Health & Lifestyle

Ramadan: The art of the fast

By Chiranti Sengupta

There are same working hours yet work pressure remains the same. Experts tell us how to be productive and make the most of the festive month.

Ramadan is when things slow down at companies all across the Muslim world. At this time of the year, the challenge for organizations is to minimize the impact of reduced working hours on their business performances, while keeping employee productivity levels and morale high.

GN  talks to a few experts in an attempt to find out how people observing a fast can stay at the top of things.

Time management

“Our targets remain the same and we are expected to meet deadlines and maintain business performances during Ramadan,” says Fariha Fatima, Senior Product Manager, Noor Islamic Bank.

However, with proper time management, people can deliver better results in a shorter time. “Ramadan is a unique opportunity to learn more about time management,” says Carlo Pignataro, Founder and Master Trainer, Selling Skills Empowerment.

Pignataro has identified some major areas of time management that can help people achieve results during Ramadan. He says, “Have a clear vision of what must be achieved and cannot be neglected in spite of the shorter working hours. Every morning, set a list of all the things that you must do during the day.”

He also advises people to adequately plan their days in advance. “Every half an hour of your day should be planned. Having a clear picture of what should be done every thirty minutes makes you avoid all the time wasters and focus on important tasks,” he says.

Fatima agrees. “Forward planning is a key in my job to compensate for the loss of working hours,” she says. “Furthermore, in the absence of any distractions such as coffee and lunch breaks, we tend to perform better and get our jobs done faster,” she adds.

Proper diet

The ability to remain active in the workplace during Ramadan often depends on our food choices as most health problems originate from an unsuitable diet. Doctors and nutritionists say if you eat right, take enough rest and hydrate your body adequately, you can fast without developing any health complications and also stay alert and energized at work.

“Ramadan is a month all Muslims look forward to. Apart from developing good habits such as sleeping early and waking up for suhoor, I eat healthy and drink plenty of water during non-fasting hours to avoid dehydration,” says Zainab Das, Account Executive at a Dubai-based public relations firm.

Always wake up early for the suhoor meal to beat fatigue and boost energy, suggests Mitun De Sarkar, Senior Dietician and Partner at U’ve Got Meal. U’ve Got Meal is a fresh food programs that specializes in preparing low-glycemic gourmet meals and delivering them to people’s home.

“By consuming a wholesome suhoor, which includes slow digesting carbohydrates and protein, you can give the body the nourishment to cope with the hours of fasting,” Sarkar says.

It is advisable to avoid processed and refined food in the morning. “During the month of fasting our body goes through a sudden shock where the core temperature of the body and the metabolic rate decrease,” explains De Sarkar. “Along with this change, we also make unhealthy food choices, skip suhoors and often opt for one straight big iftar meal, leading our body to store fat as a survival mechanism.”

Healthy sleep

Ramadan greatly alters our sleeping patterns and often impacts our energy levels, making us feel lethargic and sluggish during the non-fasting hours.

Along with a healthy diet, it is also critical to rest adequately to stay fresh and attentive. “Meet your total sleep requirement in two sessions during Ramadan. While the first session of sleep should take place at night and last for five to six hours up to suhoor, fasting individuals should try to take a nap for an hour in the afternoon to restore alertness. Make sure that you do not overeat before you go to bed. Consumption of high-calorie food increases body temperature and causes sleep deprivation,” says Dr Ihab Ramadan, Specialist Internal Medicine and Head of the Emergency Department, Medcare Hospital.

Stay active

Exercising regularly not only helps us to stay in shape, but boosts productivity at work by improving alertness. While it is definitely not advisable to harbour unrealistic expectations during Ramadan on achieving any new fitness goals, make it a point to exercise regularly to maintain your health.

“It is vital to remain at least 80 per cent consistent in your exercise efforts. You can modify your workout routine on the days when you lack motivation,” says Hisem Hagras, Corporate Wellness Manager, Fitness First Middle East.

Perform more weight training exercises and limit cardio exercises to twice a week. Listen to your body and do short and intense 20-30 minute workouts or try yoga and pilates, suggests Hagres. “If you wish to alter your exercise routine, play a game of basketball or squash. The trick is to change your routine and try different ways to exercise so that you don’t get lethargic.”

Short spurts of breathing exercises can help maintain focus and vitality. “During times of fatigue try stretching the upper back and thorax, especially around the ribcage and shoulder girdle,” says Caroline Leon, Managing Director and Yoga and Pilates Instructor, A Life Of Energy.

Body stretching can also be a stress reliever. “Instead of practicing intense yoga, try gentle poses that help maintain the flexibility of the spine. Alternate nostril breathing can also help boost energy and keep the body cool and mind calm during summer,” says Deepali Dandekar, Yoga expert, Balance Wellness Club.


Source: Gulf News


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