That’s life! And we are not always going to feel good and peaceful inside. Accepting this fact will actually help you to feel more peaceful inside, insha’Allah.
Islam encourages us to do good to others, but remember, you are a person too! Take care of yourself so that you can do more good deeds in the long-run, insha’Allah.