Handy Tips for Taking Care of Yourself during Ramadan
As the holy month of Ramadan draws near, many of us will enter a period of intense fasting that can greatly affect our bodies and performance at work. It is important to look at not only our religious health at this time with prayer and reflection; we need to look after our physical health to make sure that we can work optimally, during what can be a difficult time to concentrate and work.
Fasting can have serious physical effects on the body. It can result in dehydration and low blood sugar, which in turn can affect our attentiveness, concentration, vision, and reaction. The unusual and irregular meal timings due to fasting can also affect our sleeping patterns, causing fatigue, exhaustion, impatience, and distraction.
To help you take the best care of yourself during this period of Ramadan, Medilink International has put together some key tips on healthy fasting and road safety measures, to prevent injuries, hazards, and accidents.
Healthy Fasting Tips:
- Don’t skip Suhoor (pre-dawn meal). Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially during Ramadan. Skipping Suhoor prolongs the fasting period which can make the body weak, as it relies on the previous meal to provide you with the energy you need for the day. During Ramadan, this meal may have been many hours ago, leaving your body little energy/nutrients to work with.
- Don’t overeat during Iftar (dinner meal). Overeating when it is time to break the fast can be harmful for the body as it slows down the digestion and may lead to gastrointestinal difficulties. Hence, Iftar should be a well-balanced, nutritious meal that nourishes the body, instead of a feast.
- Maintain a healthy and balanced diet by taking more fruits, vegetables, and fibre rich foods. Avoid eating fried, salty, and high-sugar foods, as these can cause sluggishness, fatigue, and dehydration.
- During non-fasting, drink plenty of plain water. Avoid drinking sugary and caffeinated drinks only, as these have a diuretic effect which promotes fluid loss and dehydration. Try to drink as much water as possible – at least 8 glasses- to keep your body properly hydrated, especially during fasting time when you cannot consume liquids.
- Stay fit and active (but avoid challenging activities). Exercise can give you a boost of energy and can positively impact your stress and mental health. However, intense exercise whilst fasting can lead to reduced muscle mass and strength. Therefore, it is advisable to perform low to medium intensity exercises instead during this month.
- Get adequate amount of sleep and rest to provide you with energy throughout the day. Your body requires good rest and sleep to repair itself and prepare for the next day. Skipping sleep will directly affect your concentration and work performance. However, it is a balance, so avoid oversleeping as it can also lead to sluggishness and increase daytime fatigue.
- Protect yourself from direct sun as much as possible. Wear loose, light, and light-coloured clothing. This will help avoid dehydration/sun stoke, which is a distinct possibility during fasting.
Road Safety Tips:
- Do not attempt to drive if you start experiencing any signs of fatigue and tiredness such as hunger, sweating, feeling faint, poor concentration, tired eyes, drowsiness, slow reactions, and oversteering. Fatigue is a significant road safety risk, so be aware of your own fatigue and watch out for other fatigued drivers. If you’re feeling fatigued, use public transportation instead of driving.
- See and be seen. If you must drive at night for Suhoor or Iftar ensure that your headlights, taillights, and signal lights are clean and working properly before you go on the road. Clean your windows to remove road film and dust that could impair your ability to see clearly.
- Drive defensively. Watch out for other road users potentially under the same effects, especially in the morning rush-hours and Iftar. Always try to anticipate the other drivers’ actions. All road users must use defensive driving techniques to avoid dangerous situations.
- Pay special attention at pre-Iftar rush hour time, as road users try to rush towards their Iftar appointments, they may use this as an excuse to misbehave on the roads and not be as considerate with their driving habits. Try avoiding the roads during sunset, but if you must, make sure not to jump red lights and keep a sufficient distance between vehicles and do not tailgate. Plan your Iftar appointments and leave early to avoid the need of rushing and speeding.
- For drivers who are diagnosed with Diabetes, do not drive if your blood glucose is less than 4.0 mmol/L or you feel hypoglycaemic. If driving is unavoidable, only drive 45 minutes after your blood glucose has returned to normal and always keep energy snack in the car even when you are fasting.
During this Holy month of Ramadan, make sure that you keep these practical tips for your safety and those around you.
As always, we at Medilink keep you in safe hands.
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