In Islam, self care is not only highly encouraged but extremely stressed upon as well. When you are exhausted – mentally and physically, you will not be able to fulfil your duties towards your family, children or loved ones. Unfortunately, this exhaustion will quickly roll on to your spiritual life too.
You will find it hard to concentrate on your ibadah and not feel motivated to pray on time or read the Quran. The whispers of your nafs and that of shaitan will magnify, leading to overall decline in peace, contentment and work output. When you feel relaxed, you will be able to deliver better personally, professionally and spiritually.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Verily, your own self has rights over you, so fast and break your fast, pray and sleep.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]]
Our heart, mind and body are Allah’s favors upon us. However, we neglect it and sometimes even forget that it exists, badgering it with every harm and exhaustion that we can find.
Take a step back.
Take care of these gifts from Allah.
Self Care #1: Your Mind:
What’s the status of your mind? Is it haunted with negative thoughts about yourself? Do you feel that you are flawed? Do you think that you can never do anything right and be successful?
The Prophet ﷺ paid a visit to a sick Bedouin and supplicated for him saying: “No harm will befall you. May Allah cure you.” The Bedouin countered this, saying that it was a very strong fever that would cause his death. The Prophet said: “Yes, then may it be as you say.” [Bukhari]
It was narrated that this Bedouin died the next morning.
What happened here?
Though the Prophet ﷺ told him that he’d be cured by Allah, the Bedouin was being pessimistic and said that he couldn’t be cured. And he got what his mind made up.
Have good thoughts. You will see all the negativity in your mind vanishing because with your good thoughts, you are also declaring the fact that Allah is above all such negativity and He will provide you with the best.
Allah said, “I am as My servant thinks I am.” [Qudsi]
What do you think of Allah?
Self Care #2 : Your Heart
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Indeed in the body there is a clump of flesh, if it becomes good, the whole body becomes good, and if it goes bad, the whole body goes bad. Indeed it is the heart.” [Bukhari]
Think about it. When you feel grieved, or jealous of someone, do you feel good? Do feelings of negativity increase your happiness and contentment? Not really…right?
The thoughts we harbor and the feelings we nurture can make or break our lives. When we think positively about Allah and others around us, we will be blessed with goodness beyond measure. However, when we allow feelings of ill will or hatred consume our minds, we will spew negativity and resentment towards everyone and everything.
Take care of your heart – fill it with good thoughts for others, let it brim with care and love for people around you and you will see how Allah blesses you with happiness.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever removes one of the hardships of a believing soul, Allah will remove from him one of the distresses on the Hereafter. Whoever solves someone else’s problem, Allah will make things easy for him in this world and the Hereafter… Allah is ever assisting His servant as long as that servant is helping his brother.” [Sahîh Muslim].
Self Care #3 : Your Body
And finally, your body. If you are too ill to be mindful of yourself, how will you be able to do any good for yourself or others around you?
The Prophet ﷺ said, “There is no vessel which the son of Adam can fill that is worse than his stomach, for it is enough for him to take a few bites in order to straighten his back. Yet if he is unable to do so, then he may fill it with a third of food, a third of drink, and a third for his breath.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
Your body has a right over you. Keep yourself fit by exercising. It could be as simple as playing a game of hide and seek with your children or going for a twenty minute walk outside! It could be using the steps instead of an elevator or switching your junk food to something healthy once n a while. You need not start big. Start small and be consistent in wat you do. You will witness a tremendous change in your mind, body and soul.
Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others.
Because self-care is a form of worship of Allah!