Ramadan, a month of mindfulness and spiritual reawakening

Ramadan, a month of mindfulness and spiritual reawakening

Written by Noreen

My earliest memory of Ramadan is as a little girl aged six or seven, watching my grandmother agonisingly pace up and down the stairs. She was anticipating the moment that she could finally break her fast and savour the sweet taste of her first sip of water since 2am that morning. If my maths serves me correctly, she would have been fasting during a British summer. Those 10pm sunsets we get in June? Yep, not so exciting during Ramadan! As a child I wondered why she would inflict such torture on herself, and I decided in that moment that fasting was definitely not for me.

Fast forward a few decades and I eagerly await this most special month, praying everyday that I make it to the next Ramadan so that I can experience the feeling all over again. There is something so special about this time, that despite the hunger pangs, the lack of sleep and lethargy, once it’s over, all you wish is that it comes around again quickly and that you’re still around to experience it.

Now as a mum myself I yearn to recreate  my childhood Ramadan for my girls. Being woken up in the middle of the night, rubbing our eyes as we attempt to take just one more bite because “You’ll regret it in the morning if you don’t”, and spending the entire day counting down the minutes to the moment we can eat. The smell of pakoras wafting through the entire house, the overworked kitchen with an array of pots and pans sizzling away over a hot stove, our ever patient mother lovingly preparing a feast for her family in the countdown to Iftaari. Ramadan food in 2022 may be consciously lighter and healthier, but we’ve created new traditions that I hope the girls will cherish as they grow up.

Ramadan is not just a test of endurance through the abstinence of food (although the hangry days are really hard!). It is a  month of mindfulness and spiritual reawakening. The hustle and bustle of everyday life is superseded by  remembering to be kinder, more charitable, maintaining discipline and reconnecting with your core beliefs. It is a physical and spiritual detox. Life is stripped bare; take food and any worldly pleasure out of the equation and Ramadan reminds you about how you use and misuse your precious time on this earth. Time stands still in the day – I feel accomplished, connected and find it to be a uniquely humbling experience. It’s an opportunity to change habits, intentionally taking time out to be reflective, and making a special effort to feel connected during prayers and the recitation of the Quran. I have better mental clarity and improved mood and memory.

Ramadan brings with it a special sense of community. Neighbours appreciate receiving copious amounts of food, all in the spirit of sharing, and families come together to break their fasts. It’s a social month with an even bigger social event to mark the end – Eid-ul-Fitr. Children and adults alike look forward to dressing up, receiving presents, eating in daylight (which feels entirely alien after 30 days) and appreciating all the simple blessings that they have in their lives.


Ramadan recipes

Prepare for Ramadan with energising suhoor recipes to set you up for the day and iftar dishes such as soups, salads and snacks that everyone will enjoy. View here via BBC Good Food.

10 Top Tips for Ramadan

View here via Islamic Relief

What is Ramadan?

View here via BBC Bitesize

Staying well while staying informed

Staying well while staying informed

Written by Catherine

Recently, everyone has been talking about the news and it can feel like not engaging with the news during a time like this is irresponsible. The truth is that although being informed is important so is your mental wellbeing and finding a balance between the two, especially during times like this, can be key. Everyone’s approach will be different but here are just some of the things that you can do to engage with the news and worldwide events on your own terms.

Know your triggers

Everyone is affected differently by different topics and being aware of this can be key to ensuring you stay informed without damaging your mental wellbeing. Not only does it allow you to distance yourself from news stories that you find particularly upsetting but it also provides you with the opportunity to explain this to others so that they can support and check on you.

Break up with breaking news

24-hour news cycles first came into being in the 1980s (1) and since then we’ve gotten used to hearing about the day’s events as and when they happen. While this can make us feel connected to the world around us it also forces us to make decisions about a subject, often before we have all the information we need. This is one of the reasons that I am a huge advocate for turning off breaking news bulletins on devices and setting limits on the amount of time spent on the news. While staying informed is important it’s also key to your mental wellbeing to do this on your own terms.

Look on the bright side

You will not see many positive stories on the news and there’s a very good reason for that. You are more likely to keep watching a rare and terrible accident than you are all the good and seemingly mundane things that happen daily. However, there are some websites and companies dedicated to good news stories which you can choose to engage with. Positive News and Good News Network are great places to look for positive news stories.



The Beginning of the 24-Hour News Cycle | Times Illustrated