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Ramadan is an emotionally charged, challenging, and immensely rewarding experience that engages your mind, body and soul to be at it’s very best for an entire month. As such, it’s a test of endurance for everyone who celebrates it. However, for busy professionals balancing a difficult work schedule and limited free time, it can be especially difficult.

Luckily, there are things you can do to make Ramadan an easier experience while you manage your hectic schedule. If you’re fasting as a professional for the first time, you may be looking for some guidance on how to achieve the organization and stamina needed to make it through the month, especially if you’re living without the comfort of home cooked meals or family get togethers for the first time.

This blog post offers 5 tips on how to survive and thrive during your Ramadan if you are a busy professional living alone or far from family. We will discuss different strategies, habits, and products that will help you stay fueled, energized, and focused for this all-important month.

Tip #1- Get a planner and use it

If you’ve ever fasted before, you know that staying busy is a great way to keep your mind off of hunger and actually make the entire process easier and more enjoyable. Having a lot of activities to occupy your time is a good thing–it will keep you moving, keep you focused, and allow you to really take advantage of all of the barakah that this month has to offer. Remember, every time you accomplish a good deed during Ramadan, you will receive an extra blessing, inshAllah. Let this concept of reward motivate you to get as much done as you can during the month, instead of seeing your busy schedule as a problem or source of stress.

That being said, burnout is a real thing, and as the month goes on, many Muslims start to feel a bit of a brain fog as their body adapts to eating less, drinking less water, and sleeping less. This is why it is a great idea to maintain a paper journal during this month so that you can write down important things you need to remember and keep a physical copy of your schedule somewhere you can easily reference it. Writing things down is proven to improve your memory, and even if keeping a planner isn’t necessary for you during the rest of the year, you might find that it’s helpful during Ramadan. Programming things into your phone, typing them up, or just relying on your memory doesn’t have the same effect as using a good old pen and paper.

This is also a good idea since our schedules tend to change a lot during Ramadan, and we need to make unique plans for things like iftar time and taraweeh prayer. With so much to keep track of, you’ll be glad you took the extra step of writing things down as they come, especially when you’re trying to be productive at the end of a long day of fasting.

Tip #2- Keep dates and other snacks in your desk

Plan as we might, busy professionals often find themselves breaking their fasts in strange places, and that’s why it’s necessary to keep a plastic bag or tupperware handy filled with dates, as well as some other protein heavy snacks, so that you have something filling and convenient available to break your fast when you can’t sit down and have a traditional dinner.

Not only is breaking your fast with a date Sunnah, but it’s also a healthy way to break your fast quickly, and the sugar in the dates will give you the quick dose of energy you need to finish your shift or turn in whatever project you are working on.

When it comes to other snacks, consider protein-filled, plant based options like roasted chickpeas or trail mix. Getting a protein fix will help curb your hunger until you can sit down for a proper meal. And of course– don’t forget a huge bottle of water!

Tip #3- Meal Prep–and keep it simple

There is a lot of emotion around the food during Ramadan, and while this is largely a wonderful thing, it can also put unnecessary pressure on you to feel like each meal has to be home cooked to perfection.

But luckily, we’re living in 2019, and it is possible–and even easy– to eat delicious, festive Ramadan meals without having to spend hours preparing them. Saffron Road is only one example of brands that offer healthy, halal, and delicious pre-made traditional Ramadan cuisine options. You can purchase simmer sauces that are easy to pour over meat and rice to make custom meals, or buy frozen entrees that just need to be microwaved for a few minutes.

The quality and authentic taste of Saffron Road’s brand-new shelf stable meals, like Chickpea Masala, are incredible. Everyone at iftar loves a comfort food like Chickpea Masala. And Saffron Road’s is so good, everyone at your iftar table will think you made it from scratch. It’s currently only available in certain Costco stores – so do a stock up trip to Costco and fill your Ramadan pantry before it runs out.

Chicken Tikka Masala Entree from Saffron Road

Whatever you need to your meals healthy, balanced, and festive, the key is to make sure to plan ahead of time so that you can gather the specific ingredients or speciality items you need. Give yourself at least a week of grocery time, and consider ordering items ahead of time online so that you can save time going to different grocery stores.

When meal prepping, make sure not to forget about planning for suhoor- arguably the most important meal of your day. Your suhoor meal should include protein, complex carbs, and lots of fluids and fruit to make sure you stay full and hydrated throughout the day. If you’re working late hours, you might be tempted to skip suhoor and sleep in for those few extra minutes before work, but think again– this meal is absolutely essential to staying healthy and energized throughout the month, and it’s worth the slight loss of sleep.

Saffron Road’s chocolate coated chickpeas make a great protein-packed addition to your suhoor breakfast.

Tip #4- Download a health tracking app for the month  

Because you are going to be busy and working within a new schedule, it’s really important to make sure you stay healthy and balanced throughout the month. One of the easiest ways to do this is to download a health tracking app that allows you to keep track of the food you’re eating, the amount you are exercising, and how much water you’re drinking every night. It is easy to miss out on nutrients or get dehydrated during Ramadan if you’re not careful, so relying on technology to keep you on track is a great way to keep yourself in line without having to monitor everything on your own.

These apps can also help remind you to get up and exercise during your busy days, which as counterintuitive as it may seem, is a great way to control hunger, keep your energy up, and make the entire fasting process easier. While you want to avoid activities that will cause you to sweat excessively or get dizzy, light exercise– like doing 15 push-ups during your lunch break– can be immensely refreshing and beneficial during Ramadan.

Final tip: Be realistic and pace yourself

Ramadan inspires Muslims to be their very best, and this is part of the miracle of the month. However, Ramadan is a marathon, not a sprint, and it is important to be realistic to avoid getting yourself sick or burning out halfway through the month. If you have a full work schedule or are expected to work late into the evening, you may have to miss some taraweeh prayers or skip out on a few group iftars. This is just the reality of being busy, and you need to always be in tune with your body to make sure that you are staying hydrated, healthy, and well-rested. Don’t give into the pressure to do everything all at once, and make sure that you are clear with your superiors at work that this is a religious obligation that will be taking a physical toll on your body and mind–they should be forewarned so that they can afford you the consideration that you deserve.

This Ramadan we are partnering with LaunchGood to help support a different cause both locally and globally. 

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