SAIMAH RAZAK, CONSULTANT
Fasting is much more than withholding from eating and drinking though, so before you ask ‘How do you manage to go without water?’ remember that this is just one element of fasting. For me it is far more spiritual. It is about presenting the best possible version of yourself which includes refraining from swearing and adopting a positive, appreciative and generous mindset.
So what steps have I taken to help me through the month so I can balance my faith and ensure there is no impact on my work? These are things to be aware of when people are observing:
- One of the biggest issues for me personally is tiredness. As you cannot eat from sunrise to sunset, it is common that my family and I awake just before the sun rises to eat our first meal of the day known as ‘Suhoor’. This means a disrupted sleeping pattern which could lead to feeling more drowsy than usual. Be open to the potential of flexible working; I’ve agreed with my manager the option of coming in later some days to allow for extra time in bed and even leaving earlier on days where I feel my concentration is waning.
- The other major issue that tends to arise is the question, ‘Do you or don’t you eat in front of someone who is fasting?’ I have to say I’m very lucky to have a small team with whom I am very open about my religious observance. They know that of course it is fine to eat in front of me! We work in a modern workplace with deadlines to meet and customers to please and most of the time eating at one’s desk is the most suitable option. This is not a problem for me because ultimately fasting is about self-discipline.
- Bearing the previous point in mind though, I still take my lunch break! Breaks are more than just about food. Even when not fasting (and in this warm weather) it is important for people to stretch their legs and get some fresh air.
- It shouldn’t make that much of a difference to normal routine. Apart from scheduling important meetings in the morning when concentration is higher it is important for me personally to continue with everyday activities during Ramadan, including exercise.
Take these things into account and it will be really appreciated by anyone observing. I have had many comments in awe but it’s not only about strict observance as next weekend I’m looking forward to the joyous festival of Eid-al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan. This mainly involves family get togethers and traditional eats and I have of course ensured that my annual leave has been booked in advance!