You had the best of intentions for Ramadan. And now, you find yourselves overwhelmed with responsibility. Work. School. Childcare. It’s all become a bit too much. You find yourself walking around like a zombie, too stressed and exhausted to do anything beyond collapsing in bed.
Ramadan, you say? What Ramadan? And when will it end? Because you want off that hamster wheel. Yesterday!
How can we make the most of Ramadan, and enjoy the blessings of this month, while keeping up with work and other responsibilities? Can we avoid burnout and resentment?
Follow my seven tips and see if they make a difference!
1. Set your intentions.
We know that God rewards by intentions. Even if we can’t achieve what we set out to do, we’ll still be rewarded for our intentions. In fact, we’ll be rewarded as if we followed through and performed the acts we intended. So start with great intentions! Make the intention to please God, to serve God, to worship Him. And God will help you achieve it, even if it’s in ways you do not expect or imagine.
2. Build on the good you’re already doing.
We often talk about doing extra in Ramadan. But that can overwhelm us. We think we’re going to read the Quran from cover to cover, and then find out a few days in that we’re already behind. And we feel like throwing in the towel.
But rather than additional deeds, focus on enhancing what you’re already doing. So if you can’t pray extra prayers, but you’re already doing your obligatory prayers, start with that. Maybe you can commit to praying on time. Or you could slow down and focus more on what you’re saying and doing.
And if you’re already engaging in remembrance of God after your prayers, why not read a few verses of the Quran in English or Arabic for ten minutes right then and there. And then when you have more time, you can extend your reading time to fifteen minutes. Start with the good you’re already doing and improve on it and enlarge it.
3. Find time for God in your daily routine.
God is with you whatever you do. So find time for God no matter what you’re doing. Waiting for a meeting to start? Pick up a book and read something spiritually beneficial. Watch five minutes of a lecture. In the car, waiting for your son to emerge from school? Close your eyes and supplicate to God. Even small acts are rewarded, like remembering God, praising God, thanking God and raising our hands to beseech God. Let’s not underestimate the value of small deeds.
4. Avoid comparing yourself to others.
Everyone is different, and everyone’s situation is different. You may hear that your friend is praying twenty cycles of prayer every night in Ramadan and you may feel guilty that you can barely stay awake past nine pm. But that goal may just not be the best for you. If you’re working twelve hour shifts with hard physical labour, you can’t compare yourself to someone who can take days off. If you’re a mother, maybe you have a child who needs to be held. Someone else might have a baby who can entertain herself. Comparing yourself to others is unfair, and will rob you of the joys of Ramadan.
5. Unnecessary things can wait.
Postpone that appointment or meeting. You don’t have to cook every day or decorate your home. Remove things from your to-do list or delay them till later. That way, you can dedicate whatever time you have to worship.
6. Your daily responsibilities are a form of worship.
If you are using your skills and talents to make this world a better place in whatever small way you can, that is worthy in the sight of God. If you’ve got young children, remember that they wouldn’t be able to survive without you. God has given you the responsibility to take care of them, to help them grow and thrive. This is a noble and good task in the sight of God. It’s a form of worship! So don’t feel discouraged by your everyday responsibilities. Seek God’s pleasure in performing them and do them with excellence and pride.
7. Ask for God’s help.
Turn to God. Ask Him to ease your way forward, to help you to fulfil your responsibilities and complete your work properly. Ask Him to give you the gift of time, to help you spend your time in the best of ways. Ask Him to accept your work as a good deed and use it as a means to draw closer to Him.
Those are my seven tips! I hope you find them helpful. May God shield you from stress and burnout this Ramadan and make it a spiritually uplifting experience for you. May you find peace and feel enveloped in God’s Mercy and Love always.