This year's Holy Month of Ramadan is quickly approaching and due to start this evening (Thursday 23 April 2020) and will continue for 30 days, ending on the evening of Saturday 23 May 2020. The Eid al-Fitr celebration marks the end of Ramadan. During Ramadan, many Muslims will observe the dawn to dusk fasting. It a very important period in the Muslim calendar with a key message encouraging those who fast to think of the less privileged who are often without food.
Whilst there is no longer anymore face-to-face teaching, and the majority of exams have turned into alternative assessments, it is still important that staff and students know how to look after themselves and one another as many of us will be working or studying during this period.
We’ve developed some tips and reminders for staff and students on how to make the most of Ramadan whilst working or studying, and how to best look after themselves.
A reminder first and foremost:
With the right intention, studying / working can be a form of worship
Don’t be disheartened if you find you’re devoting more time to work or study during this holy month. If you set out to study with the right intentions, you will be rewarded. Below are some intention ideas to think about when revising.
Plan, plan, plan!
As your sleeping schedule changes, you’ll need to change your study schedule to get the most out of your time. Try and develop a plan and stick to it. For example, you might find that you study best after you’ve just eaten suhur – try studying for a few hours then and sleeping after that. You might find you study best rather after you’ve just woken up. Regardless, find a way that works for you.
That being said…
Make sure your sleeping pattern is okay
You’re likely to be staying up late and getting up early so your schedule will be jumbled up. Because of this, you may want to use the daylight hours to catch up on sleep. It’s important to ensure you’re properly rested – not only for the sake of your grades, but for your well-being. If you have an exam coming up, it’s likely you’ll need to tweak your sleeping pattern to ensure you’re well rested – and don’t risk sleeping in and missing it or being exhausted during the exam!
During Ramadan, it’s worth considering alternative ways of revising. During the day, you’ll potentially struggle to have the mental discipline to sit and read through a textbook or lengthy, academically rigorous journals or essays, so try and come up with revision techniques which are quicker and easier to absorb. Visual revision techniques such as flash cards or posters will be easier to focus on and memorize while you’re fasting.
Take Frequent Breaks
Nobody can efficiently revise for hours at a time, so expecting to be able to do so during Ramadan just isn’t feasible. Break up your revision with frequent breaks that help to take your mind off how hungry you are. Don’t just sit at your desk either, stretch your legs and take some time completely away from books and your computer screen. Not only will you feel better, but the change of scenery will also help time feel like it’s going quicker.
splashing your face with cool water to revitalise or have a shower to make you feel fresh and ready to work. As you wash before prayer, you may find this wakes you up and gives you the strength to keep studying.
Try Studying with Friends!
Coping with the challenges of revising during Ramadan can be made much, much easier if you have a friend or two to team up with. Form a study group, chat to each other regularly about how your studies are going and help provide each other with the motivation and support that can make all the difference as you prepare for each exam.
Eat lots of healthy food!
It can be tempting to gorge on lots of fatty, stodgy, fried foods once you reach iftar as, after being hungry all day, you’re starving and craving filling, unhealthy foods. But if you give in to the cravings, you’re likely to end up feeling lethargic – not exactly optimum for studying!
Especially for suhoor, you should try and incorporate as many ‘brain foods’ into your diet as possible. Think: avocado, dark chocolate, eggs, walnuts, bananas and almonds. These will improve your focus and help you retain information as you study.
If you’re studying after iftar or Taraweeh (extra night prayers performed only during Ramadan), drink lots of water. Hydration is so good for your brain and will help you feel well and ready for your studies. In fact, it’s important to drink as much water as possible during sundown to prepare your body for the day ahead.