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Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Staying the Course during Ramadan

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Staying the Course during Ramadan

While Ramadan is a month of reflection and sharing, it is also a testament to discipline and routine. Whether you are fasting as part of your spiritual journey or exploring the cultural traditions of the region, it always helps to get a sense of this yearly purification from life-long expert practicioners. 

From career woman to head of the family, these four women give us a sense on how to maintain balance while navigating the Holy Month through work, play, family and health.

 

Shahi: The Full Time Style-Bae

Shahi: The Steadfast Style-Bae / @shahisms

Fave Ramadan Treat…?

Ramadan TV series; there is something cathartic about watching a series that airs daily for 30 days and then it is done. No 2nd season, no remake.

Breaking Fast…?

The traditional way with a date or two and a sizeable glass of water, followed by some soup. I wait a bit longer before tackling a healthy portion for dinner.

Working Out…?

It's definitely different to my usual morning workout routine. During Ramadan, the best time is right before iftar. I generally like practicing yoga or EMS (Electric Muscle Stimulation) instead of overexerting myself with cardio. 

What about striking a balance…

Life slows down a lot because of reduced work hours. Daily iftars means spending a lot of time with loved ones, a luxury that’s usually hard to come by when everyone is functioning on their standard work mode.

Personal self-restraint…?

People often forego the less obvious forms of abstinence during Ramadan. Other than food and drink, there is also an attempt to be less judgemental and a gossipmongerer. I try to keep that in check, as well as dedicate more time to charitable acts.

What of style…?

I like to really get into the Ramadan vibe with kaftans and turbans. Loose clothing and elasticated waistbands are key! I’m also big on statement earrings right now. 

Go-To Beauty Secret...?

Water, water, water! Hydration is key so I down 1.5L between iftar and dawn. It’s quite a challenge as you have half the time to get the right water intake so I make sure to carry a large bottle of water with me every night.

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Dina:  Afro-Chic Sartorial Guru / @the_eripolitan + @efroandco

Fave Ramadan Treat…?

It’s hard to choose between all the rituals, but if I had to choose one (or two), there is something very special about family and friends come together to break fast around the world and in different homes. 

Breaking Fast…?

Tradition dictates dates, a glass of water and/or soup. As an added bonus, I like to mix it up with some savoury and sweet pastries like samosas, lugmat, khamira. It’s important to keep the first meal light and pace yourself otherwise we risk feeling bloated or stuffed for the follow up meals/snacks.

Working Out…?

As a stylist and designer, I’m always on the go. Throw in this heat and you’re looking at a full-fledged cardio workout. It’s very easy to over-exert yourself, so the best thing you can do is listen to your body and rest up if you plan on working out. 

What about striking a balance…

When you run your own business, work never sleeps or slows, but Ramadan is a good reminder to take a bit of time for myself, friends and family. In the end, it always works itself out when you know when to push the ‘pause’ button.

Personal self-restraint…?

My personal challenge is to cut down on social media this month. A big chunk of the business is dependent on social media, so it means bringing my awareness to the time I spend on the gram and other platforms for personal use.  Everything in moderation!

What of style…?

Afro-chic with a touch of street is my jam.  When in doubt, sneakers paired with an ol’ skool sweatsuit or windbreaker and the post iftar-friendly pair of cotton yoga trousers makes for my perfect fit.

Go-To Beauty Secret...?

Fresh pineapple lemon baobab juice for rehydration and energy. My mother makes sure I drink this all the time (even on normal days) and we source the baobab from Sudan or Eritrea. I also love a good mudpack with rosemary oil from the Dead Sea to hydrate my skin.

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Maha: Matriach à la Mode / @mahagorton

Fave Ramadan Treat…?

We have our own traditions as a family where we decorate the house, which we all enjoy as it gets the kids excited about the month ahead. We break fast together with our parents and siblings every day, which is so special to me.

Breaking Fast…?

I like to break my fast with water, a date and then something light like soup or salad. My daughter is fasting this year and I keep reminding her to pace herself and drink a lot of water.

Working Out…?

I usually prefer to workout first thing in the morning when my energy level is at its peak, but during Ramadan I save my training for the afternoon. My workouts involve a lot of cardio, but while fasting I pull back a little. Otherwise I keep it pretty much the same.

What about striking a balance…

I often get asked about maintaining a balance and in all honesty I don’t know! Something always takes priority. At the moment the kids need more of my help so I have had to forego my workouts, for example. I sometimes have to travel for work or have to go to meetings when the kids are home. There’s always a push and pull, give and take.

Personal self-restraint…?

I try to reset and refocus – find time that would have been otherwise been spent watching a random show or scrolling through social media to do something more constructive, rewarding or beneficial.

What of style…?

I’m a shirt, jeans and ballerinas girl. Although at the moment I’m loving culottes over jeans especially in this heat! On occasional I’ll upgrade my Ramadan look to kaftan chic for that extra oomph.

Go-To Beauty Secret...?

Water, water, water! Green juice and overnight oats for suhoor.

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Mariam:  High-Speed & In Vogue / @mariam.albadr

Fave Ramadan Treat…?

We are all a little more conscious of our good fortune and we find ways to give back to our community. There is a lot of room for spiritual discussions, especially in appreciating differences in individual practices and our respective connection to our faiths.

Breaking Fast…?

I usually start with a sip of water and something light, like dates or a piece of fruit. I don’t push my boys to fast because they are still young (six and nine). Instead, we talk about what the month means and how they can take part in it without fasting. When they try half days or even a few hours of fasting, I make sure they eat fruits like watermelon or apples which are high in water content and refreshing.

Working Out…?

I’m very much a morning person. I like to wake up for Fajr and workout immediately. This year I’ve been really focused on my fitness as I normally gain weight in Ramadan. I’m determined to get fit this Ramadan! I have to say that my afternoon naps are what gets me to the finish line.

What about striking a balance…

Ultimately, it’s all about listening to what you need on any particular day and making sure you also find time for your loved ones.

Personal self-restraint…?

I try to spend more time with my boys talking about Ramadan and how spirituality manifests itself in our lives. If I spend a little bit more time doing that, then I end up spending a little less time on social media or watching TV.

What of style…?

One of my favorite Ramadan traditions is wearing a different Jalabiya to work every day. Needless to say, the whole office takes part in comparing and sharing their style finds every morning!

Go-To Beauty Secret...?

I always use a more hydrating serum; the lack of regular water throughout the day makes my skin drier. I also slather on a nourishing sleep mask just before bedtime to wake up with glowing plump skin!

 

Cover illustration by Tyler Spangler (@tyler_spangler). For more information about his work, click here.

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