Has the high worn off yet? The spiritual high of Ramadan that is.
Let me guess, you waited all year for Ramadan to come around so you could get your spirit right, and just like that it was over in a flash. I’m going to also go out on a limb and guess that now you’re trying to promise yourself you’ll keep up all the good work you’ve done, while in the back of your head you know you’ll have to wait until the next Ramadan to do better?
If that’s you, then I know exactly how it feels. At some point in the year, the previous Ramadan and all the promises you made fade away like a dream. That’s part of what makes the holy month so special right?
But the feats we accomplish and the lessons we learn are too precious to turn our backs on. Whatever your experience is during the fasting month, if you’ve felt the light of Ramadan and want to keep it shining, or you want to use this as a benchmark for a better you, here’s how.
Reflecting On Ramadan’s Past
It’s been over a week since Ramadan ended. We may be getting back into our normal routines, but before we get too far along, now is the time to reflect on how the month transpired for you. Not only can this act as a personal send-off for the holy month, but it will also make what you take away more concrete and memorable.
When we reflect on Ramadan’s past, consider these questions:
- What was different during Ramadan?
- What brought me joy?
- What brought me closer to my faith?
- What were the challenges I faced? How did I overcome them?
- How did I prepare for the month?
- What could I have done better?
Using a pen and paper to take notes as you think will help you put words to feelings and even dig up some things you weren’t aware of. Clarity is essential before we can even get into intention or action. Focus on what is important to you. There’s no point in beating yourself up over expectations that don’t align with your needs, circumstances, or goals.
Getting Your Motivation Right
There’s a reason why Ramadan makes it easier to start and maintain healthier habits and mindsets. The expectations are clear ahead of time. You know what’s going to go down, and you have time to prepare. Everyone’s in this together, your family, friends, and Muslims all over the world. Not to mention, everyone is also doing their best to adjust their schedules and lifestyles to accommodate during the month. With that said, does that mean it ends there? It doesn’t have to. Use the motivations of Ramadan to your advantage to keep the spirit of Ramadan alive all year round.
Motivation is a lot simpler than we realize. If we like doing something, if it makes us feel good, then we’ll do it, even if it’s not what’s best for us. If something is easy to do, if it’s convenient, if it doesn’t need much effort, we’re more likely to do it right? You can see how true this is in any aspect of your life, like school, work, entertainment, and even friendships. Understanding how motivation works for you is a must if you want to keep yourself from getting stuck in a rut.
Make things easy for yourself, make them fun. Give yourself the chance to learn about and practice the positive changes you want to make. Give yourself the chance to make them your own!
Set your intentions and then create your game plan. It should be realistic, and it should work with your life! Planning out the steps you need to take means you’re less likely to get overwhelmed by an overbearing feeling of what you “should” be doing.
Be sure to prepare. Whatever you do, you want to be setting yourself up for success. Simple steps, like pre-downloading books, favoriting podcast episodes, or compiling screenshots of dua into a dedicated album, can make a world of difference that your future self will thank you for.
Once you start, check in with yourself on the progress you’ve made. Is your plan working? Are you on the right track? Is there something you want to adjust?
As long as you want to make a change, you’re already half-way there.
The act of fasting is the central focus of Ramadan and it is an act that can put us in a different physical, mental, and spiritual state. Many people consider it a reset. From proven health advantages to mental clarity, to spiritual cleansing, there are many reasons why so many of us cherish the opportunity our faith gives us in prescribing we fast for the duration of a month.
Fasting throughout the year can bring great benefits, if you are able and well enough to do so. If you aren’t able to fast from food, use the spirit of fasting to mentally detox and gain some perspective. Think about the things in your life you assume you can’t live without, whether it’s social media, or spending on things you don’t need, or even vulgar language: challenge yourself to abstain from them and see what you can learn.
If it’s safe enough for you to physically fast, then set your intentions early and make sure to prepare. Do it alone, or do it with friends or family. Decide what it is that you’ll look forward to if you accomplish the fast. Prepare by making sure you’re nourished and hydrated the day before you fast. While you may find it more difficult to fast any other time, just remember that if you can do it during Ramadan, you can do it period. Keep your momentum by building trust and confidence in yourself through accomplishment.
Another way to channel that Ramadan energy is to learn more about intuitive eating. With all the iftar gatherings and incredible food it’s no wonder we got caught up in indulgence once the sun sets. After Ramadan is still a good time to continue being mindful about what we eat and how we eat, and it’s something we can do alongside our everyday routines. Intuitive eating challenges you to learn about your own body’s rhythms and needs, that way you can make lifestyle choices that support you in the best way possible, while considering all the things you don’t need.
Persistence, Not Perfection
Holidays, festivals, and days of observance can be points in the year that inspire an extra surge of energy and passion. You’ll notice that every faith has fasting as a part of their practice. Allowing yourself to be conscious of this reality can keep the inspiration and reflection going.
Don’t forget that you’re not alone in this. Reaching out to others may be a great way to spread goodwill and get farther together. Those friends or family who were isolated, or going through hardships during ramadan, their hardships may not end once Eid hits. Check up on them, plan days to have dinner together, find ways to connect. This is where prioritizing your time comes into play – if you could make time for it during Ramadan, see what you can do throughout the year.
If we were meant to become perfect during Ramadan, we’d only ever experience one Ramadan, but that’s not the case. Human beings forget, and struggle, but we also never stop learning. There’s no such thing as taking steps back, every experience you have is moving you forward in one way or another.
READ MORE: What Celebrating Eid Under Quarantine Looks Like