Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 6: The Zombie Look

"You look tired," my dad commented on just day 1 of Ramadan, while I was visiting my family. I knew my giant black under-eye circles had given it away. I didn't feel tired but the first day of fasting had taken its toll on me, as my body and mind struggled to get used to the NPO state I had flung upon it without warning.

While I am working hard on my spiritual side, I have noticed that the "other" sides of me, namely the mental and physical, have fallen by the wayside. I still do yoga and bike rides a few times a week, since I've worked hard to get my fitness to where it is, and a month of not working out would be detrimental. Yet the lack of food and hydration does take a toll on normal bodily functions!

My mental faculties are slowly declining as we go further into Ramadan, I kid you not. As I was driving yesterday for a grocery run, I noticed that my reaction time was slower and my brain seemed cloudier, as evidenced by me making a left turn too suddenly. I waved apologetically, wanting to slither down my seat out of shame. Part of me wants to post a sign at the back of my car "Fasting in progress, please excuse poor driving". I vowed not to drive again that day and forced myself into a tyrade of domestic duties as punishment. Bad driver...bad, bad driver.

There are other signs of slight cognitive decline. I notice a much higher rate of typos in my blog entries and incoherent sentences, hence the need to proofread multiple times. Not that this always works! I sometimes stumble on my words when talking to others and my sustained attention isn't all that great either. My brain is starving for carbohydrates, but I'm guessing it's used to it by day 6. Oh and I have a long annual report due to two major provincial bodies today, which I could usually hammer out in a few hours. Nope, I started before Ramadan and fasting only slowed its progress as I procrastinated sitting at a computer screen for that long. I finally completed it on Friday and will need to majorly proofread it before sending it off today.

In terms of my physical being, the under eye caves are just one sign that I'm fasting. I feel the need to wear a face mask, as my breath increases in its stink-factor as the day goes on. Bless Asif for not saying anything (not that his breath is any better!). While I sometimes have the energy to do something with my hair while I'm home, I usually resort to pony-tailing it since I'd rather not expend 1000 more kilo joules of energy using a blowdryer and straightener. I'm wearing the same batch of clothes for errands (I DO put effort for iftar dinners and having friends over!) and all of a sudden, certain patterns and colours no longer clash. I also don't care as much! All I need to do is extend my arms out in front of myself and I could be a background actor for "The Walking Dead".

On the plus side of things, I've noticed that I'm much more mindful and calm with my activities and thoughts. The fear for thinking or saying something that could be negative weighs heavily on my mind and perhaps because I have entered a sloth like energy expenditure phase, I move more purposefully and truly focus on what I'm doing. How I sat and crafted (yes, CRAFTED!) for an hour and half yesterday is beyond me! This is a great benefit of Ramadan! I find outside of fasting, I have a more "on-the-go" Tigger like personality and Ramadan brings me down a few notches.

Having said all this, I love this time of year. I find that if the day gets more challenging (especially as a head cold and asthma have kicked in for some reason), I feel as though Allah makes it easier to get through the day. The five daily prayers anchor my spirituality down as I try to organize my day around these prayers rather than vice versa. I'm keeping engaged and mindful by completing meaningful activities, and in terms of my cognitive cloudiness, as long as I don't injure someone, it's all good!

And the Ramadan sunken-in look? It's actually growing on me! Alhamudilillah :)

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