Even though energy levels deplete as the day goes on, fasting isn't intended an excuse to become idle at work. Muslims believe that they are rewarded for continuing to work and for being productive while fasting. That doesn't mean that someone fasting should make their life unnecessarily difficult for themselves though. There are several practical considerations to bear in mind.
An obvious example would be to avoid doing outdoorsy activities in the midday sun if you can. I learned the hard way that being in the midday sun can have traumatic effects. I'm speaking now about a childhood incident where my family adopted a little lizard (with the lazy name 'Lizzie') which we had found on our mountainside doorstep during the Winter. We fed it spiders and locusts and, in return, the lizard made us look exotic to all our Welsh neighbours.
Then the Summer came. But so did the Sun...
One day we returned home after a long day trip to find that the lizard tank had been under the full blaze of the sun all day. And poor Lizzie the lizard had been, for want of a better word... desiccated!
Likewise, we shouldn't let ourselves become desiccated during the day. When it’s hitting around 35 degrees, the only logical solution is to act like human lizard. Go out early before the heat accumulates and then flee into a stone building to escape the heat!
Funnily enough, only an hour after writing this, I happened to come across a baby lizard in our kitchen which was seeking the shade. Why it came all the way up to the second floors I've no idea, but once here, it dived into a pile of tinned tomatoes and I haven't seen it since!
But I digress...
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Taking into consideration the fact that you can easily feel dizzy without food or water, actions should be slow-mo smooth. That means no more spinning around like Taz from the Looney Toons! The number of bruises on my knees and elbows goes down significantly during Ramadan because I’m no longer bumping into things. It also saves me from the red-faced embarrassment of students hearing me yelp when I crash into the furniture.
Avoiding frantic dashes up and down corridors requires you to be more organised and so preparation is key during this month. You may want to consider leaving the house five minutes earlier so that you give yourself plenty of time to casually stroll to work or catch the bus. This saves you the hassle of missing a bus and being a sweaty mess when you arrive at your destination, hardly the idea way to start your day.
Remember, once you’re out of breath, you’re going to be stuck that way for a long while. Unlike Link in The Legend of Zelda, we’re not able to simply restart the game if we've got one heart left in our life meter or pick up hearts that someone else left behind.
Perhaps could you combine several jobs in one and be more productive with your time and energy? Better yet, you can plan ahead in the morning so that you can do several jobs together. For example, I try to do all my daily photocopying in advance at the beginning of the day, so that I don’t have to go back and forth later on in the day when drowsiness and "fasting brain" kick in.
It’s important to do your job well, so it’s a good idea to mull over ways you could conserve energy while still doing your job to the best of your ability. As a teacher, my job involves a lot of leaping up from your seat to write on the whiteboard or standing for long periods of time. This is enough to make you dizzy at the best of times so I try to avoid this as much as possible during Ramadan. Rather than bouncing up and down, I change tactics and explain things using mime, gestures or a notepad between us as a whiteboard.
It’s a small change which students probably won’t even notice but it makes a huge difference when you’re working for eight hours a day. Most importantly, it allows you to teach at the same standard for the whole day. Afterall, no one wants a teacher slumped over their desk!
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How do you find fasting at work during Ramadan?
What small changes do you make to your daily routine to accommodate Ramadan?
Link of the Day
Interfaith Ramadan has only been running for just over a week now, but it's been wonderful to see so many people sharing their experiences of Ramadan, fasting and their own faith. In the link below, David Lane, who has been wonderfully encouraging during the last week, shares his experience of fasting as a non-Muslim and speaks about his interactions with Muslims in Doncaster this week.
Looking Back On My Small Effort