Ramadan is an important time to strengthen our relationship with God. For many of us it is also a time to connect with our families, friends and neighbours as we come together to break bread at iftar and pray tarawih in the mosque. However, managing our responsibilities with less energy and usually less sleep can be challenging for many, particularly for those already struggling after a difficult few years through the Covid-19 pandemic. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and it’s important to take care of your mental wellbeing in order to fully benefit from the blessed month.
For those living in countries where social distancing measures associated with the Covid-19 pandemic are still in place, Ramadan may once again feel lonely, especially for those living away from their families.
Throughout the pandemic, many of us have seen changes to our health, jobs and education. Some have lost loved ones and may be experiencing their first Ramadan and Eid without them. Millions across the globe have also dealt with conflict, political instability and natural disasters.
After what has been a difficult year for many, here are a few things you can do to look after your mental health and support others this Ramadan.
Share food with your neighbours
Helping and being kind to others can help with our own wellbeing as it creates a sense of purpose and helps to strengthen bonds.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged the sharing of food, saying: “He who breaks another’s fast earns the same reward as the one who fasted, without diminishing the latter’s reward in the slightest,” (Hadith, Tirmidhi).
Muslims are therefore keen to share food with Muslim and non-Muslim neighbours and friends in Ramadan.
Some of us may be able to organise iftar parties or iftar soup kitchens for homeless people this year.
If this is not possible or if it’s too much of a challenge, cook food and send it to your neighbours, particularly for those who may still be shielding amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Stay connected with your loved ones
Technology is a great way of reducing the distance between us and our loved ones. Some of us may not have the time or energy required to socialise this Ramadan, or may be unable do so. It’s a good idea to stay connected to our loved ones through phone and videocalls.
Hearing a friendly, familiar voice, seeing a loved one via video call, or reading a message from those we care about can help us feel more connected. This is a very good way to boost mental health, and especially for those who may be feeling lonely or isolated.
Many of us will also welcome the opportunity to meet and share iftar with loved ones this Ramadan, having been unable to do so over the last few years.
Whether it’s in person or virtually, it’s important to stay connected to those closest to us during this blessed month, while also knowing our limitations and not overburdening ourselves.
You are not alone: reach out for support
If you’re suffering with your mental health this Ramadan, it is very easy to feel alone in your sadness and feelings of anxiety. It is important to know that you are not alone, and there is lots of advice and support available. Reaching out to friends and family can be great, but sometimes seeking guidance and support from others can be even more helpful.
There are a lot of services online to help such as advice sessions, prayers and Qur’an readings held by faith leaders worldwide. These can help to create a much-needed sense of community.
You may want to join an online community to talk about your mental health, which can provide a safe place to listen, share and be heard.
Remember Allah can help us
Whatever our challenges may be, it is important to remember that everything is the qadr of Allah and we were never in control. Worrying will not change the situation but take consolation in the fact that Allah can protect us if we reach out to Him.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“…Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allah [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah [alone]. And know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allah had already prescribed against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried,” (Hadith, Tirmidhi).
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