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Now that the month of increased blessings is behind us, it is likely that we will return to our pre-Ramadan ways. When we talked about the blessed month, we discussed how it's akin to running a marathon: from the dedicated training prior to the event, to the focused mental and physical efforts required to make it to the finish line. But how we treat ourselves and approach our day-to-day beyond the finish line is equally, if not more important.
So what are some ways we can retain some of those Ramadan vibes in our lives? Here are 6 ways we can prevent that dip after the month is over:
Set a realistic goal of one act you can maintain post-Ramadan. An act you had not practiced prior to Ramadan or done as regularly. Maybe it's simply reading the Quran consistently, or maybe it's incorporating more sunnah prayers into your day. Whatever you feel you can really commit to and build upon as the year goes on.
It will be through these additional acts that we will ultimately feel closer to Allah. They also serve as our internal measure of the benefit we were able to take from the momentum and blessings of Ramadan. What we do the remainder of the year is equally, if not more important, so take the time to commit to that one act, and then build from there.
In our fast-paced distracted day-to-day, it is not often we take the time to reflect. Whether it is simply on our day or ourselves. It is moments of reflection that ultimately shape our behaviors for the better, so it is essential we incorporate that into our day/week. For some, they may be the early hours of the day after Fajr prayer, for others they may be prior to going to bed. Find the time you think works best and simply sit down and reflect. If you want to write down some pointers definitely do so!
It helps you separate your actions from your thoughts about your actions. Measure your progress so that you can feel a sense of achievement. It may be a good idea to speak to someone you are close to help you through this process.
Resist the temptation to just 'let go' once Ramadan is over. Be mindful of how you use your time and your words. Mindfulness is not only what allows for us to be more calculated in our actions, but it is what helps attain an inner peace that's often difficult if we get caught up in the noise.
Part of mindfulness is the remembrance of Allah and gratitude for His infinite favors upon us. It gives us patience through times of difficulty and ultimately allows us to remain cognizant of our purpose on this Earth.
Sign up for a weekly class or schedule a group discussion with friends. Find a way to continue learning and seek Allah's guidance to help apply & internalize what you learn.
Once again, if you feel more comfortable putting pen to paper, you definitely should. Our documented notes and thoughts can serve as a great tool towards progress.
Abstaining from food for a good portion of our days definitely does give our bodies a much-needed break. However, what we put into our bodies upon breaking our fast is what matters. When we don't maintain the healthiest food choices, we get lethargic and that in turn impacts our mental capabilities. Try and stay on top of your health beyond Ramadan with the goal of attaining mental sharpness. Our lives have become increasingly sedentary and so what we put into our bodies has become even more important. Sugar is the primary culprit for most as it does the most damage in terms of our energy levels. If you can't cut it out, limit it and you will notice a difference.
This is the most obvious one perhaps, but it is what is tied most closely to our "Ramadan feels". If you haven't done so in previous years, try and fast the 6 Shawwal fasts for the reward for a year! 1 If you have, then maintain that goal and add on some sunnah by fasting Mondays or Thursdays (or both!). Make fasting an act you do outside of Ramadan so that you can attain that mental, physical and spiritual cleanse throughout the year.
Finally, remember, Allah, says in the Quran:
"Whenever My servants ask about Me, indeed, I am near. I respond to the call of the supplicant whenever he calls upon Me." (2:186)
We tend to feel close to Allah during the blessed month, but His closeness remains year round, if only we seek it.
1"The Prophet (ﷺ) famously said as per the hadith in Sahih Muslim:
"Whoever observes the fast of Ramadan and follows it up with six fasts in Shawwal will be rewarded as if he has fasted the entire year."