Ramadan is a time of reflection where Muslims abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours and focus on prayer, purification, and charity.
This year, Ramadan is 12 April – 12 May, which means that similarly to 2020, it falls during a period of lockdown, social distancing, and for many, exam season.
It is understandable that it may be more difficult than usual to concentrate during Ramadan due to extra pressure from adapting to changes to learning and assessments, pandemic related stress, longer days, and the possibility of higher temperatures. With this in mind, the Students’ Association have some helpful tips to help you maintain your energy levels and manage your wellbeing during the holy month of Ramadan.
By planning your timetable as far in advance as possible, it will help to organise your coursework, revision, daily exercise, prayer, and meals in the most relevant way possible. This can also help to ensure you make good meal choices as well as manage stress and energy levels through the day, optimising your efficiency.
- Drinking water
Dehydration is a common occurrence during a fast. Staying hydrated is vital for your health, so ensuring that you are drinking enough water before fasting will help minimise undesirable side effects of fasting, such as headaches and dizziness.
- Meal choices
When eating a suhur (pre-dawn meal) or when breaking fast, it is always important to consider appropriate meal choices. Slow energy release foods, such as grains, oats, beans, and proteins are all good suhur choices. When breaking fast, eating a balanced meal that has correct proportions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water is paramount to preserving good health.
- Resting and minimising exercise
Particularly if you have an afternoon assessment, it is important that you limit physical exertion and limit physical activity. In addition, staying indoors or in the shade is also important in minimising dehydration. Getting as much rest as possible will also help manage feelings of lethargy and will help manage stress levels.
- Being kind to yourself
If you are unwell or have a medical condition that makes fasting injurious to your health, you can instead elect to fast at a later time when you are healthy or if this is not possible, can compensate via fidyah (feeding the poor). It is important that you listen to your health and wellbeing during this time.
- Utilise support available
Remember, there is support and resources available if you need it.
For information and advice on maximising your health whilst fasting, you can consult the NHS Ramadan Health Guide.
The Muslim Council of Britain has published online guidance to help you cope with the restriction of lockdown during Ramadan, as well as guidance for vaccines during fasting and other pandemic related concerns.
If you are concerned about your mental health, you can contact the Learning Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are at risk of harm, then please contact the Safeguarding team at email@example.com.
If things are aren’t going to plan, the Independent Advice team may be able to help. You can find out more about the Independent Advice service here and can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org. It may also be helpful to review the wellbeing section on our website which has a link to more university and external support resources available as well as exam tips for the upcoming assessment period.
However you decide to observe Ramadan this year, we hope that you can safely maintain the essence of Ramadan despite limitations in social contact and travel. We are wishing you a Ramadan Mubarak and the best for your exams!