Needless to say, this Ramadan was a unique one for all of us.
I was at a place of privilege where I could continue to work from a spacious and comfortable home with minimal distraction.
I didn’t have to deal with a crying toddler, a demanding husband or loud neighbours.
The only forms of distraction were the ones in my head.
So I made the effort to quiet the monkey brain so that I could focus on what’s important.
As Ramadan itself was a month of reflection, being in quarantine without any external distraction made this holy month a super reflective one.
Here are the activities that I have decided to stop, start and continue doing in Ramadan and beyond.
❌ MINDLESS SCROLLING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
This was something I had been trying to stop but only managed to fully feel in control during Ramadan when all the shaytaan were on lockdown in hell. I don’t have the urge to scroll mindlessly anymore. I engage with most of the posts in the first few scrolls. And I make sure that I add value to my posts.
❌ REGRETTING THE PAST
I know very well the saying that there’s no point in regretting the past but avoiding it entirely when there’s something unsolved is not ideal either. So I did revisit my past. I wrote them down. I acknowledged them. And I wrote down action steps or goals that would make me not regret the past anymore. Feeling determined to achieve them, my mind is now occupied by my list of to-dos rather than the what-ifs.
❌ BEING PARALYSED BY INACTION
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. When I was in the reflection mode and feeling sorry for myself, I didn’t have the energy to do anything. I felt hopeless. I felt like it was too late. But of course, that’s not true. So with my refreshed goals and a set of concrete actions that I’ve broken down into smaller steps, I hope I won’t be in a state of action paralysis. My morning routine, meditation moments and self-care habits are also helping me to unblock my flow.
✅ WRITING DAILY
I’ve been calling myself a writer yet I did struggle to write articles or any worthy piece of writing, not just journalistic gibberish, on a daily basis. As a copywriter, I didn’t usually need to write such long-form pieces. My job had been more research than writing, to be honest. But now I’m gradually moving towards SEO article writing and ghostwriting which means not only do I have to do research but I’d also have to write longer pieces of articles. Suffice to say, I’ve locked in the habit of writing for a few hours each morning.
✅ BUILDING A STUDY HABIT
It’s been a while since I was a student at university. Even then, I don’t think I had in place an effective study habit. Since learning is lifelong, studying must be too. I realised that if I were to actually get information to stick and then write about them, I’d have to put in place a habit. From reading to recording the information to revisiting it to forming my own opinion. Although it’s far from perfect, at least I have started to put in place the building blocks in Ramadan.
✅ WEEKLY SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX
This is something I’m really happy about. The seed was planted by Venetia and Max La Manna who have been doing the Offline48 challenge for weeks whereby they switch off their phones during the weekend (but in this lockdown situation they switch them on only for calls). Then just when I started my Sunday detox, as though my laptop was listening to me, I came across this guy called Andrew Kirby who talked about Dopamine Detox. What he said had so much substance. So I thought I’d try not going on social media for 24 hours and see how it affected me. And oh boy, it helped clear my mind so very well. On Monday, I’d feel refreshed and ready to kickstart the week on a high. I’d highly recommend you to try the beginner challenge!
🌀 MORNING ROUTINE
I’ve put this habit in place way before Ramadan. You can read more about it here. Essentially, I dedicate an hour after I wake up to centering myself and setting my intentions right. I’m way more focused with a dedicated morning routine than I had ever been without. I’m happy that I’ve built this into my daily habit and I’ve not broken the habit for months now. But I’d still allow some room for flexibility in situations that may take me out of the routine.
🌀 TAKING CARE OF BODY
My health is my #1 priority. And so I make it a point to eat well and exercise every day. Being vegan and loving vegetables have made things easier on the nutrition part. But exercising is still a struggle as my natural state of being is that of a hermit. I have no problem not going out at all or not moving from one place for long periods of time. But I know that’s not good for my body so I’ve been keeping to the habit of a daily 20-min simple workout.
🌀 KEEPING FREELANCE WORK AFLOAT
I’ve been freelancing since August and though the pandemic has made things difficult, I somehow still managed to keep myself afloat. I’m working on securing new clients at the moment and also building up my credibility. It’s been and will continue to be a work in progress.
This Ramadan has indeed brought me to certain realisations.
It had forced me to be honest with myself and admit my flaws and inadequacies. Yet at the same time I am grateful and I know that I am enough. At this moment, I am enough and I have enough resources to turn my visions into reality.