Maintaining emotional fitness this Ramadan
Ramadan offers an opportunity to practice gratitude, self-discipline, and stay connected.
Ramadan again feels far from normal in many ways as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The feeling of togetherness that distinguishes the holy month is challenging to replicate in isolation. Muslims worldwide are observing the spiritual and communal month while adhering to social distancing measures for a second time since the beginning of the pandemic. But every crisis presents opportunities. We still can reflect, share, and care while remaining grateful for the blessings we have been granted.
Our Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) experts share their advice on emotional well-being during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
It’s easy to fall prey to ingratitude. However, the holy month presents an opportunity to guard our hearts against taking blessings we enjoy for granted. During Ramadan, we experience blessings through deprivation. Use this opportunity to recognize blessings, even the smallest ones. Making a conscious effort to regularly count your blessings can enhance your mental and physical well-being. Regularly expressing gratitude to others, or even to yourself, can help you stay positive, increase your life satisfaction, and build mental resilience.
“Try incorporating gratitude into your daily habits,” said Dr. Areej Al-Dossary, a family practice specialist at JHAH. “Set a reminder on your phone for yourself to take the time and say, or send, a genuine thank you to someone each day so that this becomes second nature to you.”
Part of achieving our life goals lies with our self-discipline. Ramadan reminds us that in pursuit of our long-term gains, we have the power to put off short-term pleasure. By opting to deny our bodies their basic needs voluntarily, we tend to develop greater self-control. Ghada Al-Habib, a clinical nutrition manager at JHAH, notes, “Self-discipline is crucial to modify your lifestyle to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes and other health-related conditions. It is a key to success; it helps you stay consistent and when you are consistent you get to achieve your goals.”
Remember that you have fasted consistently throughout the month, achieving a clear goal every day, and your self-discipline is being strengthened by doing this.
In Ramadan, people get together for prayers, feasting, and socializing. Most people feel the need for social interactions and relationships, especially during the holy month. Due to the pandemic, many Muslims have witnessed the month lonely and isolated.
Dr. Abdulsamad Al-Jishi, the chief of the Psychiatry Division at JHAH, remarks, “Loneliness is the feeling someone can have if their social interaction needs are not fulfilled. Loneliness and isolation can impact on the symptoms of anxiety and depression. As you maintain social distancing, try alternative ways to stay connected to others, such as phoning, texting, video calling, and emailing friends and family. Contact others on a regular basis and let them know how you feel.”
Visit JHAH’s Mental Health Toolkit page, or call our confidential Emotional Help Line at 013-870-1919. The Emotional Help Line is available Sunday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.