The word ‘fasting’ brings with it ideas of restraint and the notion of a total absence of food. However, we actually eat more during the holy month of Ramadan. With an increase in food consumption usually comes with it an increase in cooking, cleaning and hosting. And, unfortunately, an increase in those things sometimes accompanies an increase in emotional labour for the women of the household.
During Ramadan, women spend way more time in the kitchen preparing food than the rest of the year. That’s quite a well-known fact. If we asked you to think about a typical Ramadan scenario, perhaps your mind will conjure up a scene featuring a mother feverishly cooking, cleaning and stressing out – until the adhaan of iftaar – whilst the rest of the family slouch around in the living room, restless and humourless, eagerly awaiting to be fed. It’s certainly not always the case, but it happens.
It’s fairly ironic that women’s needs are often sidelined in favour of others, given the fact that one of the overarching principles of Ramadan is to consider the needs of other people instead of your own. At times, it’s just plain annoying. We know that women frequent the mosques less than their male counterparts, but that shouldn’t stop us from asking them to share some of the emotional and physical labour that is heightened around this time.
If you’re taking on a lot of extra work at home this Ramadan, there are some simple steps that you can take to make sure that you look after your physical and mental (as well as your spiritual) wellbeing. Firstly, make sure that you’re drinking enough water during the night-time hours; this can’t be stressed enough. In fact, many experts on the matter advise drinking no less than two litres of water between iftar and sunbreak.
Next, for the pre-dawn meals, focus on slow-digesting, high-protein and high-fibre foods – like oats, barley, brown rice, wheat bread or pasta. Finally, do some light exercise during the day or at least go for a short walk. But don’t overdo it, that’s what we’re trying to avoid here, remember? Ramadan is more than abstaining from food and drink and slaving over stoves, it is important that we first and foremost remember the spiritual side to the holy month and then take into consideration the relationship we have with ourselves.
Feeling lonely or overworked this Ramadan? Come to one of our workshops here at ODARA. We offer women the opportunity to grow personally, professionally and socially.
Featured image credit: Odara
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