Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus) as a global pandemic, many of us will be following the government guidelines to self-isolate or quarantine at home. From what would normally consist of a rushed commute to work, continuous interactions with colleagues, engaging around the hustle and bustle of the world, then finally returning home to squeeze in any other responsibilities that needs to be taken care of. And then, to do it all again the very next day.
But now, contained within our own four walls, with no structure to our daily lives, boredom seems to have struck the vast majority of us. Time that we could never find, has now come in abundance. So much time that it is now deemed acceptable to spend the vast majority of the day binge watching Netflix series, spending hours scrolling through our social media, dancing on TikTok or being taken over by the latest phenomenon, a trip down to memory lane on Disney+.
As fun and as much entertainment this provides, it amazes me how anyone can spend hours upon hours on these platforms, up to 6 hours for some. Like, seriously, HOW? There must be better things to do, right? There must be some positivity we’re able to gain from our quarantine? Are we really challenging ourselves to make the best of this situation?
“The energy of the mind is the essence of life” – Aristotle. A quote by the great Greek philosopher, Aristotle portraying that the mind is considered to be the most powerful tool available to man. All ideologies and expressions start from the mind and then are further developed, nurtured and brought to fruition through our own thinking. So in this current time, if we can transform the words “I’m stuck indoors and bored at home” to a more positive and productive line such as “I can finally focus on myself, my family, my connection with my Lord who is The Most Merciful, The Ever-Forgiving, The Ultimate Source of Peace.” Then this quarantine and self-isolation will become a source of blessing for us.
Surely the best investment we can make is on ourselves. A better person that not only benefits oneself but the positivity that will rub off on to those around us, our closest and dearest ones within our homes. A small change starting from within ourselves leading to the construction of a healthier mindset for everyone around us.
Here I have written down 5 simple and most important things to do while you self-isolate. As always, if there are others you feel can be added to the list, feel free to write them up in the comments section below. Your input is always appreciated!
1. Get a Pen and Notebook out.
Start making a well-constructed timetable. (A reasonable and a doable one) This will establish a natural rhythm and a routine. A daily routine is a checklist of things that will move you towards your goals. Such as,
• Waking up early for prayers
• Starting work at 9 am (if working from home)
• Prepping the kids for their school work and having extra help prepared (many parents make their kids wear their uniforms so they maintain the school and learning vibe/mentality)
• Having some quality family time
• Learn a new skill, as there are many free resources online (Udemy, Coursera)
• Reading books
• Add in some relax, lazy time
• Home workout and the list goes on.
Or maybe even write a blog like this to maintain a level of sanity or personal motivation, that will help you and others close to you during this testing time.
If you aim to mirror your daily schedule as it was before the quarantine, chances are it will be easy for you to slip back into that routine once this pandemic is over. The idle gaps throughout your day can now be highlighted and filled with productivity!
It’s important to realise that by writing things down, it releases a lot of stress and makes you focus on the things you need doing. You can read more about the benefits of writing things down here.
Our lives are beyond busy and our minds are in constant overdrive, (even when we aren’t doing anything, we claim to be busy) distractions all around us, information being fed to us from all different sources, and having so much on our plate that we can’t even handle.
As a result, focus in our prayer is lost, our minds wander. Stay calm, try and slow things down, appreciate where you are in your journey, even if it’s not where you want to be. Remember, every season serves a purpose. Your train is not going anywhere without you, it’s just your station, platform and even destination is different from everyone else’s. Don’t mentally overstuff yourself to the point of temporary coma.
Reflecting on our past experiences makes us mindful of the pain, stress, and anxiety we’ve come through. Once we are aware of them, we become more cautious within our lives and how we interact with others. Self-isolation has made this time available for us to ponder and reflect on them. Here is a more in-depth read on the topic of reflection written by Fatima.
Life has become so busy that acquiring a moment of silence has become impossible. Using this non-optional self-isolation time to reflect, will allow us to become more mindful and more disciplined.
According to the American Psychological Association, studies show that mindfulness practices (such as relaxation or meditation) help to reduce stress, boost memory, enhance focus and concentration.
Decrease emotional reactivity, and improve personal relationships. Mindfulness practices also promote empathy and compassion and are effectively used in clinical cognitive therapy.
Why not read a comprehensive article on meditation by Justin Parrot by clicking here.
3) Avoid too much of Social media and News
When was the last time you used the Airplane mode on your phone? Do you know that this function is still available on your devices?
In self-isolation our physical body is on airplane mode, however, we need to activate this mode for our mental state.
Consuming too much negative news and comparing our lives to others on social media is highly toxic to our mental health and gives us anxiety according to psychologists.
On a TED talk, Rolf Dobelli mentions “news gives you the illusion of understanding and that illusion is dangerous.”
Marilyn Rogers has also written a full article on why consuming news excessively is bad for your health.
Our elders are apparently the most vulnerable and all they do is sit at home and watch the same news every hour which is very bad for their health, it builds a lot of worry and stress on them. Making a timetable and routine for them is of paramount importance.
As for social media, we will be tempted. I agree it’s going to be difficult at the start to put our phones away. However, we need a balance. Studies have shown that too much social media exposure can have a negative impact on your mental health. Refer back to number 1, writing a timetable, add it in your routine, NO PHONE- Airplane mode.
You may want to read a book in that time, tidy your room, self-care, bake, maybe consider gardening or even learn about our beautiful Religion. We literally don’t have even the smallest excuse now, will we ever get a better time?
4) Be Prepared
As of the famous principle by the great Islamic scholars, “الوقاية خير من العلاج” which is translated as “prevention is better than cure.” So while this virus is continuing to rapidly grow, which is affecting many of our lives, we need to take precautions and be prepared for the worst.
There are many guidelines given by the NHS
On the other hand, we can also try out some of the natural remedies such as honey, pure black seed oil, gargling with warm salt water, steaming your face with a hot towel, alternatively some vitamin C and Zinc supplements.
I am not a doctor, but these are some old age remedies I have tried and found that they help me personally. However, be sure to seek medical advice if you have symptoms by calling 111 (UK) or by downloading a COVID-19 symptom checker app on your phone.
Keep in contact with families and friends over a video call. Self-isolation maybe the best time to catch up with your extended family such as grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts, etc.
Avoid talks of negativity and stick to conversations on their well-being, what their plans are and maybe have a laugh together. Call upon your friends and why not make yourself a cuppa coffee or tea and just virtually have your time together like you used to “back in the days” in a cafe or any other settings. Just enjoy it! 🙂
In these times of difficulty, it is necessary that we turn and connect with our Lord. No matter how much we advance in terms of technology, or the amount of wealth we may accumulate, we need to believe that this surely is a test from the Almighty Creator and He has Power over Everything.
While we have time, let’s build a firm connection with our Lord and speak to Him, one to one. Let out your heart to Him. We don’t want to regret it later on.
We may see that the doors of this world are shut. However remember, His, the Almighty’s doors are always open.
Self-isolation could be very depressing, however, by acting on these steps, it should definitely help you through this challenging time we are all going through.
Ilmfeed and Yaqeen Institute have also written some guidance regarding self-isolation and quarantine.
If you have more tips, don’t be shy to drop a comment and let everyone know how you are dealing with self-isolation or quarantine.
Be safe, use your time wisely and connect with the Almighty.
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