There’s currently 3.45 million Muslims in America who are living in an increasingly hostile climate — a challenge felt more so by Muslim women than men, a recent Pew study reveals. Particularly since 2015 (the lead up to the 2016 presidential election), the news has been awash with Islamophobic rhetoric and incidents of violence against Muslims, particularly women in hijab. Continually reading about these incidents can take its toll mentally and physically. It’s therefore important to prioritize your own health and wellbeing no matter what’s going on in the wider world.
Take a break from the news
Keeping up with current events is important, but it can also be harmful to mental and even physical health. For over half of Americans, reading the news causes stress, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep loss. The news cycle quickly becomes mentally draining, especially when you’re paying attention to instances of anti-Muslim hate crimes. So, take a break — temporarily deactivate or delete your social media apps, or allow yourself to check them only once every couple of days. This doesn’t mean you don’t care about current events; taking care of your mental health is just as important.
Focus on physical health
Physical health is the foundation of good mental health. Aim to get at least 150 hours of exercise per week and eat a nutritionally-dense, high-fiber diet. Eating small healthy meals and snacks throughout the day keeps your blood sugar stable, while exercise releases serotonin to boost mood. You may also want to purchase health insurance to provide coverage and peace of mind. People without health insurance are likely to skip preventative medical care to save money. However, health insurance from Qantas, for example, will make sure you’re financially prepared to treat minor health issues before they escalate into bigger, more expensive, and stressful problems.
Find a hobby
If you’re preoccupied with negative things happening in the world, taking up a hobby can get you out of your head and focused on positivity. Whether you’re interested in writing, dancing, art, or sports, join a local group to develop your skills and socialize with new people. You’ll boost your mood and confidence, and feel part of a community. Your hobby doesn’t need to be serious or time-consuming either. The enjoyment you get out of it is enough.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in external happenings and forget to take time for ourselves. However, looking after your mental and physical health is crucial for preventing burnout and illness. And, once you’re ready, you’ll also have more energy to go out and create positive change in the world.