The holy month of Ramadan is essential to people globally belonging to the Islamic faith.
The month represents the fourth pillar of Islam and entails ‘Sawm’ (fasting).
Over 1.8 billion Muslims dedicate their time to giving thanks and being grateful to Allah (SWT). Muslims use this time to help the community by spending time, providing care, and charity to people they love.
In the Islamic calendar, Ramadan falls on the ninth month. It’s the sacred month of the Islamic year. During this time, Muslims fast and pray the entire day, breaking their fast in the evening.
All Muslims should fast during this holy month. But there are exceptions for a specific group of people. They include:
- Pregnant women
- Menstruating women
- Women who have young ones and are breastfeeding
- And the sick
Carers are able-bodied and don’t fall into this category. Like other Muslims, they should fast and still give care to people in their homes. The work caregivers do is demanding and impacts physical health. Carers need to find the strength to continue every day.
At the beginning of the holy month, most people are enthusiastic and optimistic about the fast ahead. But as the week progresses, the spirit may dwindle.
Here are the best tips caregivers can use this coming Ramadan.
1. Set Time for Oneself
The nature of caregivers is to offer homecare to the people they look after. It means performing duties that the elderly and sickly people can no longer perform. Organising your time will ensure you find time for yourself before caring for the people you help and support to meet their daily obligations.
Wake up at least 30-45 minutes before waking others to eat ‘sahur’ can make a big difference. You can use this time to reflect peacefully and plan for the day ahead.
2. Mind Your Eating Habits
Sahur and iftar mark the beginning and breaking of the fast. The food you eat in the morning should be sufficient to last you through the day. It doesn’t mean that you should overeat, as this will make you sluggish and slow through the day.
Iftar comes at the end of the day, and people may overcompensate by overfeeding. Eat something light at the start to break the fast.
3. Be Patient
Islamic teachings encourage Muslims to be patient during the holy month. All Muslims should practise ‘Sabr’ even though it’s a challenging virtue to hold. It’s important to build our patience and tolerance in the holy month.
Our caregivers are professionals, but they are also humans. Sometimes all you need is a reminder not to take matters too personally. Try to maintain ‘sawm’ and keep the day holy. Reach out to your supervisor, office or manager if you need support, we are always available to you.
4. Plan the Meals
Plan the meals and prepare them ahead of time. Having a fixed meal plan during Ramadan will help you break the fast on time. You can prepare the food in advance and keep it refrigerated.
Reheating the food for ‘sahur’ and “iftar” consumes less time, and this allows you to squeeze in some time for rest and prayer.
Finding ways to keep order during Ramadan is beneficial to everybody..
5. Healthy Meals
During Ramadan, many food bazaars offer all kinds of foods and drinks for Muslims to break their fast. These foods satisfy immediate cravings but may fail to add value to your body. Most foods have high-fat content and sugar which may leave you feeling lethargic.
Homemade meals are also a way of caring for loved ones. Prepare them meals that offer energy to sustain you through the day without feeling like lapsing and braking fast mid-way.
Foods like bananas, dates, nuts, brown rice and dried raisins help replenish the body. A balanced meal comprises proteins, carbohydrates, and fruits. You should also include in your diet some low-calorie meals. These include almonds, cashews, and walnuts.
Consider foods with sugars that your body absorbs slowly to avoid a sugar rush. Change your Ramadan menu and show your loved ones that you care for their health and well-being.
During Ramadan you may experience some higher temperatures if we are all lucky enough. When the temperatures are high, our body loses fluids through sweat. Losing too much water from our bodies can cause dizziness or fainting.
Hydrating well during meals ensures that we can breeze through the day with the energy to care for others. The choice of fluids to consume also matters. You can drink milk, juice, or soup and feel satisfied. But it’s encouraged to drink water.
7. Engaging the Mind and Body
It might be tempting to engage in activities that require physical strength during Ramadan. You can engage your mind and keep your physical strength by diversifying the activities.
To keep the body active, you can indulge in stretching exercises that won’t leave you tired after the workout. Mind games like crosswords and puzzles are good for seniors to create fun moments with their caregivers.
Alternatively, you can venture into creative pastimes through activities like painting or moulding.
8. Managing Withdrawal from Caffeine
Many people across the world drink coffee in the morning. It’s easy to become a heavy coffee drinker. During Ramadan, you should be content with taking coffee in the morning and evening only. The heavy drop in caffeine consumption affects many people.
Withdrawal symptoms from caffeine can be mild or extreme to others. Symptoms may include lethargy and headaches throughout the day. Coffee encourages fluid loss, so it’s advisable to avoid it in the morning.
But change shouldn’t be instant but gradual. Self-care means planning and trying to avoid coffee in the morning in the months leading up to Ramadan. Limiting caffeine consumption and fasting won’t seem like an obligation but a necessity to feed your spiritual wellness.
Alternative drinks include home-blend smoothies and juices that replenish your body with vital vitamins.
Ramadan is a demanding time for every Muslim. But as you prepare to care for others, remember to embrace self-care and practise the above tips to avoid stressing your mind and body.
Let’s all care for one another and make it easy for the people we love and care for to get closer to Allah.