Coping compassionately in uncertain times
The world is topsy turvy right now and it’s normal to feel unsettled when things are uncertain, but there are ways you can be compassionate towards yourself and enable yourself to cope with these rough times.
1. Change your expectations
What you do day to day is different now. And that’s ok. Yes, when we go to work 9-5 we have certain expectations of ourselves which are in the main achievable (if they’re reasonable!). But with the changes and uncertainty at the moment it’s simply unfair of you to expect the same level of productivity when there’s so much going on that uses your mental, physical and emotional energy.
2. Pay attention to your needs
Our basic needs are actually really easy to miss when we’re out of a routine – we’re creatures of habit. Remember to drink enough water, get enough sleep and not indulge too much on screen time. Yes going on Insta or your PS4 for a couple of hours can feel great, but are you missing more fundamental needs like rest, prayer and connectedness?
3. Use your agency
Often people feel out of control when big things are going on. But we still have agency (everyone remembers the hadith about tying your camel, right?). You *can* do something about your wellbeing, that includes maintaining it. When you wake up in a rubbish mood, you have a choice: you can stay in bed scrolling on your phone, or you can pull yourself out of bed and get a good breakfast. We have a responsibility to look after ourselves.
4. Stay connected
Compassion is all about connection. When we’re infants, if we get hurt, we’re hungry or cold, we cry. This cry engages our parent because we’re literally hardwired to be compassionate. Subhana’Allah! Be around people. During these weird times that can seem hard, but we’ve got tech to help us out with that. A zoom call, a whatsapp call, even voice notes. Anything to give you that sense of connectedness. Studies have shown connectedness and feeling that your needs are being responded to can actually act as a pain killer in our brains – that’s the power of connection.
5. Enjoy yourself
We’re stuck inside more than many of us are used to. Learn something new. Get an old board game out. Read a good book. Listen to a new podcast. Doing something enjoyable helps us pass the time, but it also gives us so much opportunity to be grateful. Allah subhana wa’tala loves a slave with shukr.
6. Stay in the here and now
Easier said that done if you’re a bit of a worrier, or if you slip into self-critical thinking about the past. Ask yourself: do these things help me? If not, what am I trying to do with this way of thinking? Often we worry to prepare ourselves, we think back to improve ourselves. But in reality we can only do these things by staying in the now. Look out your window, watch the clouds, listen to the sounds you can here. Centre your consciousness in the here and now.
* Please note this a general article aimed at people feeling a bit out of sorts due to current events. If you have an anxiety disorder or depression – this advice may help but it will not heal those problems. Please reach out if you’re struggling.