The holy month of Ramadhan takes place every year.
As with any other year, Muslims everywhere go about their daily routine minus the meals and lunch breaks usually had during the day.
Malaysians are quite blessed in the sense that the 8 to 9 hours we fast are considered short compared to other countries that can go up to 16 hours a day. But that doesn’t make it any easier.
Especially being stuck in an office, employees may feel the strain more because distractions appear often and you can’t help but ponder over what to have when breaking fast later on in the day.
So we’ve come up with these 6 tips for Muslim employees to still work happily in the office while fasting.
1) Don’t skip out on Sahur.
The struggle is immensely real.
In fact, there are quite a number of us who are willing to sacrifice Sahur (a meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting) in order to catch a few more winks before life responsibilities remind us to get up for the day.
Personally, we wouldn’t recommend this because you’ll need some form of fuel to get you through the day and be productive at work.
A Sahur meal doesn’t necessarily have to be rice with an assortment of side dishes, it can be as simple as a piece of bread and a glass of water.
Eating food high in protein and fiber has been recommended by many health experts as they make you feel satiated, digest slowly to fill you up longer and help to stabilise blood sugar levels—important when fasting.
Examples of these foods are oats, apples and nuts.
2) Stay focused on your tasks
It’s inevitable that throughout the day, you might get that slight rumble in your belly. It’s just a sign your body’s giving because it’s screaming in hunger.
Despite how embarrassing those sounds might be (especially if your colleagues are sitting near you), don’t be fazed by them and continue what you’re doing.
Try to avoid checking the time too often. You don’t want to be too focused on counting down the hours till you can break fast and end up not noticing the more important deadlines from work.
3) Keep your boss in the loop.
You may find yourself being the only one fasting among your colleagues so there are times when the culture around it might not be so known.
To make sure that things are comfortable in the office, it’s advisable to have a personal talk with your boss and clarify a few of your requests to make the Ramadhan month a little more convenient for you.
Examples for this could be discussing your schedule for Ramadhan where in exchange for going home earlier to make it in time for Iftar (the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan), you can come in earlier to start the day.
Try to keep communication lines open and be open to informing your colleagues about what Ramadhan’s all about if they have questions.
You can explain what you’re doing for this holy month and if you’re comfortable, why it’s important to you. See it as a great opportunity to encourage teamwork and understanding.
4) Take your lunch break
Okay, we don’t mean it literally (we’re not to be held accountable for any of you deciding to break your fast midday!).
Sometimes we don’t realise how just sitting at your table and staring at your laptop screen is draining, which your body will start to recognise as fatigue so it’ll send hunger pangs your way.
By taking a “lunch break”, you can take a few minutes off work to relax your mind a little.
The break can be from taking a quick power nap to even just walking around the office for a few minutes. As long as you’re not forcing your eyes to just your laptop screen, your body can take some time to recharge for the second half of your office hours.
5) Working through Iftar.
Sometimes work can be overwhelming and you find that even when Iftar comes, you’re still struggling to clear off those e-mails.
Thankfully, in this digital world full of online food delivery platforms and corporate catering services like Supplycart, you can get something sent to your office without you needing to leave your desk.
So you can break fast with a delicious meal in the comforts of your own office, which is better than risking to go out and getting caught in traffic.
If a last minute meeting suddenly pops up and the client coincidentally books it during Iftar, you can plan the meeting to be held at a restaurant or cafe so you’re able to have at least something to fill your stomach before you go full on out afterwards.
6) Be prepared for the journey home.
Speaking of traffic, here’s a familiar sight for Malaysians.
Let’s face it, Ramadhan or not, traffic jams on your way home from work is a never-ending constant congestion. In some cases, you may be stuck in one up until its time to break fast and there’s nothing you can do but weep.
However, in the event that it does, always be prepared and carry snacks like granola bars or bottled drinks so you’ll be able to have something light on the go.
You can even pack up some dates from Yusuf Taiyoob (admit it, most of you said that in a seductive whisper) because what is breaking fast without dates, right?
Just remember when that time comes, you’ll be enjoying delicious Ketupat and Rendang with family and friends.
Let us know in the comments if you have any other tips to survive Ramadhan in the office!