One of the most challenging aspects of fasting during Ramadan can be keeping energy levels up throughout the day, especially since most of us are working and at our most active during fasting hours.
It’s even tougher when many of our most common energy-boosting go-tos, like grabbing a cup of coffee or a quick snack, or even having a glass of water, aren’t options if you’re fasting during Ramadan. Even trying to get more sleep can be challenging when you’re trying to incorporate early morning prayers into your Ramadan routine. Fortunately, there are plenty of other things you can do to keep your energy levels up, and we’re sharing our favourite fasting-friendly energy-boosters here to help you get through to iftar time!
Stress saps your energy. When you’re stressed, your heart beats faster, blood rushes to your muscles to help them move faster and your blood pressure rises. All this burns more calories and uses up more of your energy stores than you would when you’re relaxed. When you notice you’re starting to feel stressed, take a few moments to engage in a de-stressing activity. Anything from meditation, spending a few moments outside, watching a funny video on YouTube, or chatting with some friends. It can even be as simple as taking a few good deep breaths. You can also repeat an inspirational saying to yourself that reminds you why you’re fasting while you take those deep breaths. Check our inspirational digital wallpapers for some great examples. Keeping your stress levels down is one of the best ways to keep your energy levels on an even keel.
2. Ask for Help
We all know that the harder we work, the more energy we need, and for many of us – moms especially – our to-do lists are longest at holiday time. Many moms feel like they have to take on the bulk of the housework and holiday tasks, but it doesn’t have to be that way! When you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out and ask for help from family and friends. Not only will this help lighten your workload, but it will make all of Ramadan (including the prep work!) feel like a real family and community effort.
3. Get Moving! (A Little!)
Many of us spend at least part of our fasting hours at work, and that usually means in a chair in front of a computer. You’d think that all that sitting still would make us feel full of energy, given that we’re expending less, but we need some movement to help release hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine that help us feel energized.
But this tip comes with a big caveat: when you’re fasting, you can’t replenish energy stores whenever you want, so this is not the time to go for a big workout. Fortunately, you don’t need to hit the gym to get a movement-induced energy boost. Studies show that going for a 10-minute walk is enough to leave you feeling energized for the next two hours, so going for a short walk or a gentle movement class like slow-paced yoga or tai chi is all you need!
4. When You Do Eat, Eat For Energy
By the time iftar hits, you’ll probably be tempted to eat the first thing (or everything!) in sight. But Ramadan is a month long – it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so train your body to fast like a champion by eating the right nutrients when it’s time to break that fast!
Try to steer clear of too many sugars and refined carbs and eat lots of protein, healthy fats (think of the monounsaturated fats in olive oil and the omega-3 fats in fish) and fibre. Foods that are high in these nutrients tend to be lower on the glycemic index, which basically means they keep you feeling fuller longer and help you avoid the blood-sugar fluctuations that can lead to mid-day crashes in energy levels. And good news! The suhoor date is extremely high in blood-sugar-balancing fibre, so not only are dates the traditional way to break your fast, they’re also a really smart nutritional choice!