Ramadan is a month filled with joy, family time, and precious moments to reflect on non-materialistic things for Muslims across the world. While people such as the sick, children, the elderly, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and women menstruating etc. are exempted from fasting, an often overlooked issue is how alienating this month can be for those who are unable to fast due to other causes.
School, work, and other commitments may prevent some from meeting the goals they intended to, and seeing others’ success in these areas can be discouraging at times. We all want to make the most of this month, but when we encounter certain issues, we can feel very alienated from everyone and the sense of community around us. Here are some tips to feel a little less alone, and maximize the impact of this blessed month regardless of your personal circumstances:
1. Set your own goals.
It is important to not compare yourself to others and their goals. We all have a different journey with religion, thus it is impractical to think we can be exactly like somebody else. Instead, it’s important to evaluate yourself and your own goals. Just because we are nearly halfway into Ramadan does not mean more or new goals cannot be set. It can be beneficial to write down goals and check them off as you accomplish them. Rather than setting large goals, break down what needs to be done each week to achieve your goals toward the end of the month.
2. Setbacks are normal, don’t beat yourself up for it.
We might not be able to achieve our goals on time, but when our intentions are right, it goes a long way and will not go unnoticed. Rather than getting upset about setbacks, let those setbacks drive you to achieve more of your other goals.
3. Cut back on social media.
This one is a hard one even for myself, but the truth is, social media can often hinder our long term goals during Ramadan. If you cannot completely cut back, continue to check your screen time and try to regulate the amount of time spent on each app. With that being said, phones can be a great resource while traveling as well — it doesn’t necessarily have to mean that they are there for negative uses. The Books app on the iPhone has been a personal favourite of mine because I can read books on the go, which have helped me during commuting to cut back on music and read instead. There are other apps catered to Muslims available for downloading as well (ie, several Quran apps where you can read on the go and/or listen to the Quran).
4. Make a schedule.
This is beneficial for those like myself who are in school even during the summer. Divide your time between school work and also towards achieving your goals in Ramadan — this way you’re setting your intentions for both, and sticking to a schedule can help you keep your goals on track in both academics and spirituality.
5. Tidy up.
Having a clean and tidy space where you spend most of your day can help create the right atmosphere when you’re home. Tidying up, turning on an aroma diffuser, and making a prayer corner in your home can help you greatly as well.
6. Treat yourself.
Especially at iftar or suhoor with your favourite meal once in a while — this month is not a punishment, rather a month to grow closer to God and to achieve your goals, which are all big accomplishments. Be proud of them!
Remember this journey is yours, it is incomparable to those around you. May this month be beneficial for us all.