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Creating a realistic self care routine

September 18, 2017

A few days ago, I shared on Instagram that I was reading a self care book that inspired me to put together a self care routine and prioritise myself a little more. I thought I’d share what I learnt from the book and how I put together a realistic self care routine, that doesn’t involve lots of time or money or other people in the form of childcare etc.

From Burnout to Bliss: A Muslim Mom’s Guide to Self Care is written by Nobera Chowdhury (counsellor and life coach) and Nazima Qureshi (registered dietitian nutritionist). When I received the ebook to review, I was really eager to get stuck in because I’ve purchased an ebook co-authored by Nazima in the past (I talk about it here). I was expecting it to be lots of advice broken down into different chapters, but was pleasantly surprised to see workbook sections by Nobera that you can revisit again and again, as well as loads of recipe ideas from Nazima that are easy to put together and don’t involve hard to source or expensive ingredients. I particularly benefitted from the sections around learning how to say no and prioritising your needs. If you find yourself desperately needing to make some changes in your life, whether they’re for your personal benefit or for the benefit of your family, you will find the worksheets particularly helpful. It is you arriving at a realisation when working through the worksheets, instead of being ‘told’ what to think/ feel, with vague, unrealistic goals, which is what I really like about this guide.

from burnout to bliss review

I have taken portions of the workbook section and popped them into a notebook so that I can keep revisiting these when I need reminders because I will need them. We all do – it can be difficult to maintain an effective self-care routine, which is why reading this motivated me to put one together that is simple, effective and something that I know I will be able to stick to.

Working self care into your daily routine

One of the things that I have found particularly helpful, is working self care into your daily routine by tagging it onto other things. So for instance, when I do a swish and swipe (FlyLady method) of the bathroom as part of my morning routine, I use that opportunity to work on my skincare routine. Quick workouts are best for me after Dhuhr, when my youngest is eating lunch. I can be done with Dhuhr and my workout before she’s even finished. I look for ‘lulls’ in the week and then schedule an hour of self care then – Saturday mornings are great for this as my son is at Saturday school and I can occupy my youngest with other things and enjoy at least a solid hour of self care (that doesn’t involve sleeping!).

Prioritising your mental health

A lot of us are juggling several things at once and are often overwhelmed with the responsibilities we have (and sometimes those that we place on ourselves instead of delegating or saying no for instance). That can very often lead to us placing our needs at the bottom of the pile, resulting in stress, depression, and anxiety amongst other things. In the UK, 10% of women have a mental health problem at any given time. As one of those women, I know how important mental wellbeing is and how much I and others around me are affected if I don’t address how I’m feeling or take a moment to regroup and manage my feelings and emotions.

For me, the best way to do this is to schedule some spiritual time first thing in the morning. If you wake up overwhelmed, prayer and Qur’an reading will help calm you down and equip you for the day ahead. If you can’t, for whatever reason, read in the morning, have Qur’an playing in the background at home or in your car on the school run or on your way to work.

Don’t ignore how you’re feeling, reach out to someone and get help. Even if you don’t have a mental health condition, support can go a long way in helping you feel less overwhelmed with daily life, parenting and all that you have to accomplish and there are several things you can do to implement a self care routine that has you feeling better equipped to handle what life throws at you every day.

Learning to love yourself

I have battled with negative body image for as long as I can remember and my general thoughts around this are: When I weigh X, I will feel better about myself. It isn’t a very healthy way of looking at things or very appreciative of my body at all. Nazima’s chapter on forgetting about the scale really helped to put things in perspective. I had an excellent routine during Ramadan that I really enjoyed and it is one I recently resumed. I don’t like gyms, I don’t have the time to be traipsing to and from one, I can’t afford them and I don’t want to have to bother with arranging childcare. I’ve been using the 8fit app and I absolutely love it. It has short workouts (nothing over 9 minutes) and they are easy to do at home and involve no equipment whatsoever. You can do just one workout a day, or a few, whatever you want to do. You can build a fitness plan within the app and set targets and the app will help you achieve them with meal suggestions and targeted workouts. If you find a workout too hard, choose another, or skip the exercise. Every workout is followed by two questions – Did you enjoy it? and How hard was it? and your next workout is then tailored accordingly. It’s an incredibly intuitive app and I have tried LOTS of exercise programs and haven’t enjoyed anything as much as I enjoy this. All you need is your phone and a floor. That’s it!

Again, tag a workout onto another part of your routine. Perhaps schedule a quick workout in after Fajr, or tell yourself you will do a workout before ‘Asr. Whatever works for your day – the beauty of this app is that there is no possible excuse you can find. There really is no one that cannot find 9 minutes or so in the day to do a quick workout that requires no changing, no showering immediately after, etc. It’s perfect, absolutely perfect for busy mums!

Carving out time to do what you love

Getting ‘me time’ doesn’t have to involve arranging childcare – I love reading and I’ve finally started taking the time to read books again by adding lists of books I’d like to read and those I’d like to purchase, into my bullet journal at the back of my planner. It’s making a structured effort to read and make my way through the books I have, so I’m not just buying books to sit on a shelf to collect dust. Implement quiet time in your household instead of naps if your children have outgrown naps, and sit down  – even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes – with a book. You could also take it with you to the playground if your children don’t require lots of supervision. I’ve thumbed through many a page sitting on a playground bench! Driving now means time to listen to my favourite podcasts, audiobooks are great for when you’re folding laundry or washing dishes. There are loads of free trials for audiobooks and podcasts are free! You could take a walk, schedule a movie night in your living room, take a long bath, anything that makes you feel relaxed and refreshed.

Taking care of you – minus the appointments

I often find making basic appointments for treatments at salons stressful, especially if you have young children to work around. I’m also not a fan of hefty price tags! A while ago, I invested in a few products that make it really easy for me to feel at my best, in the comfort of my home. They may cost a little more upfront but they pay off significantly in the long run.

  • I use a MicroPedi for manicures and pedicures at home. I love how effective it is on rough, cracked heels.
  • For hair removal, I really like the ease of my epilator (although I know this doesn’t necessarily work for everyone). I’ve had a Remington wet and dry epilator for a while (can’t remember what kind it is) and it does the job. If I continued to make waxing appointments, I’d have been able to buy several of these by now. This offers so much more value for money.
  • This Babyliss rotating styler is my most used item. No more flaky scalps or damp hair under your hijab. This literally works through your hair in minutes, gives it great volume, and it’s just ONE item, which is great!

 

I hope some of these tips will help you put together and implement a self care routine that will benefit you and those around you. It doesn’t have to cost much or involve other people (if you don’t want it to) or be elaborate at all. Make it simple and make it work for you. Think very deeply about the time that you have and how it is used – we often say we have no time but the truth is we have no concept of how we are using that time. If you believe that self care is important and that you need to implement a routine for it, you will and you’ll carve out the time for it.

If you’d like to purchase From Burnout to Bliss, you can get 10% off by using the code IMANBLOGS10 – making it just $13.50 CAD, £8.20, or USD $11!

I received a copy of From Burnout to Bliss: A Muslim Mom’s Guide to Self Care for the purposes of review. This post offers my honest opinion.
Parenting, Reviews

ToddleBike2 Review: Pre-balance bikes for 18m+

January 20, 2017

ToddleBike2 Review

When we applied to write a ToddleBike2 review, I wasn’t sure how Nusaybah would take to it given that she seemed to really enjoy her scooter, and wasn’t interested in much else. Yusuf already has a balance bike so I applied for one for Nusaybah to try out. The minimalist in me was really hesitant to add yet another large item with wheels into the house, but I am so glad I did because they both love it!

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Eating, Reviews

Help with your new Instant Pot

November 27, 2016
help with your new instant pot

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.

 My Instant Pot was an Eid present from my husband (bless his soul!) – he heard me go on and on about it after some friends in the US introduced me to it, and decided to surprise me with it. To say I was overjoyed was an understatement. We were both initially apprehensive about it, especially since I really didn’t want to have something unnecessary cluttering my worktop, and an expensive item at that, but it has lived up to every expectation I have had and more!

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Reviews

Discovering New Blogs – Liebster Award!

October 1, 2016

liebster-award

I was recently tagged in a post by the lovely Nina over at Ready for a Cuppa, nominating me for the Liebster Award which is a great way to have readers discover new blogs and for more bloggers to get to know one another! It works a little like this:

  • I respond to the questions that Nina posed to us in her post,
  • I then come up with 11 new questions for other bloggers to respond to,
  • and I tag 5-11 new bloggers in the post who will go on to answer the questions and write their own posts with new questions.

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Reviews

Eid Gift Guide: Supporting small businesses

July 1, 2016

Eid Gift Guide-2


With Ramadan already drawing to a close (I can’t believe how quickly it seems to fly by every year subhanAllah) and Eid round the corner, I thought you might find an Eid gift guide handy if you haven’t got round to doing your Eid shopping yet!

Nothing brings me greater joy than buying someone a well thought through gift, packaging it beautifully and then watching them happily unwrap it. I also love supporting small businesses and all the businesses I list below are small businesses, most of which are run by fellow Muslimahs, so that makes this even more special!

This post is not sponsored, I have purchased items from all these businesses for my personal use. All opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Parenting, Reviews

Review: HalalVital Probiotics & Multivitamins Junior

March 25, 2016

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If you’ve ever looked for halal vitamins or supplements, whether for yourself or for your children, you will know how difficult it is to find ones that are affordable, good quality and halal certified. Before I tried HalalVital, I had yet to find Yusuf some chewable vitamins that were suitable so I was really excited by the opportunity to review these.

These are alcohol free, pork gelatine free, produced with halal financing (interest free) and with premium quality ingredients. I tried the junior multivitamins and the probiotics – I had been looking for a great multivitamin for Yusuf and was running out of the probiotics we currently take, so I chose to review those two.

HalalVital vitamins

We do the best we can to offer the kids a variety of foods at every meal, but anyone that has dealt with a toddler knows that they will go through phases where they don’t want to eat at all, or want to live off fruit and bread, or throw a tantrum at the very sight of vegetables, and when you go through the winter months you worry they aren’t getting enough from their food to keep their immunity up and bugs at bay, and that’s when I like to supplement their meals and drinks with a multivitamin.

At £9 for 60 chewables, the multivitamins are affordable and Yusuf loves them. He asks for ‘one teddy bear’ every day and he likes to pretend he’s eating an ear first, or the bear’s tummy or a foot and takes great joy in grinding into them with his teeth (I’m not sure whether I should be amused or terrified). They are a nice, very subtle strawberry flavour (I’ve tasted them) and are not chalky at all. They’re also free of gluten, milk, wheat, soy and artificial flavour, which is great given his multiple allergies. The bears are a good size – not too overwhelmingly big or too small to hold – here’s a photo of them in his hand for reference (he’s just over two and a half years old). The active ingredients in each chewable follow the EC Recommended Daily Allowance. We don’t necessarily offer a vitamin a day, so these I would imagine would last us a good two and a half months – and when you put it that way, £9 is a steal! Especially given that you are supporting a halal business – HalalVital are the first company in Europe to produce 100% certified halal vitamins and supplements.

I have suffered from IBS for a few years now and I find that probiotics and changing my diet have really helped to alleviate my symptoms. For times when things are crazy busy and I’m not really paying attention to my diet as much, probiotics are my saviour and HalalVital’s probiotics are free of gluten, dairy, wheat and soy, which is a bonus. The active ingredients contain the three most important strains of bacteria, are suitably packaged, and have adequate manufacturer’s promise in the form of clearly labelled expiry dates. The kids and I were using a probiotic powder that needed to be refrigerated and I was constantly stressing about how long I left it out on the counter for. I have really liked using these because I have consumed the tablets along with my other vitamins in the morning and not forgotten to take them because they’re in the fridge and not with everything else. Even though these probiotics are not refrigerated, it is important to ensure they are packaged and stored correctly so that the bacterial strains don’t die off – a bottle full of dead bacteria is useless. These come packaged in a thick, opaque bottle with desiccant pouches and guidelines for storage printed on the bottle. So all you have to do is ensure that you store them in a cool place. I haven’t experienced any significant bloating or discomfort with these and I have been using them for just over 4 weeks. I like the probiotics I’m currently taking too but they are slightly more expensive than these and the active ingredients per serving do not vary widely, so this appears to be better value for money.

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The packaging is lovely – It’s attractive and I like the varied colours on the main label so if you have more than one bottle, you’d be able to spot it from a distance. My only gripe with these is that the lids aren’t child proof – although we put things away and in medicine cupboards etc, the packaging would be perfect if it was child resistant.

If you’d like to give these a go, HalalVital is offering all my readers a special discount with the code: 443305
You can get 5% off all products and you’ll even get a free bottle of Vitamin D3 (normally £7.83) with your order!

HalalVital have something for everyone – so whether you’re looking for a prenatal supplement, an immune booster, something for your skin, hair and nails, or your children – I would recommend trying their products. They are passionate about what they do and I think it is so important for us all to throw our support behind them and contribute to their growth, given that there is finally a European based company tailoring their products to suit the needs of Muslims across Europe and worldwide (yes, they ship worldwide!)

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I would appreciate it if you used my code whilst shopping, but if you’d rather not, just go straight to their website to make your purchase.

 

Reviews

Review: Simple Candle Co.

February 26, 2016


All items purchased are my own. This is not a sponsored post and all opinions expressed are, as always, my honest views. This post does not contain affiliate links. 

If you live in a small apartment, you will know all about the struggle that is trying to get your home to smell good at all times. Our living area isn’t open plan, but no matter what I do – whether I shut the door to the kitchen or leave the living room balcony windows wide open – it’s really hard to get rid of food smells that waft through the house and settle onto our coats in the hallway or on our clothes or other fabrics like curtains, etc. We don’t have a dryer and dry our clothes indoors, so on a busy laundry day, the smell of damp can be really off-putting. I used to burn incense but the smoke from the charcoal bothers my husband and isn’t safe, particularly for the kids, so I try to avoid it.

I’ve been looking for an alternative for ages and when a friend of mine told me about the Simple Candle Co., I was really keen to try their wax melts. Their melts are 100% natural soy wax, so there’s none of those artificial smells when you burn your candle/melt. They stock some melts that are very similar to Arabian incense (bukhoor) but less overpowering and others that are simple, like cotton for example.

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The melts are packaged beautifully, and come with instructions on the back. They also have a handy FAQ section on their website. The melts fit perfectly into my oil burner (mine is from the Body Shop – I picked it up in my January sales haul) and the website promises 20 hours of burn time.

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I wanted to try as many different melts as possible (I had eight different fragrances to hand) so instead of placing the entire melt into the burner, I broke it up into pieces and used a piece at a time instead. From one little quarter of a melt, I got over 20 hours of burn time. I used 4 tea lights during that time and the melt just kept going and going and going and it was a steady release of fragrance that wasn’t overpowering at all and although I only have the one oil burner, I moved it into my room, my office/the kids playroom and our living room and the smell just wafted throughout the rest of the house.

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I honestly cannot believe the value for money you get with these melts. Each melt is £2 and they last for absolutely ages, especially if you break them up into smaller pieces instead of using the entire melt all at once. If you decide the fragrance isn’t for you, pass it on to someone else and all you’ve lost out on is £2, unlike when you purchase larger candles and feel like you’re with them because you’ve spent a small fortune!

I love supporting small local businesses and it is wonderful to receive a product that offers more fragrance and a longer burn that anything else I have ever had. Everything is handmade, in London, and you get a lot more than you pay for in my opinion.

These are brilliant as presents – I’ve already stocked up on some to add to presents and the candles would make brilliant presents for Mother’s Day! Delivery is prompt – I received my order a day after I placed it – but I wouldn’t leave it to the very last minute if you want to score the best scents. They also do a monthly box that contains 8 melts for £10! If that’s not a bargain, I don’t know what is. You can try out different scents and any extras would be perfect at any time of the year for any occasion/ event.

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My favourites are Damson Noir, Oudh Nights and Patchouli & Cardamom. Have you tried these? What are your favourites? Let me know if you give these a go!