Browsing Category

Mind

2 In Mind

Do I Really Need A Niche?

Recently I sent a Whatsapp message to my good friend crying ‘what’s my niche? Help! What am I doing’? I felt so overwhelmed with the thought of having to narrow down my niche(again), that it sent me crackers.

As a wholistic health enthusiast one thing I struggle with is finding a niche. I actually get frustrated over the topic to the point that it makes me want to give up altogether.

But do I really need a niche? Who came up with this niche agenda? I’m a rebel (with a cause people), how daranyone tell me to compromise!

Image result for rebel with a cause meme

What is a niche? (which I pronounce n-ee-sh, because I’m a rebel duh!)

A niche is a specific problem that you help solve, for a specific group of people. The idea is that if you narrow down the scope to a very small demographic (like 50 year olds who live abroad with a boat and two sharks) then your marketing will be more targeted. Hmm. Sounds simple right?

Well not quite. When I first started blogging, I went from Islamic homeschooling, to natural beauty remedies to nutrition. And now I’m interested in all things motherhood (which is why I started my blog in the first place).

I have had this baby (my blog) for around 4 years. It’s been stagnant for a year or so because I was obsessing so much over my niche, that it actually gave me stage fright (or writing fright). I just couldn’t get my head around my ideal audience. Where do I start? How do people do this niche thing?

The fear was valid too. Choosing a niche at the beginning of my blogging adventure would have been like playing piñata; it was hit or miss.

And that’s why my website just accumulated dust (or no views to say so the least), because I wasn’t looking at the bigger picture.

Why you don’t need to panic over your niche

I’ll tell you a little secret; a lot of the famous blogs out there didn’t pick a niche before starting up (even if they say they did). Over time as they worked on their project, they found their topic and continued with it. Don’t believe me check out Jeff Goin’s on why picking a niche is bad advice. He makes a living from writing and thoroughly enjoys it.

The same is true for passion and purpose. A lot of people have many passions (ahem like me!) so sticking to one passion can feel so restricted. I know this feeling too well. I’ve lost precious sleep over whether I should stick to just talking about motherhood or make skin creams.

However I am not saying that you need to be everything for everyone. You’ll just end up feeling exhausted and unmotivated. There are plenty of other businesses for that purpose. So here are my tips to stand out from the crowd.

1. Tell your story

If you look at my About me page, you’ll see that my journey started from childhood. I’ve always been interested in health/nature/wellness. My mother (May Allah be pleased with her), was also a health guru. So if you’re struggling with your niche then chances are, that all you have to do is tell people why you do what you do. That way, you’ll attract people who can relate to your story. People are more likely to invest in something that they can relate to with themselves. So don’t be afraid, tell the world who you are.

2. Inspiration is key

If you’re doing what you do, for money or fame then chances are you’re not really feeling your brand. It’s just another get rich quick scheme because your goal is to gain something tangible. Of course, money has some influence over what you do but it shouldn’t be the main reason. Whatever inspires you should be the reason why you put in the work.

But don’t go for everything, don’t say yes to something that you’re not inspired by. Once you start checking yourself you’ll know where your focus lies. For me, my main goal is to get Muslimahs from around the world, eating healthy and feeling good, so that they can worship Allah properly. And this doesn’t have a monetary connotation to it.

So whenever I find something that inspires me to do that, I share it over here and my social media and with friends and family.

Image result for simples meme

3. Know Thyself (niche gets in the way of this)

You can’t start a business/brand/blog if your don’t know why you started. Otherwise it’s just going to go left and you’ll find the next project that excites you and keep jumping from project to project until you feel completely burned out. Having a niche kind of stops this too. If you don’t know your strengths, passions and the problems you can solve, your ideas will dwindle and you’ll be back at the drawing board, working on your next niche.

So get to know yourself. Maybe ask your friends/family to describe you in one word. One thing I like to do is ask my clients to describe what I do. And I’m always surprised with each answer. The best answer I ever got was ‘you help me believe in myself; something I had never done before’. Alhamdulillah (All Praises Due to Allah).

4. Perfection Belongs to Allah Swt

If you’re a perfectionist (guilty!) then you’ve probably had moments when you can’t do something because it’s not perfect. A simple way to get over this; perfection belongs to Allah ONLY. You can never have the perfect brand, the perfect business, the perfect idea; because all of these things fluctuate over time and most importantly are in the Hands of Allah Swt. So if you have that blog post that needs publishing, click publish. Have a YouTube channel?Get started with your first video. Got some products to advertise; go do it. It doesn’t need to be perfect. If anything it shows that your real and raw, and your journey will inspire others to start somewhere too.

5. Stop Trying to Label Yourself

You’re not on this earth to fit a specific label. Neither are you here to sell to everyone you meet. Sometimes we are so caught up in our business/brand that we forget who we really are. We forget what we truly represent. A friend once described me as ‘someone who lends a sympathetic ear; because that’s what we all need’. Alhamdulillah (All Praises Be to Allah).

Be you. Be real. Be raw.

And above all else, rely on Allah Swt, ask Him Swt to guide you and place barakaah (blessings) in all that you do. Aameen.

 

I hope this post benefitted you. Feel to comment below on your startup fears. And don’t forget to subscribe for weekly updates.

 

 

0 In Mind

Declutter Your Health

Have you ever woken up in the morning utterly exhausted? The baby kept you awake or you simply couldn’t switch off. You walk into your living room and see toys everywhere, the kitchen sink full of dishes and last nights meal still on the table.

What do you do?

 

You reach inside the cupboard, grab a few biscuits maybe make some coffee and load it with sugar. All the while, basking in the stress of having to clear this mess up. By the time you finished eating that one biscuit, you find yourself reaching for more, as the stress of having to clear up sends your nerves AWOL.

How Clutter Affects Our Health

As a busy mom of two (soon to be three insha’Allah –  Allah Willing), I have been there and done that –  hoard.

I’ve hoarded clothes from when my kids came from the hospital. I’ve held on to that broken container ‘just in case‘ it comes in handy. I’ve held on to things for their sentimental and useful values.

But what happened in return? My house was a mess which in turn affected the health of my mind, body and spirit.

When we have too much stuff we feel stressed because;

  • It reminds us that we’re not looking after our stuff
  • We have things to do which we’re not keeping on top of.
  • and when we can’t find something, our brain goes into overdrive

When we get surrounded by too much stuff, we get frustrated which in turn can lead to unhealthy eating habits. Most unhealthy eating habits are of an emotional nature; having a disorganized home adds to this.

Decluttering Leads To Healthier Eating Habits

Studies show that a clutter-free environment allows you to perform tasks of daily living more efficiently because everything you need is readily available and within reach. This in turn allows you to focus on preparing healthier meals and keeping up with recipes.

For example, if the dishes are clean and put in a place that are easy to find and use; you are more likely to eat at home and actually enjoy cooking.

My clients often complain to me, about having to cook. Why can’t they just eat out? And I always ask about the state of their homes, especially the kitchen. 99.9% of the time, the issue isn’t with the cooking itself, it’s the fact that they don’t know where their cooking materials are. And it makes sense. As soon as your dishes are unwashed or all over the place, you’ll want to eat out more because the thought of having to clean up is too strenuous at the time of hunger.

Not to mention when your home is more organized, you feel more accomplished and less embarrassed or anxious about who will see your mess. This in turn improves your overall wellbeing and can really have a positive effect on those unhealthy eating habits.

This also reminds me of what the Prophet sallahu alayhi wasallam said regarding eemaan (faith)

“Cleanliness is half the faith (Eemaan).” [Sahih Muslim]

This includes our living space, as this is where we spend the most time, with family and invoked in ibadaah (worship). So it makes sense to always keep this space clutter free and clean so that we can worship Allah properly.

Declutter Saves Time

The Prophet sallahu alayhi wasallam said;

”Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth before you become old; your health, before you fall sick; your wealth, before you become poor; your free time before you become preoccupied, and your life, before your death.” (Narrated by Ibn Abbas in the Mustadrak of Hakim & Musnad Imam Ahmad. Sahih)

Time is so precious. Imagine the time you could save by not having to clean up so much. The hours you could use, dedicated in worship to Allah, with family and just enjoying your children. Think about all the you-time including exercising and cooking healthy and delicious meals.

Your physical space has a direct impact on your mental health. Visual bliss will help keep you calm and comfortable which is the key to optimal health.

How To Declutter?

Firstly you need to get to the issue. Which areas of the house are frustrating you the most? The kitchen is almost always the primary concern, as this is the often used space. Clearing out the kitchen can help you make healthier food choices in the future.

Write down the issues if you have too, as sometimes we can get overwhelmed with the present and future moment. Write down what aspects need to be sorted. For example; the spice rack needs to be organized. Make it a simple list and then check them off once you’ve done them.

Then you need to start. Say Bismillah (In the Name of Allah), use the 5 second rule (if you have to), with the sincere intention that you are cleaning that space, so that you can worship Allah properly. So that you can honour your eemaan (faith), by keeping it clean and clutter free.

The process

Take time that is uninterrupted and have 3 bags

  1. Charity
  2. Dispose
  3. and sale (if you want to have a boot/garage/yard sale)

Once you’ve sorted everything out then clean the space. Maybe buy pretty boxes to make the space more tidy. If it’s the kitchen area, you could buy pretty wooden/glass jars to keep your spices in, or cereals/nuts in.

Getting rid of unnecessary packaging can really benefit you, when trying to get healthy. When it’s in a clear jar, you’re more likely to use it.

Get used to labelling your storage systems. There’s nothing worse than taking a few hours to clear that space only to have it cluttered again. And if you have small children, labels are a good way of teaching kids new words because they’re on display.

And once that space is clear, you will feel motivated to carry on throughout the house and clear up any other unwanted junk. What a beautiful, clutter free home you’ll have in the end insha’Allah (Allah Willing).

Feeling inspired?

Can you see the benefit of decluttering for your overall wellbeing?

Do you want to feel the benefit of having a clutter free environment where you can enjoy life; Where you don’t have to worry about any mess or disorganization around you?

Then start today! As the Prophet sallahu alayhi wasallam said “actions are judged by intentions” so make the intention that you want to declutter your home in order to improve your health, and in turn worship Allah properly.

May Allah keep our homes clean and our eemaan high aameen!

 

JazakAllah khayrun for reading. Feel free to comment below on your decluttering strategies.

Don’t forget to subscribe for weekly updates!

5 In Mind

The 5 Second Rule for Better Health

I’m an avid book reader. I have around 1,000 books in my library (some in Saudi and some in the U.K.). I love all sorts of books from health to personal development.

Recently, I stumbled across this book called ‘The 5 Second Rule’ by Mel Robbins (not affiliated) and it has changed my life alhamdulillah (All Praises be to Allah)! It can change your life, worship and health too insha’Allah (if Allah Wills).

What is the 5 Second Rule

Ever wanted to change your habits, but always put it off until tomorrow? Have you intended to start eating healthy, but again you told yourself tomorrow?

The 5 second rule changes that. Our brains are on 2 modes; autopilot and emergency brake. Throughout our lives, we are on autopilot.

We wake up, shower, eat, go to work/school, check Facebook, pretend to do some work, check Facebook again, go home, eat, check Facebook again and sleep.

No wonder our minds are so comfortable. We are ALWAYS doing the same thing!

So when you decide to make a change your brain switches on the emergency brakes and the dialogue goes something like this;

You: “I need to stop eating these biscuits when I’m stressed. Maybe I should look up that cookie recipe…”

Brain: “Woah..woah… just hold on there Missy. You always eat these biscuits, why do you need to change now? I mean, 1 biscuit never harmed anyone, it’s just 1. Anyways, it’s not like you’re going to get diabetes from eating 1 measly biscuit. You have your whole life ahead of you, why stop now. Just one more biscuit and I promise we’ll stop… tomorrow…”

and the conversation goes on and on until you’ve eaten your way through a pack of custard creams.

Sound familiar? It’s not your brain’s fault. It’s been used to eating these biscuits every time it feels stressed. That’s how it’s been programmed since, well forever.

What the 5 second rule teaches us, is that our brains switch from autopilot to emergency brake in 5 seconds (in my case it’s 3 seconds). So you have a 5 second window to act upon something.

And when you use the 5 second rule, the pre-frontal cortex (where action happens) is activated and the back of your brain (where the autopilot button is and all the worries happen), is switched off.

How this coincides with Islam

We all know the infamous hadith; actions are judged by their intentions. Intention is so important when it comes to doing a good deed. When we look at the lives of the Sahabahs (May Allah be Pleased with them All) we notice them always rushing to do good. If someone was in need, the Sahabahs (RA) would race to gain the reward.

A story that illustrates this perfectly, and one that I love dearly, is between Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar (RA).

Umar ibn Al-Khattab (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah  ordered us to give charity and at the time I possessed some wealth. I said to myself, “If there is a day I can do better than Abu Bakr, then this is the one.” So I went with half of my wealth to the Messenger of Allah and he said, “What have you left for your family?” I said, “The same amount.” Then Abu Bakr came with everything he had. The Prophet said, “O Abu Bakr, what have you left for your family?” He said, “Allah and His messenger.” I said, “By Allah, I will never do better than Abu Bakr.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi 3675)

SubhanAllah (Glory Be to Allah)! Just look at Abu Bakr’s (RA) confidence. His certainty that no matter what, Allah will always provide for him and his family.

Now, let’s put ourselves in this situation. How would we react? Would we rush to gain some reward or would we ponder about what we need that money for? We’d sit there thinking of all the bills that need paying, the dress you wanted to buy etc. until what happens? You just forget about ever wanting to do that good deed.

Shaytaan (Satan), always wants to place doubt in our eemaan (faith); he always wants us to live in fear; that if we rush to good deeds we may lose out. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Allah says in the Qu’ran;

And every one has a direction to which he should turn, therefore hasten to (do) good works; wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together; surely Allah has power over all things. (Surah Al Baqarah: 148)

Scholars have noted that the words hasten to in fact mean to rush without delay, or without second thought.

Now, normally we are advised to always look at those who are poorer than us, so that we become more grateful and in turn less greedy. But this is not the case for good deeds. Allah encourages us to race (sprint, like you can see the finish line). Why? So that your abode can be Jannah Al Firdaws (Highest level in Paradise)!

 

How it can improve your health and ibadaah (worship)

In light of the above ayah and the 5 second rule; you have 2 invaluable tools that can give you the health/body you want which in turn will improve your ibadaah.

How?

Let’s say, you’ve just come back from school/work extremely stressed. You have so much work to do, and only a few hours before it’s bedtime to complete it.

Your mind is all over the place and it just wants to relax. You see those packets of biscuits on the table over there, but next to it you also see that delicious red apple that you promised yourself, to eat.

As you remind yourself that you were going to eat that apple count backwards 5-4-3-2-1 and then walk towards that apple. Grab it. Look at it and eat it.

What happens is, when you count backwards, you make the pre-frontal cortex (remember the action part of the brain), to kick in to gear and focus. Your brain, concentrates heavily on that red apple while your counting. This in turns makes you want to act, so your brain sends signals to your nerves to walk towards that apple and eat it.

Our bodies are amazing right subhan’Allah (Glory be to Allah). Just by doing this simple thing, it can help you really stay on top of your health insha’Allah (Allah Willing).

How the 5 Second Rule helped me

Alhamdulilah (All Praises be to Allah), Allah has blessed me with the opportunity of living in a country where I hear the athaan (call to prayer) five times a day. I’m constantly reminded of my purpose in life; which is to worship Allah Swt (The Most Glorified).

Pondering over the ayahs (verses) regarding good deeds and applying the 5 second rule in my life has proven to be so invaluable. Whenever I think of doing something (halal and good of course), I rush to do it.

I count backwards; 3-2-1 GO ROSY! I shout it if I have to, because for me that’s the only way to break the habit of procrastinating and wondering what if.

Remember this; Allah always wants good for you. All you have to do is place your FULL trust in Him Swt.

 

I really hope you benefitted from this post. If you did, don’t forget to subscribe for weekly updates.

 

0 In Mind

How negativity affects your health

On the authority of Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (radiAllahu anhu), the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) said:

The likeness of a righteous friend and an evil friend, is the likeness of a (musk) perfume seller and a blacksmith. As for the perfume seller, he may either bestow something on you, or you may purchase something from him, or you may benefit from his sweet smell. And as for the blacksmith, he may either burn your clothes, or you may be exposed to his awful smell.

[Bukhari and Muslim]

Have you ever been around someone or a group of people and just felt stressed out? Are there times when negative people or their opinions trigger a negative response within you? Do you feel tainted, affected, with no resolve after being around a certain group of people or person.

If so, then I can wholeheartedly confirm that this is not just a figment of your imagination; negative vibes, people and energies can affect your health and overall wellness.

I love the above hadith; being around a good friend is likened to perfume and being around a bad friend is likened to an awful smell. This is a great metaphor when dealing with negative people/situations; stay away or be prepared to get burned by their flames.

The brain and negativity

You may have heard the analogy of the brain being compared to a computers hard drive. This couldn’t be more true, because once the brain receives information, it becomes embedded into its neurons. Once that information is embedded it can be difficult to remove, just like when trying to remove information from a computer.

Interacting with negative people, situations and energies not only changes the structure of the brain, but memories of those interactions get stored at cellular level, long after that particular event took place.

The negative event creates ‘neural traffic’ to and from the central nervous system and triggers a ‘fight or flight’ response. As we all know, the fight or flight response is an automatic response that puts our bodies on high alert. The adrenal glands release stress hormones, the heart begins to beat rapidly and the thyroid gland begins to stimulate the metabolism. This all happens when we perceive a negative situation.

The immune system

When we are around negativity, we get highly stressed, hence why our bodies turns on its ‘fight or flight’ response. Too many studies have shown that stress can impact your immune system, by inhibiting the good disease-fighting cells, to proliferate.  A weakened immune system is more prone to illness and in some severe cases lead to a heart attack.

You’re probably think im exaggerating but stress is the number one cause of health problems. Stress can trigger IBS, autoimmune diseases and so much more. Avoid negativity and you avoid stress.

Say ‘good-bye’

Don’t wait until a toxic person in your life has brought you so far down that you forget how to get back up. You need to surround yourself with people who inspire you, encourage you and help you realize your potential.

As Muslims it’s ideal for us to hang around people who remind us of our ultimate goal; Jannah. Which reminds me of the following hadith;

The Prophet (sallahu alayhi wasalaam) was reportedly asked: “Which of our companions are best?” He replied: “One whose appearance reminds you of God, and whose speech increases you in knowledge, and whose actions remind you of the hereafter.” (Bukhari)

If you’re encountering a negative crowd at work, consider getting a mentor. I’ve always been fortunate to have a mentor who pushes me to dream bigger and expect more from myself. Mentors often have a larger vision for us than we have for ourselves, and their confidence in our potential inspires us to reach higher, than we could have imagined on our own. So get inspired!

Set Limits (Especially With Complainers)

Granted, there are people who you can’t eliminate from your life (at least not right away), like co-workers or bosses, family members. Thankfully, there are some proven ways to protect your positive attitude from the influence of others, even if you’re stuck with them for 8+ hours a day.

Complainers and negative people wallow in their problems. Often, they want people to join their negativity party. And, often we feel pressure to listen to these negative individuals (especially if you’re an INFJ personality; boy do we get caught up!) because we don’t want to be seen as rude. But there’s a huge difference between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into others’ negative emotional tornadoes.

You can avoid all this by setting limits and distancing yourself when possible. Think of it this way: if the negative person was smoking instead, would you sit there inhaling the second-hand smoke?

No . You’d distance yourself, and you should do the exact thing same with toxic people. A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem. They will either stop their negativity or redirect the conversation towards positivity.

Choose Your Battles

Don’t engage every time someone irritates you or tries to bring you into their negativity.

This reminds me of a famous hadith

    “Once, a person was verbally abusing Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) while the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wasallam) was curiously watching with a smile. After taking much abuse quietly, Abu Bakr responded to a few of his comments. At this, the Prophet exhibited his disapproval, got up and left. Abu Bakr caught up with the Prophet and wondered, ‘O Messenger of Allah, he was abusing me and you remained sitting. When I responded to him, you disapproved and got up.’ The Messenger of Allah responded,
    ‘There was an angel with you responding to him. When you responded to him, Shaitan took his place.’

SubhanAllah (Glory Be to Allah)! There’s such wisdom in not replying to negative rhetoric. So work on your emotional intelligence and prevent the situation from escalating. Walk away from unnecessary conflict — you’ll be respected for taking the high road.

Make Someone Else Smile

Smile. It’s charity [Bukhari]

I absolutely love the concept of making other people happy, just to improve your own happiness. Making someone else smile is just so rewarding. A positive attitude is always contagious.

Multiple scientific studies have shown that being the positive one, not only makes others feel better, but creates long-lasting feelings of joy within yourself, and can provide that much-needed boost to your overall mood.

So make someone smile today without expecting anything in return. Smile at your kids. Do something special for your husband/wife. Make your mom/dad happy. Do something that will put a smile on the face, of the people around you.

When your thoughts become negative

From time-to-time we get negative thoughts; its human nature. But it’s how we react to these thoughts that make a whole load of difference.

Instead of being harsh on yourself, think about all the positive things about yourself. Write them down and memorize them. Every time you feel negative about yourself, read that list and remind yourself that you’re not as bad as you make yourself to be.

A lot of us were raised around difficult circumstances that affected our self-esteem and the way we perceive ourselves. Loving yourself nowadays is translated as being arrogant or ‘up yourself’ (as us Northerners like to call it).

But there is absolutely nothing wrong with loving yourself! The first step to happiness is being in complete acceptance of yourself and respecting yourself enough, to not listen to those negative thoughts.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Don’t forget to subscribe for weekly updates and spread the likes on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

4 In Mind

Dealing with Post-Natal Depression

Giving birth to my beautiful baby boy was probably the most empowering experience I have ever endured. I slow labored for two days and then finally gave birth at 5.35pm, March 21st 2012. He weighed just 3.6kg and was the cutest thing ever. Holding him was a dream that had finally come true.

My amazing sister/friend (Ayan I love you), was there through it all. She caught a plane from Sweden just to attend the birth. It was truly a special moment that strengthened bonds forever.

I stayed in hospital for a few days because my bundle of joy was having difficulty latching on. Midwives tried pushing formula milk on me but I kindly declined. Finally, I was brave enough to go home and just be with my baby. Alone.

And that’s when it happened. All those feelings of joy, love and excitement were soon replaced with dread, fear and loneliness.

How did I go from one extreme to the other. Waking up in the middle of the night to feed, sore nipples, painful urination from tearing during labor, mastitis; it all piled up in the end. Nobody warned me that it would be this tough. Nobody prepared me for this moment. Here I was, staring at my baby screaming and thinking of ways to shut him up. And it was at this moment, that I shut down. My feelings and my being just broke down.

More than just ‘baby-blues’

As days went on I began feeling more and more agitated. I was alone, with a new-born baby and I had never imagined it to be this way. I was going through a divorce and my family lived so far away, so the only thing I could do, was call my mother (which was difficult when holding a screaming baby).

I no longer had time for myself. I couldn’t shower in peace or even use the toilet. How could this small being turn my world upside down? Breastfeeding was a nightmare; I developed mastitis as he was just not latching on properly. Health visitors came round and kept telling me to preserve, it will get easier. This is normal. Meanwhile all I wanted to do was hide away from my baby and myself.

I was overcome with severe fatigue. There were days where I would just lie in bed and not get up at all. Baby slept next to me so it wasn’t difficult attending to his needs. I had no appetite either which wasn’t good for my breast milk.

I hated looking in the mirror. I felt ugly and fat. At one point I remember my son crying and I just sat in the bathroom crying with my hands over my ears. I felt so powerless. This is not how imagined motherhood.

When friends came over I put on my poker face and faked happiness. I diverted questions about how I felt and just made them focus on my son. Faking a smile was probably the hardest thing to do. They weren’t just my friends, they had become my family. But I felt like they wouldn’t understand and I didn’t want to burden them with my problems. So I just plodded along hoping this feeling would just go away. But it didn’t.

That day

And then it all just became too much. I rang my mother and told her I was coming to stay with her for a few days. But I didn’t mention that my son would be staying with her, and I was planning to go on holiday for a few days. I even contemplated not coming back.

I had no feelings of guilt. I couldn’t care less. I felt as though I was rebelling. That I was making a stand against  motherhood. Motherhood wasn’t for me. I decided to quit.

When I arrived at my mothers I gently broke the news that I’m leaving for Oman tomorrow. Of course, my mom stood there horrified. “Are you taking baby”? I just shook my head; “I don’t want him”. My mom at this point realized I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, but instead of coming down on me like a tonne of bricks, she supported my decision to go.

Leaving my son behind wasn’t difficult at all. I had already told myself, that this is what I need. I couldn’t wait to just get on the plane and fly away from the hectic life called motherhood. So it was good-bye baby and hello sunny Oman.

My first day there was amazing. I sat on the beach and just soaked in the glorious sun. I messaged my family maybe twice just to check on them. When they told me about my son, my answers were short and abrupt. All I could imagine is him screaming, but my heart, felt nothing.

A few days had passed and I was starting to miss home. As I was walking along the beach, I saw a family with two young children. The mother was chasing them and the children were full of laughter and joy. Her youngest was probably a year old, and she just picked him up and spun him around in the air. The happiness in their eyes was indescribable. It was at this point that all my emotions decided to just release themselves. I just burst out crying and couldn’t stop.

Getting help

My stay in Oman was short. As soon as I got home I ran to my son and hugged and kissed him. I told my mom how I’d been feeling since giving birth and being the amazing woman that she is, advised me to seek help for post-natal depression.

She reassured me that it happens a lot with first time mothers, as she had been through it herself. But back then there was no name for it and mothers were just expected to pretend those feelings didn’t exist.

So I booked an appointment with my doctor who put me in contact with an amazing counselor. She helped me identify my emotions, triggers and gave coping strategies. Her experience with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as well as interpersonal therapy, really helped identify problems that I had in relationships, and how that subsequently affected me.

One thing I learnt from having post-natal depression is to always seek help. No matter how bad you feel, no matter how ashamed you feel; seek help. I don’t know how my relationship with my son would be right now, if I didn’t get help.

A really good organisation is PANDAS who give advice and support for pre and post-natal depression.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you would like some advice on post-natal depression then feel free to email me on health@umm-natural.com

 

 

2 In Mind

Business 101: How to keep motivated

If you’re a procrastinator, chances are you feel like giving up every time you try to start on your business.

It’s not your fault. It’s just the way your brain reacts to getting started.

Trust me when I say; I know how you feel. I’ve had so many ideas, stayed up all night researching just to find myself not interested by the end of week. It was a sad state of affairs.

Don’t worry I’m not going to teach you how to write goals (like all the other blogs out there). My aim is to share what works for me. Hopefully it will work for you too.

 

Vision Board

A dear friend of mine (you know who you are), got me hooked on vision boards. It’s kinda like a piece of art hanging on your wall. Only it has cut out pictures of all your dreams, hopes and desires.

You can cut pictures from magazines, newspapers, whatever you like. It doesn’t have to be pictures either. You can cut titles, words and letters. Something like this;

Source: www.lifecoach2women.com

The point of the board is to get your intentions in order; why are you doing what you do? You can have a picture of the Maldives and your intention is to be so self sufficient, that you can travel around the world.

It’s best to keep this board hanging where you work. Wherever that is, make sure it’s in sight because every time you sit down to work on your business, it will motivate you to keep going.

As an EX-procrastinator, this really helped when I had the ‘business-blues’; when I felt like a failure and when it felt like everyone around me had their life and business in order. Which takes me to my next point.

Stop looking at what everyone else is doing. Just STOP!

It’s so easy to scroll through hundreds of entrepreneur websites, admiring the intellect and success of the individual. But let me tell you; their journey is COMPLETELY different to yours.

You don’t know how that person started his/her business, why he/she started and most importantly, what resources that person had to get started. I’m not saying you can’t admire that person’s success, but comparing them to your business is not the way forward.

I love this saying;

Stop comparing your Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 30; you’re just setting yourself up to fail.

Again, trust me when I say this. Looking at what others are doing, will not help your business. It will just leave you feeling like crap, and worse, giving up on your dreams. I’ve been there and done that. I’ve scrolled through other nutritionist businesses and have had a minor heart attack every time.

It only left me feeling disheartened and demotivated. So stop looking at others and look at what you have within yourself. Believe me, you have something to offer.

Organise, organise and organise some more

When I set up Umm Natural, I started selling pure black seed oil on Ebay. This gave me some insight into what I really wanted to do.

But the one thing that got in the way was my lack of organisational skills. It was appalling. I had orders coming in but no overheads, spreadsheets, data entries, loss and profit margins; nothing. I was just selling on a whim and it really affected how I felt about running a business.

Fast forward to 2 years later, I now keep all my business objectives in one book. I have a spreadsheet with all my client’s information and I also keep nutritional assessments secured under one file. My laptop and folders are labelled and in order and it feels so good.

As I’m not selling products (at the moment, but will be soon so watch this space), my ‘business objective’ book contains where I need my business to be in 6 months time.

I also use it for blog post ideas. I write the topic, do some research and get to work.

Now some of you maybe thinking why I don’t keep an editorial calendar for my blog posts. Well, as I tend to have a short attention span (my mother said it’s because I’m super talented), whenever I feel like quitting, I look back at my ideas and BOOM it gets me motivated again.

Kinda like the vision board.

Also keeping your work space neat and tidy helps keep your brain in focus. There’s no point having clutter around you, it will just feed your brain to do the same. So keep your work space, separate to your living space. Take note peeps!

Accountability

When you have someone to push you towards fulfilling your dreams; it really does motivate you to finish what you started.

My dear husband set me a challenge; to write at least 10 ideas every day that will help my business prosper. If I missed one day then I have to pay him £2, and he will spend that on something I hate.

So far I’ve paid him £10, and it killed me!

Another thing that goes towards accountability is being around people who motivate you to do better.

I love this quote;

If you’re surrounded by broke people, chances are, you’ll be the same

Now what I infer from this quote isn’t money (being broke), but being broke mentally, physically and spiritually. But if you’re around people who are rich in personality, dreams and spirit; there is a 100% chance you’ll be the same.

By holding yourself accountable to the company you keep, it really does change your perspective on your life and business.

Fake it like you’ve made it

I know you’re gasping in shock and horror. Fake it? How can I fake success?

Simple. Act like you’ve already made it. You see that figure you have written down on paper, on how much you want your business to make in a year. Yeah, imagine you’ve already that money and add tax to it.

When I studied NLP, my trainer explained the problem with goals; our subconscious secretly records them as unfinished business. So instead of saying ‘I want to be a millionaire’ or ‘I want to start a naturopath business’,  say this instead ‘I AM a millionaire’, ‘I’ve started my naturopath business and its so successful’.

Language is very important; instead of speaking in the future tense (I will, I want etc) speak in the present tense (I am, have etc).

Just dua it

I remember feeling so frustrated every time I hit a brick wall with my business. When I lost money, made a mistake or just couldn’t get the idea right; it all took a toll on my motivation.

And then one day someone sent me a video about rizq (wealth, success etc). The scholar explains that Allah has written everything for you. From every dime you earn to everything you possess; it is written. Nobody can change that, other than Allah.

I made so much dua; to place so much blessing in what I’ve been given, so that I can do more with it. I make this dua every time I start on anything related to my work and I always end up completing my tasks and feeling fulfilled.

Another dua I like to make is asking Allah to make me a benefit to the Ummah. I don’t do what I love for money; I do it out of the love of helping people and making someone else’s life better.

The key to your success is in Allah’s Hands. Just remember that.

 

There you go folks. I hope you enjoyed reading my tips on keeping motivated. How do you keep your business going? Comment below.

Don’t forget to subscribe for weekly updates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0 In Mind

You don’t need a new year, for a brand new start

So you counted down the seconds to January 1st 2017. You have a list ready of all the new amazing things that you’re planning to do this year.

You’re excited, motivated, thrilled and just overjoyed that you’re starting the year with so much enthusiasm. The first day starts off with a bang; you’ve joined a gym, you’re beginning a new business venture. You feel confident, fulfilled and just a better person. But a few days after, all that motivation comes crashing down. Why?

 

It all begins with intention

Research shows that only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolution, were able to achieve their goals. Only 8%! I’m guessing 92% of the people who failed to achieve their goals started with the wrong intention.

As Muslims, we begin most things with Bismillah (In the Name of Allah), and we aim to always renew our intention before beginning an action.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said;

Verily actions are judged by their intentions (Bukhari and Muslim).

So when you joined that gym as soon as the clock struck midnight; was it on a whim? Was it just to check the box on your ‘to do list’? What was the real motive behind joining a gym?

When you break down your intention you really get to the focal point of why you do certain things, rather than making a meaningless list, that you’ll probably throw away after a couple of days.

So why did you join a gym? Of course to lose weight (unless you only joined to use the steam room). Try this; before going to the gym ask yourself why? Remind yourself that you’re doing it to become fit and healthy, or to stay in shape. If you renew your intention before any action, you are more than likely to stick with it.

 

Start now

Right from the start ‘resolutions’ have failure and procrastination built into it. Although we start with good intentions, part of the problem is that we set unrealistic goals, with the assumption that we will be a completely new and different person every year. To top it off, the problem is further exacerbated when we hear about the flamboyant goals of our friends. It thus becomes a competition rather than an actual chance for self-development.

However, despite these connotations it’s never too late to start now. In reality, change happens in small steps over time.

With New Year resolutions we expect ourselves to change as soon as it hits midnight. Like Cinderella at the ball, we race against time instead of taking our time. After a few unsuccessful attempts at achieving our goals, we are struck with a heightened feeling of failure and thus discouraged from setting goals, later on in life.

So if you want to do something,  I urge you to do it now.  Start now. Don’t wait. Even if it’s something as small as making sure you wash the dishes before you go to bed, do it. And then celebrate it. Be proud of that achievement no matter how small it is.

Goals vs values

This is an area which is often misconstrued and causes further anxiety in people. When we say ‘goal’ our subconscious mind quickly tries to find something that is attainable. It looks for something tangible, specific and achievable. So if you say ‘my goal is to become a millionaire’, your subconscious automatically goes into one of your filing cabinets, at the back of your brain, and pulls out a picture of you rolling around in lots of money whilst screaming in joy.

There’s nothing wrong with having that picture in mind. The problem arises when you can’t achieve that goal, and be that happy person rolling around in money. When you experience failure you are more than likely to feel unfulfilled, undervalued or simply not worthy of being that person you imagined.

However if you simply change the way you value something then your outlook on your future, seems that much more attainable. So instead of saying you want to become a millionaire you can rephrase and state you want to live a life without financial worries. Instead of a having a fixed goal, you change what you value. In this case, money.

Values are broader and imply moment to moment decisions. Therefore you’re not stressing over a time frame and schedules, because values are much deeper than that.

 

Secrets of success

People naturally do more of what makes them feel good, which I like to call good habits. Good habits are what make you successful. If you’re not doing something over and over again, then chances are you don’t take it seriously and will just revert to feelings of failure and back to dreaming of your goals. Dreaming about goals is one thing, but acting upon them is what makes you successful.

This reminds me of the following hadith;

“The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was asked, “What deeds are loved most by Allah?” He said, “The most regular constant deeds even though they may be few.” He added, “Don’t take upon yourselves, except the deeds which are within your ability” [Sahih Al-Bukhari].

SubhanAllah (Glory Be to God). Two things we can learn from this hadith are to keep at it and to never give up! 

I would also like to highlight the point of doing things within your ability. This is so important because I’ve seen people setting goals/tasks that are completely out of their ability. For example setting up a brand new business and wanting to become a millionaire overnight (honestly people have told me this).

I really admire their ambition and that kind of ambition is amazing to have. But the problem is the goal that’s been set. Unless you know another millionaire than can lend you a million pounds (dollars for my American readers), then it’s nearly impossible to set up a business and become a millionaire overnight (If you’ve made a million pounds/dollars overnight then please comment below with how you did it).

One book that really helped me develop good habits is 7 habits of highly successful people. I highly recommend this book! Stephen Convey teaches you how to be proactive instead of reactive to your circumstances and really makes you think outside the box of your comfort zone. (If you enjoy listening then you can downloaded them here).

 

Do it for yourself

This is probably the most important part of change; doing it for yourself. A lot of people set goals to compete, or to be praised or envied. They announce on social media that they are going to do something, hoping for people’s approval and likes. And when things don’t go the way as planned, guess what happens? Feelings of shame and embarrassment ensue.

If your confidence is already low then having these feelings are most likely to make self-esteem issues even worse. You become paranoid thinking people are talking about you and then start feeling jealous or resentful over other people’s success.

I like this quote;

Set some goals. Stay quiet about them Smash the hell out of them. Clap for your damn self!

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. What do you find most difficult when committing to a goal? Comment below.

And don’t forget to subscribe for weekly updates.

0 In Mind

Positive affirmations – Why they don’t always work

So you’re sat at home in your PJ’s, snacking on a tub of ice cream whilst watching garbage on the TV. You feel inadequate, unsuccessful, unlovable –  basically like nothing.

You feel so unmotivated, that you just cannot be bothered to change the channel. Your life is not the way you imagined it. You hate your job, your weight. You hate the food you’re eating, your relationship with your spouse and family. You’re falling into a world of inconsolable darkness.

You decide you’ve had enough of feeling low so you do a little research and come across the term ‘positive affirmations’. So you begin to repeat ‘I am amazing’, ‘I am successful’, ‘I am worthy’, and so on. Only to feel even worse.

Sound familiar? On my quest in finding WHO I am, I went through all these positive notions. I sat down everyday in front of a mirror and tried to convince myself that I was amazing. When in fact, I felt like a fraud.

 

Affirmations are not the reality

Yes, positive affirmations do work for some people. It works for people who already have great confidence and a high level of self-esteem. But if your self-esteem is real low, chances are you will end up going back to believing the absolute worst about yourself. In fact research shows that people with low-self esteem found that saying things like, ‘I am amazing’, only made them feel like  a joke.

Repeating affirmations only taps into your conscious mind, not your subconscious. Your subconscious mind is where all your thoughts lie and actually controls your thoughts. Your conscious mind just acts upon them.

So when you repeat these affirmations, your subconscious gets triggered and reminds you of all the times you felt inadequate. It will bring up your history of mistakes and failures, screaming “Stop lying, it’s not true”! That’s why you are left feeling worse than to begin with.

 

Affirmations don’t address the real issue

For those with low self-esteem, affirmations are like a band-aid; they only cover the issue, not go to the root cause. As the saying goes ‘treat the problem rather than the symptoms’.

Telling yourself that you’re successful over and over again, is like taking medication for a headache. It works the first time, but after the third or fourth time, your body becomes immune to it so it’s no longer effective.

 

Asking yourself is better

You probably thought I was slating people who tell themselves daily that they’re amazing. No, that isn’t the intention of this post. I’ve struggled with confidence issues all my life, until I studied NLP.

See when you ask instead of tell yourself, your subconscious automatically opens the ‘achievements’ cabinet and brings out dusty files and goes through all the times you felt great. It begins to remind you of all the resources you have, to address the problem.

In NLP that’s called internal representations; we all have images, words, sounds, feelings etc that internally represent how we feel about success, failure, our talents, abilities and so on.

One thing I’ve noticed when I ask myself a question, I get a better reaction to the situation. For example; I don’t feel like I’m a good enough writer, so I’ll procrastinate from writing a post. When I feel like this I ask myself ‘how can I become a better writer?’ ‘What resources do I have to write?’ ‘When did I feel like I was a good writer”? I ask myself until I’ve built enough confidence to write again.

 

So when you ask yourself instead of TELL yourself; your internal representations quickly shift from a negative state into a positive one. Try it, see how you feel after.

 

Accept the negativity

One thing that works for me, is accepting the negative feeling.

For example; you have to deliver a presentation about your skin care business in front of 100 entrepreneurs and your nerves have gotten the best of you. You buckle under the pressure and are ready to cancel.

In a situation like this ask yourself  “Am I really that bad at presenting?” “Has a presentation ever gone wrong”? You could go even further and accept that you’re ready to quit but then ask yourself how you can change these feelings;

“I know I’m nervous but how can I feel a little more confident”? “Will I give a speech that will inspire my audience”? “How can I expand”? “What if I have cue cards to help me when I feel nervous”? and so on.

Once you get used to asking yourself problem solving questions, you are more likely to be able to deal with negative thoughts more effectively. You could follow this process

  • Pay attention to the negative thought
  • Turn “I am” into “Am I”?
  • Try and solve these “Am I” questions with “What if”? until your thoughts become an enquiry.

By doing this, you are no longer battling with your feelings and thoughts. Instead you begin to productively use that inner sense of curiosity to build self confidence, which in turn brings out a better you.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading. What do you struggle with when trying to build your confidence? Comment below.

Don’t forget to subscribe for weekly updates and giveaways!