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Question 1

How to keep kids occupied and entertained during quarantine? I go crazy: I work from home now and I have the kids at home as well. Its getting crazy.

As salamu alaykum,

Shokran for writing to our live session.

Keeping kids occupied and entertained during the quarantine can be challenging. It may be especially challenging as you work from home. Due to the quarantine many parents are going through the same issues with how to keep their kids occupied in a positive way.

Activities Based on their Ages

Depending on the ages of your children, you may wish to set up a schedule for them which includes time for fun games and activities which are structured such as board games, time outside to play and get some sunshine depending on where you live. You may also wish to include a time for studying academic classes, time for exercise or a yoga type of physical movement, a time for Islamic reading and education, a lunch break as well as time with you during the day.

Time Organization

While you can modify this example, it would be best to put it into a poster board and hang it somewhere where the children can see it. You may wish to set a timer for each scheduled activity. You may wish to include times during the day wherein they can come to you to ask questions, interact and so forth (with exceptions of emergencies).

Rewards

Once they get used to these activities, you may wish to give them rewards along the way for their participation. This will keep them on task and help them focus and there will be an incentive. You may also use a reward system for their adhering to guidelines of when they are permitted to interact with you while you are working. A timer at your desk may work wonders as a reminder for them.

Creative Entertainment

Creative entertainment may also play a strong part in holding their attention. I would kindly suggest purchasing art supplies, crafts, and other things that may they may enjoy making things with.

Inventory of Interests

You may wish to take an inventory of their interest at the moment and if able, purchase supplies for them to use while they are in quarantine with you. The scheduled activities that you make should center around their interest in some way so they are more apt to adhere to the schedule.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcements as mentioned above, will go a long way in keeping them busy with their schedules. Get creative with your rewards for them!

Conclusion

Insha’Allah this situation will not last for a long duration. During this time we can use it to our advantage by providing our children with creative, interesting things to do which are beneficial, while at the same time teaching them time management and boundaries. We wish you the best    

Question 2

It’s been 3 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?

It’s been 3 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?

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.

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.

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.

Question 3

MY husband and I also work from home.  24/7 at home drives our nerves, and we fight a lot. I fear by the end of this virus issue, we will end up divorcing each other. We are tensed with work. We dont have children yet.

As salamu alaykum,

Shokran for writing to our live session. Sister it seems that a lot of people who are working from home with their spouses are experiencing irritation and friction. Not only are you confined 24/7 in the home but there is the underlying fear about the covid19 and what is going to happen.

Structured Schedules and Work Spaces

I kindly suggest insha’Allah that you and your husband structure your work spaces so that they are as far apart as possible. Try to treat your work day as a regular day at the office. That will take some discipline on both of your parts to remain at your on areas of the home tasks because you are home however if you are able to do this it will lessen your interaction as well as help you to focus better on your work. Create a poster board of your schedules for the day. Each one would have a separate schedule that is posted above your workspace.

Agreements

You may wish to make an agreement not to talk to each other until lunch time (and possibly prayer times together), when you may wish to have lunch together. By implementing separation and social distance in the home (even in the strict measures of social distance outside of the home), you may be able to avoid the irritation and fighting that is occurring now due to the stressors of this whole pandemic. Make an agreement to not say mean things to one another until after the pandemic has passed. If one of you feels like saying something that is not nice-write it down, and save it for after this is over. 

Current Feelings and Behaviors

In reality, if the current stressors did not exist, you and your husband probably would not fight and get on each others nerves. However given the situation, everybody is more or less tense, fearful, and uncertain of what is going to happen. This in itself can cause irritation, short tempers, otherwise irrational behaviors.

Conclusion

Insha’Allah, each of you can devise schedules for the day and post it above your workspace, and adhere to it. Maintain separate work spaces which are far away from each other as possible. Agree to adhere to your schedules and agreements and meet for lunch in a neutral place in the house. Agree that you will not speak to each during your work schedules just as  you would at your jobs in the physical, until lunch. Insha’Allah thus will help! We wish you the best.

Questrion 4

One of my friends is in the hospital with Coronavirus. I fear for her so much. I make dua but I am still worried. Can you advice me how to calm myself down?

As salamu alaykum,

Shokran for writing to our live session. I am sorry to hear about your friend. May Allah swt provide swift healing and complete recovery. I can imagine you are very scared for her.

Being Supportive and Asking Questions

As you did not mention her condition, or if you can talk to the doctors who are caring for her, this may be the first place to start. If she is able to have calls, insha’Allah be supportive and positive, She will need you to be strong for her right now. By showing her strength and positivity, it will strengthen you as well. If you can, ask her doctor what is her exact current status and possible outcomes. It is may be that she is recovering nicely and this will calm you.

Self Care

During this time try to ensure that

You are taking care of yourself. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, get sunshine, try to get outside to exercise or indoors if that is not possible. Stay in touch with other friends who can provide support and positive interaction. Maintain your connection with Allah for strength and ease. Begin a stress reduction practice if you have not already initiated one. There are many good ones online. I would highly recommend progressive body muscle relaxation, mindful breathing techniques, as well as visualization. In visualization, you will imagine positive thoughts, words, and sceneries in your mind when fearful ones come up. By doing this on a regular basis you will be able to eventually eliminate negative thoughts and fears when they arise. It will take time and practice to achieve this but it is very successful in reducing fears and anxiety.   All Things Are Temporary Please remember that all things are temporary even this pandemic it could be that in a few weeks when the weather changes the virus could weaken and go away. Insha’ Allah, your friend is getting the care that she needs and will recover fine. Be sure to put your trust in Allah swt concerning this.   Conclusion Do what you can to be supportive and positive for your friend, ask questions of her doctor if you can. Practice self-care especially during this time of stress and uncertainty. Stay close to Allah and seek His comfort and blessings. If things become too overwhelming please know that there are counselors who you can call and talk to if you feel that your mental health is deteriorating because of fear and anxiety. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us again if you need anything. Your friend is in my prayers and we wish you the best.  

 Question 5

My husband has panic attacks constantly. He already has breathing problem, and he fears that if he gets the virus, he will die. I am trying to be understanding, but Iam getting tensed as well because of him. I do not know how to help him. He does not talk much, does not want to talk, many times shuts me up, asks me to close all voice as he wants to relax. Anything I say annoys him. It was getting better a bit, but then we had a small fight which made him having panic attacks as well: shortage of breathing, lack of eating, all day he is working on his laptop from bad, does not move much….i want to hug him, he refuses….what can I do with him?

As salamu alaykum,

Shokran for writing to our live session.

 
I am sorry to hear that your husband suffers from panic attacks. I am wondering if he has had panic attacks before, if it was an ongoing problem that has recently increased, and if he was staying a physician for this.   Husband Experiencing Panic Attacks It is understandable that your husband is experiencing more panic attacks now. If he is seeing a doctor or a therapist for his panic disorder, perhaps he or you could call and request an adjustment in the medication if he’s on medication. If he is not on medication perhaps he will need to be evaluated for medication.  If he has not been in therapy or counseling , perhaps now is the time to get him to go by scheduling a teleconference. It is very important that he does get the treatment that he needs for his disorder as severe panic attacks can be very debilitating.   Fear of Virus You stated that your husband already has breathing problems and he fears getting the virus and dying. This is understandable. I think a lot of people worried about this who have medical conditions however when somebody has panic disorder it is a hundred times worse for them. I will kindly suggest sister that you contact his physician to set up a teleconference appointment or to request medication to help him with his panic disorders attacks. Also, if you do not know much about panic disorder already please do look it up online, study what is about and get tips for how to deal with those who are experiencing a panic attack. Your husband’s fear of the virus is valid but increased by his panic disorder.  

Withdrawl

Sister it sounds like your husband is trying to cope with his fears and panic disorder by withdrawing and focusing on work or keeping busy. Perhaps outside stimulation irritates his panic more thus he desires solitude.

Helping Husband

Sister I would kindly suggest that you not press your husband at this point but do offer you love and support. Maybe offer him tea, or a treat while he is at the computer, sit quietly, maybe offer to pray with him. Insha’Allah, right now try not to engage him in a lot of stimulus unless he seeks it out. Often times when one is over stimulated by fear, panic, or worry, other interaction-stimulus is too much. Don’t take it personal sister, its not you,  it is a survival mode for him. He knows you love him and your quiet presence will be comforting. If he feels like talking, just listen and be encouraging.

Conclusion

Please talk to your husbands doctor about his condition of fear and panic disorder, request a counselor if he does not have one. Try not to have running news on about the corovid19 as it will be anxiety producing for him. Insha’Allah sister try to be calming and supportive of him during this time, offering reassurance in a gentle way. Sister, learn as much as you can about anxiety & panic so you know what to expect and how to deal with situations. Insha’Allah his doctor can assist with a teleconference for therapy or medication. Insha’Allah sister this will be over soon and things will become more manageable. We wish you the best.

Question 6

Do you have any advice on how to manage my time from home office? I have never worked from home….I still try to have some schedule for my day, but its much harder than fro mthe office. Any tips?

As salamu alaykum,

Shokran for writing to our live session. Managing your time from your home office may become simpler if you imagine that you are at your actual office, with your boss present. By looking at your situation from this perspective, it may force you to have a stricter schedule and not deviate as much.

Working From Home

When working from home one must be very disciplined because it can be so easy to get off track. If you wake up every morning and follow your same routine that you did when you went to work at your office outside of your home, you may experience more success.

Tips for Transition

To help with the transition, this would include starting your morning routine a you normally would. Perhaps taking a shower, getting dressed, or however your morning routine was. Do not change it. While it may be tempting to stay in your pajamas and work or throw on comfy clothes, the psychological effect of putting on work clothes can change things.

Setting up your Work Space

Set up an office space that is away from distractions, and develop a time schedule. Block out your time during the day for each task that you need to do for work. You may wish to draw up a schedule and create a poster board of your tasks to put by your work space. Be sure to add in a lunch break.

If you Feel Unfocused

If you feel the urge to get up and do something else, or are generally unfocused, imagine that you are in your office and your work boss is right around the corner. As the days go by this should get easier to do and you will become more disciplined in your work habits. While working, please do realize that yes, this is your same job, only in a different location.

Staying Connected

You may wish to call other co-workers who are working from home too when on you are on your break in order to get tips from them. As I do not know the industry you are in, they may have some more specific tips which would aid you in your transition.

Conclusion

As many struggle to find an easy transition from their actual work job place to working at home, it can be done. There are adjustments to be made which require dedication and determination. By imagining that you are still working in the physical building where you usually are, will greatly help in this transition. Keeping your regular schedule and habits that you did when you went to your physical workplace will also help. Developing a poster board with a schedule of your work tasks and hang it by your desk will aid greatly. We wish you the best.

Thursday, Jan. 01, 1970 | 00:00 - 00:00 GMT

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