Food For Thought: 4 Ways to Stay Mentally Healthy During Ramadan

It is that time of the year once more. Where you do not eat, nor drink, from dawn till dusk. Sounds like it can be called the Hunger Games, no? But actually, it is called Ramadan.

For those of you who do not know, Ramadan is a month long religious custom that Muslims partake in every year (those who are of age and are physically & mentally capable that is). It involves fasting from dawn till dusk. Not just from food and water mind you, but also from acts of anger and insulting others. It is a time that is meant to help enhance one’s spirituality, and by proxy their mental health. However, there are common actions that people take that can make Ramadan detrimental to their health. So, to help overcome those actions, here are some awesome tips from our Community Champion, Alaaddin:

1) Don't devour everything when you break your fast like the Sarlaac from Star Wars.

During Ramadan, the majority of foods prepared are heavy in simple sugars and processed fats. Eating a lot of those makes you feel lethargic, and could make you more prone to mood swings. Instead, aim to include fruits and vegetables in your meals, and be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

2) Don’t develop the sleeping habit of a rockstar.

You may think it is a good idea to stay up all the way till dawn and then sleep for a few hours, or to sleep as late as possible and then wake up for dusk, but both of those will throw off your sleep cycle. Instead, sleep your regular hours, while waking up before dawn to eat. Of course, if you want to push your bed time a bit ahead to get in some extra good deeds, you can definitely do so. Just make sure that you are not doing something that is beyond your limits Also, throw in some nap time in between your day, in order to get an energy boost.

3) Remember that you are not alone in this.

During Ramadan, eating disorders can become exasperated. Since everyone else seems not to be eating, certain individuals could be triggered to engage in avoiding food. If that is the case for you, remember that you are not alone in this. There are others dealing with the same issue. If you are dealing with an eating disorder, but still wish to fast, be sure to talk to a friend or loved one about it. Let them know how you are feeling, and asking them to check up on you when it is time to break your fast. Also, talk with your physician and see if they think that fasting would impact your mental/physical health in a negative way. Remember, fasting is for those individuals who are well. Both physically and mentally.

4) Avoid competing with other people in terms of what they do.

Ramadan is usually the time when your Facebook status feed is filled with “OMG! Taraweeh (specific nightly prayers that happen during Ramadan) are so amazing. Even though I have finals, I just have to go” and “Just finished reading the whole Quran! Now to finish up my projects”, or something along those lines. Sure, Ramadan is a great time to do good deeds. But everyone is to act according to their capabilities. If you feel really stressed in terms of studying, or maybe you dislike the large crowds, just pray Taraweeh at home. If you really want to read the Quran, but just cannot find the time to read the longer chapters, just read the shorter ones. Remember, even seemingly “non-worship” acts can be considered worship depending on your intention. Just focus on having the best of intentions, and act according to your abilities.

That is all I have you awesome folks. And remember: Ramadan’s start means Eid Al Fitr (an event that marks the end of Ramadan) is just around the corner! #gettoballoutofcontrol #andgetthatEidmoney #ballerstatus 

P.S. Ramadan Kareem :)

- Alaadin Sidahmed


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