Are you nervous about Ramadan this year? Here's how to prepare yourself

Spirituality

Source: Getty Images/Bibica

“Ramadan is in two weeks!”

“Yeah ... that’s awesome ... I guess”

“You don’t sound too excited...”

“Can I be honest with you?”

“Sure!”

“I’m nervous about Ramadan this year...”

“Nervous? How come?”

“I don’t know ... it’s going to be tough. Summer Ramadan ... fasting for so long, late-night prayers, and I have a big project at work this summer that I need to be at my best for ... oh, and there’s family stuff I need to be involved in ... it’s going to be hard!”

This conversation could be between two friends, but it could also be between the two sides of ourselves, the spiritual side and the physical/logical side.

The spiritual side is excited about Ramadan and wants to make the most out of it. This side looks forward to getting closer to God through fasting, charity, extra prayers and recitation of the Quran.

The physical/logical side finds Ramadan nerve-wracking. It’s trying to logically calculate how it’s going to survive the month with less energy, sleep, and focus. It dreads Ramadan.

Last week, I sent a survey to my online community at ProductiveMuslim.com asking them if they were nervous about Ramadan. Out of the 1800+ people who responded, 90 per cent of them said yes! When I probed further and asked why, the no.1 response was the fear of not being able to balance work, family and spiritual development.

I realized that people aren’t nervous about Ramadan because of Ramadan itself; they are worried because they can’t be the best version of themselves and balance work, family and spirituality. They almost feel that they need to give up something during Ramadan and feel out of balance, and that’s hard for them to accept. They also feel a lack of control during Ramadan (everything from sleep to food to work going out of whack).

How do you tackle this nervousness? How do you calm the legitimate fears of our physical/logical side and not let those ruin the pure excitement about Ramadan?

We need to tackle this on two fronts:

  1. A Shift in Mindset: We need to get rid of the notion that Ramadan is a ‘race’ that needs to be jam-packed with spiritual and community to-dos and think of it as more of an opportunity for every individual to reflect on where they are (spiritually, physically, socially) and where they need to go, selecting two or three areas of self-development they want to focus on.
  1. Developing Practical Strategies: In addition to the mindset shift, we also need to develop practical strategies to tackle the Ramadan challenges. This includes figuring out our sleep hours, nap hours, the type of food we’ll eat that will give us sustained energy, how to cut down on caffeine so that we don’t get those ‘Ramadan headaches’, etc. The more we preplan our Ramadan, the less nervous we’ll be.

Ramadan is the month of mercy, goodness, and blessing. It shouldn’t be the month of stress and nervousness. Embrace it with the mindset of self-development and prepare for it the way you prepare for any significant journey in your life, and it’ll be a much smoother ride.

Mohammed Faris is an international coach, author, and speaker who helps executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs rebalance their lives spiritually, physically and socially to achieve peak performance and live meaningful lives. He’s the founder of ProductiveMuslim.com and author of The Productive Muslim: Where Faith Meets Productivity.

(Writing by Mohammed Faris; Editing by Seban Scaria seban.scaria@thomsonreuters.com)

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