Covid-19 Has Become My Nightmare

15 April, 2020
Q It’s been 6 weeks since we were advised to stay at home due to Covid-19 pandemic and it’s getting worse everywhere. I started to develop a kind of anxiety about that with bad news chasing us on TV and social media.

I can’t stop thinking about it and imagining worse scenarios. I also started to get nightmares in this regard.

What can I do to keep mentally well?

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Limit watching the news to once a week.

Refocus your daily routine to include positive activities, practicing breathing techniques, drawing closer to Allah, making duaa, reading Qur’an to reduce anxiety.

Fill your Time with Other Things Try to fill this time with other things that are positive, up building and happy.

Try to engage in some creative outlets that you may enjoy.

You may want to start an online group to discuss positive topics, learning a new skill, Qur’an reading classes, or a virtual coffee and chat hour.



As salamu alaykum,

Shokran for writing to our live session. I am sorry to hear you are experiencing a lot of anxiety and fears regarding COVID-19.

It is a natural response and it is understandable that you feel anxious about the covid-19 pandemic. I think a lot of people are feeling this way. You are not alone.

Media Bombardment

Unfortunately we are being bombarded 24/7 with all types of various news coming from television, internet, social media, and conversations on forums. We see big headlines in newspapers and other places.

With this kind of media bombardment, it is no wonder that people are becoming confused and frightened about the information they hear. Not only is it a new virus that is going around, but the news is often conflicting in producing reliable results.

Limit media as the situation is constantly changing, people also feel confused and not sure what to expect which adds to the anxiety and fear. They feel they have no control.

I kindly advise insha’Allah that you stop watching the news and social media forums which contain information about covid-19. Limit yourself to catching up on the news maybe once a week.

Covid-19 Has Become My Nightmare - About Islam

Fill your Time with Other Things Try to fill this time with other things that are positive, up building and happy. What did you use to enjoy before this pandemic happened?

Naturally, a lot of things you enjoyed you probably cannot do right now because of the order to stay at home. However, there are things that you can do at home and outside if you have a yard, or even just taking a walk which can help.

Create Interests

Insha’Allah try to engage in some creative outlets that you may enjoy. Make a list of things that make you happy.

It could be exercising, cooking, taking a walk in nature, studying a certain topic you’ve always been interested in, creating greeting cards, designing art, or whatever your interests and hobbies are that make you happy -engage in them now.

Make a schedule for your days to include these positive activities. This way, your mind will be occupied.

Getting into the positive mindset

In the beginning it is going to be hard to stop thinking about what’s going on. As stated above, with all the media bombarding us on a daily and hourly basis it can be anxiety-provoking. Limit the media.

Move your mind to other areas in life. Our lives right now are dictated by covid-19 however this is not all our lives are created to be.

Instead of letting this take over your whole thinking patterns, insha’Allah you’ll be able to realign your thoughts to things that are more constructive and positive.

Breathing Techniques Be in the present moment. Use breathing techniques to focus. Try to find some quiet time to just sit and breathe and think about nothing. If a thought comes into your head, name it -what it is- and let it go.

Don’t think about it -don’t give it power, just focus on your breathing. This form of breathing can turn down our flight or fight response which originates in the amygdala.

Our amygdala is like our panic button which keeps us safe, but it can become over-activated causing anxiety, panic, overthinking, and other symptoms. I think all of our amygdala have increased due to the constant activation by the media.

Insha’Allah, try to do mindfulness breathing for at least 5 minutes a day to start. Insha’Allah you will find that it starts to calm your mind and dispel your worrying thoughts.

You may wish to look up on the internet mindfulness moments and mindfulness breathing. This type of intervention works very well for anxiety, trauma, and panicky thoughts.

Check out this counseling video:



Seeking Allah and reaching out

In addition to cutting way back on your time spent listening and reading about covid-19 and implementing stress reduction techniques, insha’Allah spend time reading the Qur’an, making duaa for ease, protection, and blessing.

Try to reaching out to others in the community who may need support such as the elderly, single moms, those who are alone, and so forth. Start a call tree to check up on others.

You may want to start an online group to discuss positive topics, learning a new skill, Qur’an reading classes, or a virtual coffee and chat hour. This may help you feel more connected and positive.

Charity if you are able, offer charity where it is needed. Offering charity during times like this makes us feel good and relieves our own stress. You may wish to contact your Masjid to see where help is needed.

Conclusion

These are trying times no doubt but with reduced exposure time to media and news, refocusing your daily routine to include positive activities, practicing breathing techniques, drawing closer to Allah, making duaa, reading Qur’an as well as helping with charity, will all serve to be blessings.

These activities will insha’Allah redirect your emotional energies and reduce the anxiety. Insha’Allah this virus/flu will soon be calmed down.

Until then trust in Allah and refocus your energies towards positive daily actions. We wish you the best.

salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read More:

https://aboutislam.net/muslim-issues/n-america/stuck-in-covid-19-limbo-the-struggle-to-get-back-home-during-travel-shutdown/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/self-issues-ask-about-counselor/im-so-afraid-of-deadly-illnesses/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/mental-health/please-help-getting-fears-anxiety/

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.