These are strange times. And in the midst of all this chaos, while we do everything we can to stay home, we have a somewhat peculiar question for you: How many of us are keeping our New Year’s resolutions?

No one would have thought in January of this year that, a few weeks later, we would all be in isolation to protect ourselves against a global pandemic. Now we are all social distancing, caring for our loved ones, and trying to protect ourselves against a disease we still don’t fully understand Kambo.

Every day we are presented with changes in those things that we take for granted. From the cancellation of sporting events, to offices that work completely online, to the closure of educational centers and home delivery orders from restaurants. These measures are changing our reality.

Every year, we set a series of resolutions to improve as people. Within a few months, most of us begin to decline because we never have “enough time.” Now, unexpectedly, we have a lot of free time. Now, suddenly, we don’t have to rush to get to work in the morning. Now we don’t have so much entertainment at night, like eating out, sports games or shopping.

Now we come face to face with ourselves. Without the excuses of external distractions, who are we? How do we spend our time? Perhaps, in a world that overly defined our self-worth by who we are in public, this is a reminder to work just as hard on who we are in private.

Perhaps this is the ideal time to dust off old ideas and revisit the improvements and goals we wanted to achieve at the beginning of the year. And, perhaps, we can also invest this time in strengthening our spirituality before the arrival of Ramadan, since we are all at home.

Many of us look forward to Ramadan as a time to recharge and connect. All year round, we eagerly await its benefits and blessings. We look forward to family iftars , congregational prayers, and opportunities to improve.

But as we realize that the month of Ramadan may be very different this year from home, we must not miss its benefits and the hidden opportunity it provides us. The challenge will be to develop new routines to achieve our goals during that special month. And, this year, without the usual routines occupying our time, this work can begin right now.

As we realize that the month of Ramadan may be very different this year from home, we must not miss its benefits and the hidden opportunity it provides us.

By spending a little time each day, you will be able to welcome Ramadan this year with peace of mind and excitement, instead of sadness and anxiety. The fruits of the efforts to work on oneself will occur in those moments when we need them most.

Here are some tips on how to start working on yourself during this time:

Take advantage of your extra time at home in the morning and afternoon

Now that we no longer have to spend our time commuting to work, it is a good time to create a stress-free morning and evening routine. Establish healthy habits that you can also use in suhoor and iftar , which will help you have a more blessed Ramadan.

Create a morning routine that is not stressful
Now is not the time to stay asleep and get up just to work. Even if you are at home, get up early and have a good and healthy breakfast. See if you can work on some personal projects if you have extra time (like those morning stretches you’ve always wanted to do). Ideally, work shouldn’t be the start of your day, but rather a part of your morning.

Start the habit of reciting morning supplications
Even if you can’t meet your coworkers for coffee in the morning, what you can do is take advantage of that time to connect with your spirituality. Set a time to step away from your desk every morning for 15 minutes and bless the Prophet and recite supplications that will help you, and even do a little dikr . It can help you concentrate and relieve stress. Make it a habit that continues throughout Ramadan and when everything returns to normal.

Establish a bedtime routine that helps you relax
You’ve spent the entire day glued to your computer. And, chances are you’ve been spending more time in front of the screen watching movies or the evening news. So look up “sleep hygiene” before bed (search those terms for more ideas). Turn off the screens and read a book. Talk to your family. Maybe start that art project you’ve wanted to do for years. This helps you increase concentration, which will also help you during night prayers during Ramadan.

Reserve time for other projects daily, spiritual and personal

Once again, we can use the time we have left as an opportunity to do those things that we always wanted to do and that the excuse of “if I had time” prevented us from doing. Have you always wanted to try a new hobby? Now you have the opportunity. Open a meme account on social media? Here’s your chance. Better prepare for Ramadan by memorizing the Quran? Here is a divine decree that is helping you do it from home.

Dedicate time to your prayers
We have all complained at some point about our lack of khushu’ (concentration) in prayers, and how many times have we prayed in haste. Now is your chance to take your time while staying home. She begins by doing ablution meticulously. Make your intention sincere. And then take your time in supplications and dhikr. Make it a point of reconnection with your Lord.

Develop a plan and follow it
Park everything when you go to develop your plan and mark the time you will dedicate to it on the calendar. Ask your family not to disturb you at that time and leave aside all distractions such as mobile notifications. Take it seriously and specify what you will do at each moment. “I will memorize more Quran” is not helpful. Select in advance the suras and what days you will dedicate to each one. This way, when the time comes, you’ll just have to follow your own plan.

Don’t try to make too many changes at once
It’s very easy to be overambitious and try to change everything at once. This is a sure path to painful failure. Motivation is a limited resource in our psyche. The more we use it, the less we will have. That’s why if you start too many things at once (for example, developing a new skill, memorizing the Quran, and starting a new business), one or more of these things won’t happen and you’re more likely to give up on all of them. Therefore, set small achievable goals and celebrate your victories.

Find ways to maintain community ties from home

Especially in difficult times, we find comfort and support when we are together. And, although the circumstances are quite unusual, it is important not to let the stress of what is happening tear us apart. In fact, social isolation can worsen mental and physical health problems that pre-exist the crisis. Here are some ideas on how we can establish those ties with the community and support each other.

Preparing dinner together
Food is the universal language that we all share. Having dinner together every day gives you all a chance to connect and relax at the end of the day. To make it easier, set a time and let everyone know when it’s time to eat dinner. And make it a group effort! Ask each person in the house to take care of something for dinner, whether it’s cooking, setting the table, reheating leftovers, or making a salad. With everyone’s schedules aligned, it’s a great way to establish a routine that will bring a sense of normalcy when the month of Ramadan arrives.

Make prayers a family affair
Praying with your family or roommate is a way to instill the comfort and serenity we feel when we come together. Not only is it a praiseworthy act that leads to greater reward and forgiveness, but it is also a means for us to calm and control our anxiety in these difficult times. These daily moments of congregational prayer will be the ones we miss most during the month of Ramadan. And even if you live alone, tune into online programs that help foster that sense of community and recharge your spirituality.

Choose an activity that increases your spirituality as a family
Take advantage of the free time you have to spend good times with your family. Suggest an activity to your loved ones that prepares you to welcome the month of Ramadan together. It can be setting a specific time to recite and memorize the Quran with your family or virtually with your friends, colleagues and family members who do not live with you. Set a common goal and follow a plan to achieve it.

May mercy, compassion and charity be in your choices
And last but not least, this is a time to be kind, generous and empathetic. This pandemic is teaching us to work together to ensure the health, safety and dignity of everyone globally. It is a reminder that our response should be like a body: if pain is felt in a limb, the entire body reacts awake as a consequence. Reflecting on all the blessings we take for granted and the privileges we have, now is our opportunity to share these blessings with those most in need.

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