Lockdown – the buzzword of the year so far.
For many of us, lockdown and self-isolation haven’t just imposed a set of physical limitations and restrictions. They have meant a sudden halt to life itself, life as we have always known it anyway.
Academic studies interrupted.
Job interviews cancelled.
So how do we adjust when the ambitions, goals and dreams which were seemingly in the palm of our hands now lead us down a different path?
The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword
As somebody with a History Degree – I know that many battles in history have been won by smaller armies (due to their use of strategy) opposed to larger, seemingly more powerful armies.
When you feel overwhelmed or disheartened, take the raging battle out of your head and write it onto paper. There is something just so cathartic about spilling our deepest thoughts and emotions onto paper.
Buy a beautiful journal to share all of your beautiful thoughts.
Perhaps a Batman notebook to remind yourself that real superheroes don’t wear capes. Real superheroes are the very people who battle their own thoughts each and every day – they are my heroes.
Once you start writing down thoughts on a regular basis, you might even start to notice patterns and triggers that can assist you in understanding yourself throughout this pandemic.
Good Things Come To Those Wait
I know it’s a cliché but there is profound wisdom in this famous adage. Very few things in life which come easily are truly appreciated when we get them. It is when we pour our hearts and souls into a project, that we truly feel that sense of heightened satisfaction at the end of the painful process.
If you had to re-take a year of study or a take on a gap year, you might be worrying about your future. Remember that there are many different paths that can lead you to your end goal, every journey is different, this is what makes your journey yours. Use the time out to re-coup before continuing with the rest of that journey.
If your job interview has been cancelled, take this time to research the role you want in more detail. When the interview comes up again – Insha’Allah, it will – you will be even more prepared than you would have been the first time round.
If your wedding has been postponed, I imagine this would be a crushing blow. Maybe it will add more romance to the story – even a pandemic didn’t stop you from getting married. Wow, doesn’t that sound beautiful? Perhaps in the interim, you can read more about marriages and what makes a good one: an unbreakable one, Insha’Allah.
Similarly, if you have to hold your wedding with a quarter of the guests physically present, why not invite the rest of the wedding party over on Zoom? This way they can still play a part of your big day and will hold a place in your wedding album for years to come.
Be Kind To Yourself
As often as possible, as gently as possible, as sincerely as possible, turn inward. The love and kindness that we share with the world should be projected within ourselves too.
With some mental health charities such as Muslim Youth Helpline reporting a 300% upsurge in phone calls from people who are struggling since lockdown, it is important we take time out to care for ourselves. Build your day-to-day life on the basics: eat well, stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep.
Read the books that warm your heart.
Take time out to meet with your family and friends.
Pick up a new hobby.
Read the Qur’anic chapters which particularly resonate with you.
Even if your plans are delayed, it is not the end of your journey. No, far from it – you have many wonderful days ahead of you – Insha’Allah.
In the famous scene in the Lord of the Rings, a young swordsman looks up to his legendary commander Aragon on the eve of what JRR Tolkien dubs ‘The Battle of Rohan.’ Petrified, the teenager asks: “Sir, the men say defeat is inevitable. They say the battle is lost. They say there is no hope left in these lands.”
Despite his army being outnumbered by three-to-one, Aragon nonchalantly replies. “That’s a fine sword you carry, young man…. and there’s always hope.”
Qaiser M Talib
Qaiser is a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist based in the Midlands. Qaiser has been teaching for sixteen years and has written two children’s books.