[Iqra Dahir Abdi | Contributing Writer]
Fasting requires you to stop eating for well over 13 hours. It would be silly to assume that your stomach would be the only thing affected during this time. The mind plays a big role when fasting. I believe the mind can be trained and thus make Ramadan easier for yourself.
1) Stay hydrated
Anyone who has ever fasted knows the headache that can happen as a result of dehydration. It’s especially important when Ramadan falls on the hotter and longer days. Make the last thing you drink a glass of water, the more the better, but you’ll live with one. Doing this will not only make the headache go away, but will ensure that you remain hydrated and healthy throughout Ramadan.
2) Lie to yourself and be honest with yourself
If you are feeling the aching pains of a hungry stomach be honest with yourself. Feelings are a very real thing for the brain and ignoring these hunger pains will do nothing. Accept that they are there, but lie to yourself. Tell yourself that you don’t have long left, even if you have seven hours. Convince yourself that you’ve got this and that the pain will pass. By doing this you calm yourself, your mind and your hunger pains.
3) See every day as a single day rather than a month
No one is good at starving themselves, granted some have better discipline, but hunger is hunger. If you struggle, accept that you do, but tell yourself that tomorrow you will be better. Don’t say that you have 28 days left, but rather that you have completed two. You need to be your biggest fan, remind yourself that even the best had and need practice. Taking every day as a single day means that tomorrow is a new one therefore, improvements can be made.
4) Plan what you will eat when you’re breaking your fast, then eat it.
Thinking about food isn’t a crime. You are human and a hungry human at that. You tend to crave things that you may not even like when you are fasting; regardless, eat them. I dislike custard, but if I crave it, I will eat it when I break my fast to remind myself that I dislike it. Otherwise, you go into the next fast craving custard when you could have been over it already.
5) Take advantage of sunset like you would sunrise
This is the time when you can eat possibly anything. However, eat and do what you usually would. If you’re an avid tea drinker, drink tea. If you’re a health freak, work out. If you’re a lazy pig, laze around. Doing what you would normally do makes you feel like you’re not missing out. So, when you go into work the next morning and your co-workers are drinking tea, you won’t mind because you’ve already had yours.
6) Keep yourself engaged
The good old saying ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ applies here. If you spend all day thinking about how hungry you are, chances are it will be the longest fast of your life. Plan things to do, such as finding a dissertation question, research something you like, or watch something. Not only will you feel like you’ve accomplished a fast, but it will feel pretty easy.
7) Stay committed
Fasting is all about discipline. A slip in discipline elsewhere can have its toll on your fast. Commit to something, other than fasting of course. It could be as easy as an hour of work a day, every day. The work you do in this time period may change, stay the same or become longer. The important things is doing something in the hour. Being disciplined with this will in turn reflect on your discipline when fasting. What you are doing is creating a Ramadan routine and boy does our brain and body love these.
Ramadan is the perfect time to reflect. Did you want to be somewhere, but just haven’t made it? What changes could you make to be a better you? What does a better you look like? What are you hopes and fears? What can you be grateful for? Literally anything can be reflected on. Make being honest with yourself part of your Ramadan routine too.
9) Share your reflections
More often than not people are scared to be great. We have made being great so unattainable that we think it’s almost obnoxious to think we can be. Anyone can be great, it is within a reachable limit. Share your reflections with others, get support and clarifications for your ideas and break free from your fears. You’re scared people will laugh? You can never be great if some people aren’t laughing!
10) Acknowledge change
Change can be bad and it can be good. Either way acknowledging this will help you help yourself. If fasting has gotten easier for you by the tenth day, acknowledge it and reward yourself. If your discipline has increased, give yourself a pat on the back. If your discipline was not that great today, acknowledge it, see where you went wrong then correct it.
Ramadan is a time to practice being a better you. You practice for 30 days and eventually it becomes a habit. The tips mentioned will help you be a better you, fasting or not!
If you’ve got any tips for Ramadan share them with us in the comments below or on Twitter @TridentMediaUK!