The Lantern Initiative asked mothers from their community How are you practicing self-care?
Although Self care, in theory, is a simple concept, it’s something we often overlook. It is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.
According to the human givens approach, When we feel emotionally fulfilled and are operating effectively within society, we are more likely to be mentally healthy and stable, but when too many innate physical and emotional needs are not being met in the environment, or when our resources are used incorrectly, unwittingly or otherwise, we suffer considerable distress – and so do those around us.
So Self-Care isn’t a selfish act at all, it is not only about considering our needs; it is rather about knowing what we need to do in order to take care of ourselves, being subsequently, able to take care of others as well.
Knowing that “if I don’t take enough care of myself, I won’t be in the place to give to my loved ones either.”
This month we have been asking mums how they maintain good emotional and mental wellbeing and the answers have been so inspiring we wanted to motivate others with them too!
Here are some of your answers;
“Not every day is predictable and easy with little ones, but my escape and self-care is usually recitation of Quran after Fajr, just before the calm before the storm. Mindfulness, meditation, exercise or a walk around the block to clear the thoughts.”
“It’s so much more than a bubble bath or a cuppa in silence. Self-care is the duty upon us all to look after the Amanah that is our bodies, minds, and souls. Now if looking after my soul involves copious amounts of ice cream and an Avengers movie, who am I to say no!”
“Both my children were born prematurely via emergency C section and had to be shifted to intensive units after birth. I was in a mental state thinking why out of all the people I had to be the chosen one not to have everything normal. But as soon as I entered the neonatal care unit and was suddenly transported into another world of babies some tinier than mine and others with internal problems, this was the moment where I thanked Allah for everything, it could have been a lot worse. Instead of me cursing and looking at things negatively I put all the strength in loving my babies and thinking positively. My best tip for mothers struggling is to take time out for themselves while babies are sleeping and to have tawakal in Allah as without we are nothing. I do find listening to Zikr in seclusion and opening my feelings up to my Lord really does help settle me mentally. Doing things with patience and gratefulness in your hardest time is key.”
“When my kids were younger and I didn’t want to leave them to go out, I would make a point of taking a long bath when they were in bed. This was my time and I was fortunate that my husband understood how important this was for me. Also making the effort to meet and speak to other mums was a sanity saver. Understanding that it’s ok to feel exhausted and low but knowing when to get help and actually ask for help was important.”
“Given my busy schedule, I know how important it is to allow some down time to relax. If I have short bursts of time during the day, I listen to podcasts around self-care and motivational speakers. It’s also important to keep active therefore I take long walks around London to focus on my mindfulness and appreciate the landmarks our city has to offer. I also attend my local gym to keep active. I believe giving back to the community also helps my wellbeing, so I support charitable events within the community wherever I can.”
“I find a mixture of techniques helps keep me on an even keel with my mental health and wellbeing. I have to engage in social activity away from the children and the house because often these are my biggest stress factors. I try to do this once a week if I can. I also find reading helps me to switch off and recharge my batteries. I can’t find the time to read every day but if I read once a week for a good chunk of time this helps!”
“Maintaining emotional wellbeing for me is actually being organised. Decluttering, keeping clean, organised spaces within my home helps me feel clear-minded and focused. This may be common sense for some but for me, having a family of 8 where every inch of the house can be at a stretch, I really need to keep on top of things. I definitely feel as though I have a positive mindset when I can make this a regular part of my routine.”
“Rest and relaxation for self-care means doing different things depending on the situation. Sometimes I feel I need an adult conversation with good friends and beneficial company. At other times I feel I need to have a weekend lie-in and read a few chapters of a good book. I think our self-care needs change and evolve, just like we do.”
The Lantern Initiative is a Muslim run community initiative currently based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. The organisation is run solely by volunteers in their spare time. Our aims and objectives are to educate and raise awareness of mental health issues in the Muslim community, to help break down some of the associated stigma and to empower communities in seeking and accessing help. We fulfil our aims by giving Muslims more platforms to openly discuss mental health, therefore making it less of a taboo subject. We work alongside several charities and UK mental health organisations, as well as teaming up regularly with award winning psychotherapists such as Wajeeha Amin and Myira Khan.