Now, as much as we all love Ramadan & look forward to it every year, it’s no secret we also dread its’ first week. Especially so if you’re a smoker, or coffee drinker, you just know it’s going to be a rough ride going into Ramadan, so here’s a guide to help you stay energized, headache free (as much as possible, I’m not a miracle worker ), and basically not feel like you know how roadkill feels, on your first week of Ramadan.
It’s all about perspective
If you go into Ramadan thinking “Oh not again, I don’t want to stop my morning coffee and/or smoke, feel thirsty all day, grumpy & HANGRY”. Then, most definitely you’re going to feel all of that and more. So instead of missing out on all the Ramadan spirit why don’t you change the way you look at this month. It’s a blessing to be able to witness this holy month in a healthy body & mind, to be around family, friends and loved ones. It doesn’t matter if that healthy body is giving you headaches because your routine is changing. So just start Ramadan with “I’m thankful I get to experience the gift of being able to fast, to purify my day, my body, my mind and my intentions”, believe me, it’s a game changer.
Be Prepared & Know Your Withdrawal Symptoms
That being said, your intentions will be pure and clear but your mind won’t be, because it’s going to be thinking of all the coffee, food and/or cigarettes you’re not having. So be prepared and know exactly what’s going to happen & how to prevent it or make it go away. If you want to know exactly what happens to our body the first week of Ramadan here’s a good explanation.
Caffeine is actually the most common known mood altering “drug” that we use on a daily basis. It’s a stimulant that can be chemically addictive that’s why you suffer symptoms when you don’t have your regular dose of caffeine. And you almost feel most of these if you’re withdrawing from smoking as well
- Brain Fog
- Lethargy (you feel like a sloth basically)
- Irritability (Don’t look at me, Don’t talk to me, Don’t breathe around me)
- Muscle pain, stiffness
- Flu-Like symptoms (stuffy nose, blocked sinuses, sinus pressure)
Now let’s see how we can avoid, and make these symptoms disappear.
- Essential Oils: Use Peppermint or Eucalyptus Essential Oil on your temples (side of your forehead) to release stress, tension & ease your headache. This works like a charm because these oils are known for its pain relieving the effect. Add a few drops of lavender oil in your bath water, or just in your steam machine for some relaxing aromatherapy. Or you can old school it and just fill a pot with boiling water add lavender E.O and place your face above it (from afar so you don’t burn yourself)
- Yoga Poses: These really simple poses will help your headache go away faster, and help with your overall blood circulation to even boost your energy levels a bit more.
Child Pose: It’s pretty much just like Sujood, it helps you release negative energy into the ground, relaxes your muscles and helps your headache go away.
Legs Up the Wall Pose: This one is a personal favorite (especially if you do it before sleep) it makes you feel so good afterward, you’re going to be addicted to this pose. Just get into it, close your eyes and relax. Imagine the headache being chased away by all your happy relaxed hormones being released while in this pose.
2. Dizziness, Drowsiness, and Sloth like human:
The most important and first thing you should do is to learn how to breathe better. Breathing is how your body gets its oxygen and shallow breathing (what most of us do) isn’t the most efficient way to give all the oxygen your body needs for it to function at its peak performance. Its quite easy and you can find many different techniques for this but the rule of thumb for better breathing is to:
- Breathe through your nose
- Breathe deeply (use your diaphragm)
- Take deeper slower breaths
If it’s the middle of the day and you simply can’t get your energy up while fasting, just give in and take a power nap. But make it 20 mins though and only 20 mins so you don’t wake up feeling worse than you did before. A good tip is to set your alarm for 30mins so you don’t get anxious over the time you’re going to lose still trying to fall asleep.
Did You Know?
The best time according to Sunnah is either
- Between Azan and Iqama of Fajr Prayer
- Before/After Dhuhur Prayer
3. Constipation (Irregular bowel movements)
Because making your bowels move better is mostly dependent on what you ingest, a lot of people find this particular symptom the most vexing in Ramadan while fasting. So here are some Yoga poses you can do to help get things moving, without breaking your fast.
Standing Wall Twist:
This pose is great for massaging your insides specifically your digestive tract, to stimulate your body to digest better, and release the toxins from your body faster (hopefully in 💩 form)
Half Spinal Twist Pose:
It could look difficult and confusing but believe me it’s not & once you see how powerful its effect is, you’ll be doing this pose everyday!
Exhale & twist as deeply as you comfortably take, stop twisting at the first sign of pain or discomfort. Press the right hand against the floor just behind your right buttock, and set your left upper arm on the outside of your right thigh near the knee. Pull your front torso and inner right thigh together.
Smokers, this is for you:
Now you know how to deal with the frustration you’re going to have from not getting your morning, midday, and evening cigarette. Here’s what you can do to keep yourself from thinking about smoking, beause sometimes that’s half the problem:
Distract yourself, keep your hands busy so you don’t feel like reaching for that pack
Examples of distractions to do every time you feel like smoking:
- Go look out the window and imagine shooting incoming zombies
- Put the radio on, and if possible dance to whatever is playing
- Put a nice smelling hand cream on your hands, so you don’t smell the tobacco on there anymore and you’ll have super soft hands by the end of the day.
- Brush your teeth & floss.
- Clean the inside of your car.
- Clean out a closet in the house.
- Organize the junk drawer that’s long overdue.
- Go outside and smell some flowers for a change.
- Plan next week’s dinners and make a shopping list to match.
Finally, Listen To Your Body
In all cases, you should listen to your body, listen to what it needs, how you can help it survive this first week, and do what’s right for it. The best thing about the first week of Ramadan is that it actually gets better with time because your body is incredibly smart and it adapts to this new way of life by the second week. So, just hang in there, you’re going to be fine.