As the next few weeks progress, the special month of Ramadan is something we all want to make the most of. I’ve not been the best in the past in doing this – usually I often struggle to do more than my daily salah and a few pages of the Quran, along wish full-time work and my usual chores at home. I think we were lucky this time around to start Ramadan on a long weekend, which has given us time to get used to the long hours and make the most of the time, as well as get enough sleep!
One of the things I wanted to explore this month is how to make the most of the month and also make it easier for ourselves. I’ve put some goals below, as well as ideas on new things to try. I’d love to see what your goals are for this month too, so please comment below and let me know!
- My sister posted a long list of 200+ food ideas here – so have a look and see if there’s something new to try!
- Looking to eat out? There’s a few food bloggers who have posted places in London which are iftar-friendly, sehri-friendly and offer prayer spaces – you can see a list here and here.
- Make it fun! My sisters and I always send iftar pictures before/while we eat to show what we eat – it gives all of us ideas and also makes the eating side of it more enjoyable. It’s always fun for someone like me, as it’s usually just me and my husband for dinner, so it feels like the whole family is there!
- Reading the Quran – we all know it can be difficult to read the whole Quran in 30 days (I certainly struggle to). I’ve seen a lot of ideas on how to break this down to make it easier for ourselves – one of the ones I really liked was reading 4 pages of the Quran after each salah.
- Set goals for yourself, and keep them realistic. Learn an ayah a week, or look at the English translation of a verse to truly understand what it means. Look at the proper Arabic pronunciation of the words so you can read them properly
- Read the English translation of the Quran . I’m lucky in that I’m a pretty fast reader (in English!) and this would be a good time to learn from the Holy Book, take lessons from them and to reflect.
- Do something different – go to an Islamic talk or lecture, meet with prayer circles, host a gathering to share knowledge – it can feel pretty amazing.
- Do what you can. A lot of people (myself too) feel guilty that we don’t make enough time to pray, whether it’s doing all 20 rakats of the Taraweehs in the evening, reading the whole Quran, or just doing simple dhikr. We are all human, and it is our intentions which count the most.
- Eating well really makes a difference with having energy – look for slow-releasing food for sehri and nutritious food for iftar. Since I’ve been married, my husband and I have cut down on fried food (*sob* samosas!) hugely, and have noticed an equally huge difference – less bloating, our complexions feel clearer and it’s less havoc on our stomachs. We make a point of always having fruit – something like watermelon which is perfect for the heat, and is full of water.
- Try to get enough sleep – easily said if you have work, housework, children (or all three!) but the good thing about the long day is that you can sneak a nap in somewhere!
- Exercise – one of the things I want to carry on doing during Ramadan is exercising. Usually I don’t bother, and feel unfit by the end of the month (although those long evening prayers do help the legs!), but my aim this time around is to do some light exercise – walks before dinner, light exercise on the treadmill, or just simple stretches – it can be done!
Chasing away boredom
- As much as we all try to do as much as possible to pray, read the Quran and go to Islamic talks, sometimes we need a break. So go for a walk. Look for things you wouldn’t normally have time for – art exhibitions, events in London, or just an afternoon with kids in the park for a battery re-charge.
- If you’re anything like me, you use your free time to blog! Try your hand at a hobby, whether it’s blogging like me, or something like photography, drawing, cooking for iftar or just reading a good book.
- One of the things a lot of my friends and sisters who have children are doing are Ramadan-related activies for their children to make it more fun and understandable. I love all of the ideas out there – whether it’s Ramadan calenders, getting children to help them with food preps, Ramadan-themed books and games, or just simply taking them somewhere like the mosque to learn something new.
The one thing I would remind everyone is to take it easy in the month where possible, don’t get too caught up on things like social media (guilty!), getting ready for Eid (also guilty!) or letting yourself get too lazy (although we’re all entitled to have some relaxing me-time!)
I would welcome any more tips any of you have, whatever they are – what will you being doing that is different this Ramadan?