I recently picked a local magazine geared at parents in Dallas and an article by Christa Melnyk Hines caught my eye. She is a journalist and the author of Confidentiality Connected: A Mom’s Guide to a Satisfying Social Life. She lists eleven characteristics of Happy Moms and I agreed with all of them. I will paraphrase them here and show how they relate to my Islamic personal life, at least since the birth of my son. Alhamdullilah.
- Lean on Community
Most of my work is done online and I lean on the support the online community of a couple social media platforms provide me. In her article, she points out that bonding with friends boosts a woman’s level of oxytocin; the stress reducing hormone in the body. In addition, I’m making an effort to also lean on off-line community; a very challenging thing to do for an introvert. Duas requested!
- Commit to Healthy Living
I sleep early, I wake up early, and I make time for self-care by pampering myself regularly with homemade cosmetic materials. This helps me stay energetic, boosts my self-confidence and self-image. I’m happier and definitely more patient these days. Alhamdullilah.
I went through an integrative nutrition health coaching program a couple years ago with Zeeshan Shah, IIN, of Eat.Drink.Pure whom I interviewed, and she strongly suggest to women and children to look at their Circle of Life from the School of Nutrition’s diagram below. A personal balance in all of these areas helps one have a more fulfilling life. I can attest to that at least since I pay more attention to them these days.
- Take Time for Personal Pursuits
I try not to stay stagnant in my acquisition of knowledge. I have a Master’s Degree in Accounting but I’m still going to school (Islamic and Secular) because I’m a student of life and that’s my personal pursuit; iqra. So, find your personal pursuits that have been shorthanded or sidelined and revive/reclaim them to be and stay happy in your life. Closure gives peace of mind.
- Nourish Yourself
Life is hectic but on weekends, I enjoy my time relaxing while making brunch. Why? Because I see it as a time to bond with my Creator, my family, my soul, relax and enjoy food bliss. Good food has a highly spiritual aspect. So, see cooking and nourishing yourself as a soothing and mediating moment not as a chore. As a matter of fact, this is my time of worship with only positive thoughts and continuous dhikr. We were created to worship in all our actions and cooking is one worshipping act I greatly enjoy. Masha’Allah alhmdullilah. Now, there is nothing wrong with a man cooking for you too *wink*.
- Laugh. Family Life Can be Funny
Life with a toddler is funny indeed! My son says a ton of hilarious things because at his age he takes things literally. While these Mommy Fails Moments make me consider how to approach the homeschooling process next, they help me loosen up and enjoy life as it is. Other suggestions include a satire, pictures and videos of good times with friends and family, and comedy films. Life is short, laughing moments are memories you can use to lift your spirits when darkness wants to pounce on you or pounces on you. That’s life. Sometimes you will be dragged to darkness without your consent, but will you make an effort to rise above it or conquer that dark moment and restore your happiness? I pray you answer, “Yes.”
- Follow a Spiritual Practice
This is a no brainer for Muslims. Allah said in surah 13, verse 28, “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” Hines says here, “Studies find that people who lean an inner belief are happier.” Making time to intentionally seek a sense of peace leads to a happier being. Meditating or silent reflection, journaling, or attending inspiring religious services are all part of this seeking sense of inside peace. Inspiring khutbas and halaqas qualify here.
- Practice Gratitude
Hines suggests writing down three things that one is thankful for daily including even all the smallest moments. She also cites a research done at Eastern Washington University here. “We have found that grateful individuals tend to be happy individuals and that grateful thinking improves mood,” said the researchers. I personally write down more than three things ranging from tiny to big, down daily because Allah says in surah 14 verse 7, “If you’re grateful, I will give you more.” Alhamdullilah.
- Get a Groove On
In this section, Hines suggest music which I won’t be suggesting unless it’s a nasheed *laughs.* Anyway, I listen to the Quran daily while working online because it relaxes me and helps me stay focused. It also helps me fight low spirits and stress. As a result, I always stay productive and on top of things. Alhamdullilah.
- Set Boundaries
This part is major to me because I’m prone to anxiety if I don’t set boundaries about who is and is not allowed in my life. If you’re too nice or too polite to tell people to back off a bit, you open the door for people to abuse you again and again, verbally and emotionally. DON’T DO THIS. Be firm. It’s an Islamic duty because it shows how steadfast you are when faced with very tough decisions.
- Access Good Childcare
I homeschool my son but when I need to pop in the office or any other place where having him in tow would hold me in contempt, I put him in a fun and reliable place to avoid the contempt and distraction he will bring me. Otherwise, him and I go everywhere on a daily basis. Then, I pray to Allah-al Waliyy and al-Wakil to watch and protect him in my absence. Finally, I go do my business with iman, tawwakkul, and peace of mind. This is important when you don’t have any family member who can help or is close by. So, search for one place now that will come in handy in emergency situations. If family members complain, ask them if they will fill the spot for you. It’s your Islamic right to have a nanny. Do what is in your best interest and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s not up to them. It’s up to you to decide your happiness.
- Avoid Comparison
Everyone has their own rizq, family rules, etc. Don’t compare yourself to others, you don’t know or see the full picture. If their happiness or successes bother you, lower your gaze and stay grateful for what you have been blessed with. “And We have made some of you as a trial for others: will you have patience?” It’s a test and our reactions go for or against our book of deeds. Be careful in retaliating in ways that will be charged against your book of deeds. Practice self-control, inspire people, don’t trigger their anxieties, make dua for them, be happy with your life and trust that there is enough sun for everyone. Allah is the best of Planners, and He will make you shine too insha’Allah if it’s good for you in this life and the next.
I hope this list is beneficial to you with the personal and Islamic touch. Ramadan Mubarak! May Allah accept, aameen.
Text Source: Dallas Parent May 2019
Picture Source: CNN (MuslimGirl)
Previously published at Hayati Magazine.