Ramadan 2016

Are you ready for the holy month of Ramadan?

In less than a week, the holy month of Ramadan will start. Muslims will bring daily sacrifices by fasting and will be rehearsing the Koran. It’s a time where friends and family come together. Regardless of their religions, Iftar meals are enjoyed throughout the country. The holy month is also a time for reflection which we so often neglect. This special month can also be a very busy one.

How can you prepare for Ramadan 2016?

Start this week to reduce your coffee. A number of my Muslim friends and colleagues said giving up coffee is the hardest thing. Some of them have no issues seeing someone else eat and drink in front of them, however, the smell… It’s too much! As a Muslim, preparing to fast next week, gradually reduce the number of cups you’re consuming this week. Caffeine is a diuretic and can dehydrate you a lot. When you’re fasting, you don’t want to experience dehydration! A word for my non-Muslim readers, please be considerate and don’t drink any coffee in front of your Muslim friends and colleagues.

Control your binge eating. Iftar meals are a wonderful event which joins people regardless of their religious beliefs. The buffets are filled with an abundance of delicious foods and sweets (my favourite as my hips will attest to!). It’s sometimes hard to resist going for another serving. After breaking your fast, eating as much as you want may sound great. Your body will need to prepare for the fast and changed eating habit during the holy month. Binge eating will prevent your body from getting into the routine of working with a lower calorie intake.

Make healthy food choices. Your body needs energy throughout the day. Complex carbohydrates help you release this energy slow during the day and can be found in grains and seeds (e.g. lentils, oats and basmati rice). Fibre-rich foods like green beans, fruits and cereals have the same effect. Avoid the fatty, fried and sugary foods (e.g. samosas, ghulab or parathas as well as soft drinks) as they release the energy quickly and you may experience a sugar crash.

On that note, eat breakfast if you’re fasting. Get up early to fuel your body for the following 15 hours of fasting.

Plan your Iftar meals. A number of companies are arranging Iftar meals for their employees and/or for their clients and business partners. Some business associations are holding Iftar meals for their members to network. It’s a great way of combining eating delicious foods with getting to know a new potential customer or business partner. Get these meals on your calendar to not lose track. Pencilling them in avoids being overbooked or having to rush from one meal to another.

Budget for your Iftar meals. Going out for Iftar meals or preparing these special meals at home can leave a strain on your budget. Review your current expenses and if not already budgeted for this seasonal expense, check where you can reduce your expenditure. This way, you won’t overspend and stay within your budget.

Continue your exercise regime during Ramadan. Fasting doesn’t mean giving up your exercise routine altogether. Depending on your current routine, you may simply tone it down a bit. Ideal times for exercising is just before Iftar and 2 hours after Iftar. Yoga is a fantastic sport training not only your body but also strengthening your mental fitness.

Make time to reflect. Look at your stationary and choose a journal to write down your reflections. If you don’t have a spare note book at home, get one before Ramadan starts. Similar to keeping a grateful journal, set time aside for your reflection.

Plan your Eid celebrations. If you are going to travel abroad, book your tickets early to avoid unavailability of seats. If you’re staying here, decide with your family how you’re going to celebrate. What ingredients can you buy ahead? Check out for specials in your supermarket. What gifts are you planning on giving to your family and friends? Can you get them in advance rather than last minute? What are you going to wear? Look out for that new outfit when you’re out shopping.

What are you going to do this week to prepare for Ramadan? Are there any last minute activities you want to pursue before Ramadan starts? What are you most looking forward to? I’m excited about this holy month to start next week and am looking forward to spending more time to reflect. Share with us what you’re doing to prepare for Ramadan 2016.

Until next time,

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