Using Islamic literature from both the Qur’an and Prophetic teachings, Nour Domestic Violence of the United Kingdom, has been tackling the prevalent issue of domestic violence within the Muslim community.
Recently, Nour hosted a Facebook live session with their Psychotherapist, Khalida Haque to offer effective exercises and suggestions on how to cope with these difficult circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
How should we feel?
During this difficult time of uncertainty, anxiety and fear are inevitable feelings. Some people are managing well, while others are struggling.
Losing loved ones and jobs, lack of freedom in movement, limited food, etc., are all immensely difficult issues.
Haque emphasizes how important it is for us to be kind to one another; however, we can only do that by being kind to ourselves first. While some people try to use their time productively, this is not possible for everyone and no one should feel ashamed of their current circumstances.
She explains, “It’s okay to be okay. You don’t have to be super. You don’t have to be great. You don’t have to be productive. We don’t have to be on top of the world. It’s okay if we are those things, but we don’t have to be those things. There’s nothing wrong with not being those things.”
What should we do?
What should we do?
What Haque really wants all of us to do is, “Be kind to yourself. Perhaps just getting up out of bed, dressed and keeping yourself fed is your achievement. And that’s okay. It’s really important that we understand that we are not all the same and we will not all be at that same place at the same time. ”
Try a soothing exercise
An exercise Haque suggests to reduce anxiety is to consider creating a “Control Circle.” Draw a large dinner-plate sized circle with a smaller soup bowl-sized circle inside of it. The larger circle is “Things I Cannot Control” and the smaller one is “Things I Can Control.”
Things You May Add to the Cannot Control Circle:
- If others are following social distancing rules.
- How others are reacting.
- Predicting what will happen.
What You May Add to the Circle of Things You Can Control:
- Showing kindness to myself and others.
- Creating routine and structure, which can ease anxiety.
- Be creative, to release good chemicals in the brain and soothe yourself.
- Taking deep, relaxing breaths.
- Exercise! Movement will release the tension held in your body.
- Journaling, thought diaries, gratitude lists or any other form of writing, helps get thoughts out of your head and allows you to envision what is doable or not.
While this exercise works best when you are in a safe place, Nour and Haque also address coping mechanisms for people who are not in safe places.
Domestic violence awareness
If You Are Concerned About Someone Experiencing Domestic Violence…
1 – Make a note of local emergency help numbers, such as contacting Nour for theirs [email protected]
2 – Check-in regularly with the person(s) you are concerned about.
3 – Create “safe passwords” that will be a code to indicate if the person needs a way out.
4 – Try to video call so that you can see what the situation looks like.
5 – When the time arrives, and is agreed upon, that the person needs to escape a potentially dangerous situation, make the call.
6 – If you hear a violent argument in your neighborhood, make a call. It’s better for a couple to be visited unnecessarily than to find out that someone was killed; the point of our staying home during the pandemic is to save lives.
If You Need to Get Out of a Domestically Violent Situation:
1 – Let a family member or friend know that you need help getting out.
2 – Contact an anti-domestic abuse agency, such as Nour, or one local to you.
3 – Don’t be afraid to call the police if there is an immediate danger.
Other Tips to Cope with Difficult Times and Anxiety
Listen to positive nasheeds, such as “Get Up Again” above by Zain Bhika.
Do “Grounding Techniques” to bring yourself out of anxiety and back to your current space. Examples start at 19:00.
Towards the end of the video, Haque addresses concerns specifically for those experiencing domestic violence or having concern for loved ones, as well as dealing with overthinking and being an ear to others.