Thursday 7 January 2016

Word for 2016: Health

I like the idea of choosing a word for the year but because it helps to focus on one theme or area of my life that I can work on. My word for 2015 was shukr, or gratefulness. My intention was to become more grateful for every big and small blessing in my life, but more than anything else it made me realise how much we have and how little gratefulness we show for it. So gratefulness will be an ongoing theme for me and one that I hope to work on indefinitely. I had thought about keeping a gratefulness journal of some kind, but didn’t see much point in a book that just listed the same things every day. So instead I hope to start a small gratefulness art journal with one new thing added every day – this way I get to try out art journaling, have to think of something new every day and have to take a little time out each day to dedicate to consciously think about what I am grateful for.

(image courtesy of Harlequin Sister)

My words for the last few years have been ones that help me to take a certain approach or create a certain mindset: courage in 2011, patience for 2012 (in hindsight), discipline in 2013 and focus in 2014. This year I wanted to go with something more tangible and measurable. So my word for 2016 is Health. I strongly feel that if I get this right it will impact so many areas of my life – my energy levels, my confidence if I lose weight, my long-term health, my budget, my conscience – I always try to get my family eating as healthily as possible, but find myself falling in to bad habits over time if I am not careful.

So my intentions are not to diet but to try and increase the mount of fruit and vegetables in our diet, drink more water, walk regularly, be kind to myself and allow myself to enjoy my food without feeling guilty but also to put the effort and discipline in to make the right choices more of the time. I have tried meal planning before with varying success, so hope to experiment further with this.

I want to enjoy cooking more insh’Allah, for me this means trying new recipes, fresh, colourful ingredients and food that doesn’t take a very long time but that tastes very good. I also want to learn more, so I have set up my feed app with lots of feeds from blogs and sites that educate and inspire around topics such as exercise for busy mums, easy healthy recipes, meal planning, whole foods and vegetarian cooking. I have also found tutorials on healthy meals on YouTube which are good for ideas and also motivating myself (recipe for dish below here).

So far I have been making sure I have a light breakfast every morning (a small wrap, a slice of bread with soft cheese or ), something I have not been bothering with since I was a teenager. I have also been taking a salad into lunch for work everyday, and have felt lighter and more energised in the afternoon because of it. 

For once it doesn’t feel like a chore or as if I am struggling. I have stopped reaching for the biscuits and snacks at work almost completely because I don’t have long stretched of time when I have been hungry. I also have a more filling meal in the evening without feeling guilty at all. The next things I will be working on is the weak points for my body clock. For instance I know that when I get back from work I am starving and will eat anything without stopping to think if it is the right thing. I will be working out what I can do to ease this crunch point (like having some nuts or fruit to eat just before I leave work).

I have also been trying to get more sleep in which always felt impossible until I came across the following hadith:

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would not sleep before the evening prayer (isha) and he would not stay up after it. ~ Sunan Ibn Majah 702

and the following quote:

"Imaam Ibn-Al Qayyim, may Allaah Have mercy upon him, said "four things destroy the body: anxiety, grief, hunger and sleeping late" (from The Phenomenon of Grief and Depression by Su'ood Ash-Shuraym).

This has given me the inspiration to try harder to implement the sunnah of sleeping early and to find a way to change my routine for the better insh’Allah.

I would love to hear if people have a word for the year to inspire or focus them. Did you have a word for 2015 and did it make a difference for you?


  1. Salam HMM, i agree. Its definitely the theme of my year as well. I wanted to make changes and get in shape so for the most part im cutting back portions. And I try to fast to make up fasts and work out every day, if im crunched for time, as I am when I have work. I work out for 10 minz before getting ready for work. It has made a huuuge difference.

    I had to ask u sumthing as well, ur a religious sister mA! And you know alot of sisters in the community as well so im sure this is something you are used to hearing abt.

    I recently joined a matrimonial site, im 30 and need to get married lol. I dont date or call/text/ hang out with guys. But some of these guys within a few messages want me to send pics n talk on the phone. I reeeeally dont feel comfortable as I dont knw them.

    How do I deal with this? And what is the most appropriate route of getting to knw someone for marriage esp if it is an online suitor.

    Would definitely appreciate the help.

  2. Oh! I started off with health as focus too.. nice to read and get more motivated.. I stay at home now.. so even though I have all the time to workout.. it is hard to keep up.. inshaAllah.. I will have to and get back to healthy self..