Burnout in Ramadan happens to a lot of us, especially when the month can change up our normal routines and affect our work, school, personal lives and mental and physical health issues.
What can it look like?
For each person, Ramadan burnout can look different, but the common symptoms are:
- Being unable to wake up for suhoor
- Feeling low/irritable all the time
- Rushing your prayers
- Sleeping excessively throughout the day
- Extreme fatigue
- Having difficulty prioritising religious duties
Even though we should all aim to get the best out of Ramadan, it is important to maintain a healthy balance and to remember that Allah didn’t gift us this blessed month to make it hard on us.
“Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period [of Ramadan] and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful.” [QURAN 2:185]
So here are a few tips that might help make it easier for you!
Take Power Naps
Qaylula is a sunnah, which is a nap or a short rest without sleep, typically done in the early to mid-afternoon. Studies have even shown that it’s extremely beneficial for us to have short power naps during the day.
Tip: The trick is to keep it short to avoid the grogginess.
The reason being is that as we sleep, our brain cycles through different stages: Light sleep, to deep sleep and then back to light again.
Napping for a longer period of time may cause us to wake up during the deep stage which causes sleep inertia and lethargy.
Change What You Eat at Suhoor
Try to eat slow-releasing, high energy foods such as oatmeal, beans, spinach etc and avoid the greasy foods. Not only will this keep you full during the day but it will also sustain your energy levels. And the best thing you can do for your body is to not chug down heaps of water before sunrise as it can do more harm than good.
It is actually recommended in the sunnah to sit down and take sips of your water.
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Do not drink water in one breath like a camel. However, drink it in two or three breaths. Say ‘Bismillah’ and when you move the glass, praise Allah (The Exalted) by saying “Alhamdulillah.'” [Tirmidhi]
Remember, iftaar and suhoor are not about having the most extravagant feasts. Let’s remember to be mindful, not only of what we’re consuming but also of how much time we are taking up preparing meals when we could be utilising that time elsewhere.
Take Your Time
Whether you’ve just come home from the night shift or have had back to back exams, it’s an immense challenge when other priorities get in the way of our religious duties. And we may even find ourselves struggling to keep our eyes open while praying Taraweeh. This can lead to a downward spiral where a burnout phase will leave a lasting impact on our physical and mental health.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “If anyone of you becomes drowsy whilst he is praying, let him sleep until he is refreshed, because if any one of you prays whilst he is drowsy he may not understand what he is saying and he may to pray for forgiveness but may insult himself by mistake instead.” [Muslim]
It is also worth mentioning that it is better for us to eat our food before we pray as the Prophet (PBUH) also said:
“If dinner is presented close to the time of prayer, begin eating before you perform the sunset prayer and do not rush away from your dinner.” [Bukhari]
Can’t Do an Optional Act? Replace it!
Night prayers such as Taraweeh, can be a struggle for some to do for a number of reasons, but there are countless things we can do to gain rewards in other ways such as giving food to neighbours or donating to a food bank.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “If you cook broth, increase the amount of liquid in it and give some to your neighbours.” [Muslim]
Other things you can also do:
- Be a helping hand wherever you are
- Listen to the Quran instead of music
- Do the daily Adhkar (remembrance of Allah)
Ramadan shouldn’t be a time where we only carry these acts with us until the end of the month; it should spark something within us where those small, consistent acts snowball into long-term habits we can keep with us forever.
And Finally, Remember Why We’re Doing This
Ramadan can be challenging in a lot of ways for all of us, but it is in those struggles where we find Allah to be our best refuge, away from all the commotion of our daily lives. It is a month for us to be more acquainted with the Most High in whatever way we can.
And remember that the solution to finding that solace amidst our struggles is right in front of us. It’s all just a sujood away.