COVID-19: Tips to Ease Anxiety and Stress

A recent poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association found that more than one-third of Americans think the coronavirus crisis is seriously affecting their psychological health.

If you are feeling anxious, depressed, and angry, it’s understandable, as reported coronavirus cases have surpassed the terrifying mark of infecting 1 million people worldwide.

The United States has the largest number of infected individuals and Muslims around the country are reporting higher incidences of sleeplessness nights, anxiety, and confusion, as the death toll steadily rises daily.

“I haven’t been able to sleep for weeks. I am an entrepreneur and am currently out of work since the massive shutdown amid the pandemic. I am having trouble assisting my children with their digital learning, as I am desperately trying to find work to stabilize my family,” Aisha Turner, single mom of three, told AboutIslam.net.

Anxiety and stress are global crises, as mental health helplines have reported an exponential increase in phone calls to their crisis line.

Muslims are struggling to identify spiritual remedies to adjust their mind frame while easing their anxiety around the growing pandemic. Local imams and experienced scholars are working tirelessly to provide resources, support, and services virtually to their community to keep their hope and spirits high.              

“I have benefitted from many online programs but more importantly I spend a lot of my time in zikr (remembrance). My favorite zikr is to whisper ya salaamu to myself repeatedly until I can sense the calmness in my own heart,” Saudia Shabazz shared with aboutislam.net.

Let’s address the four major problems that are impacting the mental health of the Muslim community and steps to address those issues.

Tips to Ease Anxiety and Stress amid the Coronavirus Outbreak

Anxiety

Our lives have shifted dramatically during the past few weeks and many of us may not recognize the feelings of increased heart rate, muscle tension, and gastrointestinal distress as anxiety. 

There are many tips to reduce anxiety and an individual should start with exploring self-management strategies like mindfulness, yoga, prayer/meditation, art, exercise, and a healthy diet. Additionally, Muslims should be encouraged to focus on gratitude and the many positive blessings they experience daily. 

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “When a person spends his entire day with no other concern but Allaah alone, Allaah, may He be glorified, will take care of all his needs and take care of all that is worrying him; He will empty his heart so that it will be filled only with love for Him, free his tongue so that it will speak only in remembrance of Him (dhikr) and cause all his faculties to work only in obedience to Him. 

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About Sabria Mills
Sabria Mills is the Co-founder and Executive Director of MACE - Muslims Advocates of Children with Exceptionalities. She is an Educational Leader and Social Advocate, who partners with educators, community leaders, and activists to advocate for inclusive spaces for people of all abilities. After spending nearly a decade working in education and addressing the needs of non-profit organizations, Sabria knows what truly drives social reform, equality, and education—and it’s not mastering the social advocacy flavor of the week. It’s how well you connect with the heart-beating people you’re trying to help and communicate your understanding back to them.