Creativity Impacting Our Wellbeing

Melany is a teacher and a lifelong volunteer. Her workshop explored creativity impacting our wellbeing, celebrating our creativity in everyday life and engaging with other creative activities to increase our sense of wellbeing.

Research indicates that taking part in creative activities help people to manage their emotions, build confidence and explore solutions to problems. A long lasting positive change can occur in a person’s mental, physical and spiritual state. The workshop gave women an opportunity to identify that they all demonstrate creativity in many ways in their day to day lives.

It also allowed them to share some of their creative work with each other. They came to the realisation that having a creative hobby had a positive impact on their wellbeing and it is something that they need to incorporate into their lives. A truly inspiring and motivating session.

How To Lead A Healthy Life

Sumaiya Kamal is a teacher and writer. She likes discussing issues related to faith and culture. She has run several sessions covering various topics relating to Muslim women and their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Some of the sessions she has done have included how to lead a healthy and holistic life through following the best of humanity, prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), how to maintain an attitude of gratitude, how we can achieve inner peace in our life.

One of her goals is to reach out to the women of her community and help them to truly appreciate their special role as daughters, sisters, wives and mothers amongst other things. She blogs at Reflections of a traveller.

You can read more content on her blog by clicking here.

Leaders Urge Action Over Representation

Sports charity leaders from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds have urged the UK’s sports administrators to take more proactive measures over representation.

Yashmin feels that specific targets should be set. “Although the lack of Black and Asian Board members is something often discussed, unless there is something more challenging like targets very little will change,” she told ConnectSport.

“Diversity of thinking, and ‘check and challenging’ within the Boardroom can only be achieved if you have members from BAME backgrounds and from all walks of life. Board diversity is absolutely required in order to tackle the systemic racism and bias that exists within sports - and this has to be led from the top down.” 

Yashmin called for more sports governing bodies to be proactive in engaging with, and listening to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic members, staff or volunteers. “The sector needs passionate and experienced BAME individuals who have been working under the radar but can address some of the challenges the sports sector faces. It is time NGBs bring these individuals to the table and hear their voices - collectively - if we are to be serious about shifting the balance and changing perceptions.”

You can read the full article by clicking here.

Building A Life Through Ibaadah

Rahima Islam presented a session via Skype during lockdown on 'Building ourselves through ibaadah (Salah), in which she talked through the different voluntary Salah which one can perform to reap the rewards.

Rahima gave practical tips and talked about her own experiences in establishing and implementing some very rewarding Salah into our daily routines.

In particular, she emphasised the way Tahajjud can be incorporated into our daily routines and how other Salah, such as Duha, Tasbeeh and Tauba Salah can also be easily added to our lives. In this interactive session, sisters added their own input and practical tips, which was all noted.

The session was ended with sisters wanting to add more Salah into their lives and build themselves through better worship.

Hope During Calamity

Natural disasters and calamities have been hitting different parts of the world throughout human history. People have different views about them; some take them as mere events and accidents taking place by chance, while many others take them as torments and trials from the creator. Times of disaster bring uncertainty and fear. They can test us and stretch us beyond our own limits of possibility. And yet, these times—personal or collective—can also reveal a resiliency and strength unknown. When you are facing a new kind of trying time, faith can offer clarity, encouragement, reassurance and hope for the days ahead. 

The session on Hope During Calamity delivered by Dr Mahera Ruby addressed how families can focus on faith, family and health to get through and overcome this calamity by focusing primarily on the emotions such situations evoke. The session explored how individuals on a daily basis are faced by a host of new problems and difficulties, which can cause distress, and with each distress individuals dip into their inner resources and external sources of support to overcome them. Despite this, there are instances when external calamities can bring added change, anxiety and distress. An individual can consider these to be chance occurrences or mere coincidences, thus never pausing to even consider the actual cause and reason behind these calamities. However, the session further explored for a person of faith, who are momentarily stirred by this state of affairs, how can they become more reflective and turn to the creator for solace and guidance? Using COVID-19 as the current trial, the session concluded with how families can recalibrate our focus on Faith, Family and Health with guidance from Islam, looking at key verses from Quran and hadith to generate hope and a positive mindset.

Surah Yusufs Workshops

In the Holy Quran Allah SWT mentions the stories of many Prophet. There are many reasons for mentioning these stories in the Quran one of them being as Allah SWT says “There was certainly in their stories a lesson for those of understanding” – Surah Yusuf, verse 111.

Over four sessions, we learnt about Surah Yusuf and what life lessons we can take away from this Surah. Although the Surah was revealed over 1400 years ago, all the lessons are still relevant to us to this day. We went through the life story of Prophet Yusuf (AS) and took away points for us from each part of his journey. Some of these lessons were on; Dreams, Maintaining kinship, Envy and jealousy, Dealing with grief and distress, Forgiveness, Having all form of patience, Protecting ourselves, Being content with Allah SWT’s decree, Knowledge and wisdom, Recognising what causes us to get to major sins.

These were amongst many more we spoke about and discussed. Not only were these relevant to positively impact our spiritual well being but also our mental wellbeing, which one cannot deny is intertwined.

Healing Through Writing

Rahima Islam is a writer and author of fiction and non fiction books. In this Women's Positive Minds and Healthy Living Workshop session she discusses how writing is a form of therapy for her and how it allows her to express herself and her feelings in a form that she feels comfortable with. She has made writing books a positive outcome from her negative life situations. Rahima focuses on tests which she has endured and relates them to the Quran and Sunnah as well as Scientific studies. Rahima's books aim to educate people from all walks of life. Her non fiction books aim to provide comfort to those who are experiencing similar tests and her fiction books aims to educate children about modern issues correctly, rather than through curiosity. The session aimed at providing an example of therapy to those who may be going through negative situations and find ways to express themselves through a means that brings about positivity.

The 5 Ways to Wellbeing

In this session, we discussed how as women we often neglect ourselves but as women, as mothers, carers, nurturers we need to take care of ourselves first before we can take care of others.

So what does wellbeing mean and how can we achieve this?

The 5 ways to well-being looks at five important ways that we can achieve a better wellbeing for ourselves. Evidence suggests there are 5 steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing. If you give them a try, you may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life.

1. Connect – connect with the people around you / 2. Be active – you don't have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. / 3. Take Notice - Be more aware and mindful / 4. Keep learning - new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. / 5. Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. We discussed how Muslims can use the same steps to get closer to Allah and the Quran.

Realignment for Jannah

In our everyday hustle and bustle, life can get overwhelming and we can easily lose sight of what really matters for our aakhirah. In an evocative programme led by Sister Kiran Umm Talha, we get a wake up call of what our life will look back like on the Day when we face our dear Lord and Creator, Allaah, subhaana wa ta'ala.

She reminds us that our limbs will speak on that Day and invites us to cultivate mindfulness and better habits by brainstorming what we would like each one to say. Perhaps you would like your arms to share about the times they spent cooking for your neighbours. Or you'd like your nose to say it stayed out of other people's business! Whatever your goals, Sister Umm Talha lays out a guide for self-watching ourselves, spreading salaam, and becoming consistent in our remembrances of Allaah. Realign your tongue with your actions and your thoughts with your intentions as you re-envision what the rest of your life will be.

Brief history about MSA

Since its inception in 2014, MSA has continuously been thriving to encourage BAME women to get active and into sports. Over the years we have organised activities such as boxing, pilates, running, football, and Modern Arnis to name just a few. We’ve always catered for women and their specific needs, such as running mother and baby yoga classes because we understand that childcare is often a barrier for women.

As well as the 15 activities we currently run, we have also organised Positive Minds and Healthy Living workshops to promote mental wellbeing and healthy lifestyle choices. We are always open to new ideas and activities. If you have any suggestions or would like to see a particular event set up in your area, we would love to hear from you.