Take any opportunity you get during the day to have a power nap: half an hour is enough to restore your energy levels and keep you going until late in the night.
The holy month of Ramadhan is certainly one of the busiest periods of the year for us ladies, even more for those with a big brood and extended families. The long hours of fasting, the nights spent doing taraweeh and ‘ibadah, and the pressure to prepare insane amounts of food for yourselves and your guests all take their toll on the body. I wish I could advise you to simply spend the day resting and doing quiet activities, such as reading Qur’an, to prepare for night worship, but with young children and demanding families, it is often impossible. Here are a few tips to help you cope and avoid looking like a red-eyed zombie, insha Allah!
Surviving long nights of ‘ibadah
First of all, take any opportunity you get during the day to have a power nap: half an hour is enough to restore your energy levels and keep you going until late in the night. However, don’t sleep too much during the day, as you could end up feeling sluggish. Use the time between the end of taraweeh and dawn to sleep. There is no need to spend the night cooking an elaborate midnight feast; your health has to take priority, as well as focusing on prayer and reciting the Qur’an.
It is hard to avoid tired-looking eyes during Ramadhan, but here a few quick remedies. Cool cucumber slices applied on the eyes for 15 minutes will help in getting rid of under eye bags, because of their astringent qualities. You can also apply light, easily-absorbed oil, such as jojoba oil, straight on the skin to ‘plump’ it up. If in a rush, a drop of concealer will do the trick. Pick a natural shade close to your skin tone rather than a lighter one; pink or peach-toned concealers are usually more effective than yellow-toned ones that might make the skin look greyish.
The importance of moisturising
I have often heard that applying cream on the face and body is forbidden during Ramadhan as it ‘nourishes’ the body. From my understanding, it is in fact allowed as it is not swallowed nor does it reach the blood; moisturising cream actually only re-hydrates the external layer of skin.
Take a short moment during the day to look after yourself and take care of your skin. I often forget to follow my beauty routine during Ramadhan as I am busy trying to make the most of the holy month (and wondering what to cook for iftar!), and I always end up with dry skin. Dehydration is very common during Ramadhan, so make sure to keep your skin moisturised, in particular the t-zones (forehead, nose and chin). Use rich creams or oils, such as almond or coconut oil, applied on both face and body as often as needed. You can also use oil on your hair before rinsing it off. As Ramadhan falls during the summer this year for those in the northern hemisphere, don’t forget to also use sunscreen.
Finally, make sure you drink enough water in the evening to rehydrate your body. Aim to drink at least one litre of water between the hours of maghrib and suhoor, and avoid drinking too many caffeinated drinks, which remove much-needed minerals from the body.
Detoxing the skin and body
I have to shamefully admit that Ramadhan is the time when I indulge the most in sugary, fatty treats, wrongly thinking that my body needs a sugar kick after a long fast. The truth is that to keep healthy during the holy month, and to not put on weight, we need to simply follow the sunnah: break your fast with dates and water, rather than a slice of cake and a sugary drink. Cook warming soups and refreshing salads to make up your vitamin intake, rather than filling up on calorific sweets. Many sisters complain of spot outbreaks during Ramadhan, simply because our diet is so bad! Remember that the state of your skin is a reflection of what you are eating. To get rid of pimples quickly, try tea tree oil, honey or lemon juice, which are all antibacterial.
Ramadhan is actually the perfect time to detox: just ensure you eat a varied diet including fresh vegetables and fruits, avoid coffee and fizzy drinks, and if you are able to, do some light exercise. Have light meals at set times rather than snacking the whole night, and make sure to have a filling suhoor, including cereals, fruits or yoghurt. This will ensure that your skin stays radiant and glowing, rather than dull and dry, and that you spend your Ramadhan healthy and full of energy. Ramadhan Kareem sisters. May we make good habits to last the whole year insha Allah.
Cleo is an artist and writer based in London, newly obsessed with Islamic remedies. She is currently studying towards a PhD and in her free time she likes cooking and reading with her little girl.