Ramadan is a special month in the Islamic calendar, practiced by Muslims around the world. It remembers the month that their holy book, the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammed. The dates for Ramadan follow the cycles of the moon. For 2021, this is from the evening of 12th April to the 12th May.
Ramadan requires mental strength and discipline as Muslims avoid eating or drinking during the hours of daylight. Everyone supports one another through a tough month to remember its symbolism and consider the suffering of people who are less advantaged. Instead, families and friends share one meal before sunrise, and another just after sunset.
Wellbeing during Ramadan
Fasting for 30 days can also be both mentally and physically challenging. Many Muslims feel it is a devotion to their faith, however, we must all look after our wellbeing, at work, and at home, to ensure we don’t burn out.
Communication is key: In advance of Ramadan, it is a great idea to familiarise your team or manager about your upcoming fast. While it may seem difficult to explain this to those who do not follow the same beliefs as you, it openly reminds them that you are more likely to get tired easier and have less energy than usual. It also means your manager can support you if there are certain tasks you don’t feel comfortable with. For example, expecting you to take out a client for a coffee and a cake would be rather insensitive. By telling them beforehand, you can avoid later awkwardness.
Organize your tasks: For those who do more labor-intensive tasks, you may want to agree that other people give you assistance while you’re fasting. An understanding team will appreciate and support you as much as they can. In an office environment, you might want to re-organize your day so that you approach tasks that require extra thought, attentiveness or focus in the morning, or whenever you feel top form.
Break up your day: It’s very easy to get stuck in work and find yourself managing multiple things at once. It’s not always as easy to realize you need a short break. Although it’s common that Muslims work through lunches for shorter working days, we all need short breaks away from our screens or desks to recharge. This might need trial and error and again, open communication with your manager to see how this works best. But going out for some fresh air and taking 5-10mins out of your busy schedule once or twice a day can save you from using up your energy.
Get good sleep: We can’t stress it enough. Sleep is very important, and even more so when you’ve had less food fuel to keep you going. Ensuring that you don’t stay up too late, get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep, and promote a healthy sleep routine will do you favors for your next day, and the day after that. Running around without sleep or food is a recipe for a disaster when it comes to your wellbeing. This might mean you need to take a mid-day nap. Even if it’s something you don’t usually do, listening to your body is important.
Feast healthy: It’s easier said than done to remember to eat healthier foods when you’ve been hungry for a while and it’s finally time to feast. Remember that what you eat can make you even more sluggish and tired, especially if you overeat. Take it at a pace that suits you, or you might find yourself falling asleep before your morning meeting.
Look after your health: Your overall health is important to keep you functioning well. Sometimes health conditions creep up on us, we notice we don’t feel as healthy as we normally do, or someone notices that you’re not quite yourself. During Ramadan, it might be more worrisome to make healthcare appointments. It’s possible that you will be concerned if they suggest you stop fasting or need to supply you medicine that will break your fast early. Please remember that life in good health is not reversible.
Whether you’re a hirer, a Manager, a friend or neighbour, appreciating that people follow traditions to make them feel closer to their faith costs us nothing but being human and supportive. We hope this Ramadan brings blessings to all those who observe it, while also keeping them strong and healthy too.
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