Almost half way through Ramadan and you've managed to soldier through and stay strong! We continue our weekly series with tips and tricks on how to get the most out of the holy month.
Ramadan is meant to be a month of peace, introspection and charity, yet the extremist crazies of the world has somehow turned this month into one of extraordinary cruelty and violence. Bomb blasts on families in Baghdad, explosions at a diplomatic zone in Kabul and at one of the funerals that followed, complete chaos in the Philippines, stabbings in London – the list is endless. And let's not forget our home grown terrorism forcing indigenous people to lose their home and land. Start your week with a prayer – we could all use a little love and forgiveness during such dark times. And most importantly, make sure you educate your children and loved ones about the darkness that is spreading around us, and how to fight it.
Middle of Ramadan is the best time to start planning out your Eid shopping. You must already have a list of people you need to give clothes to, but how about looking into your finances and finding space for a few additions? Look around you – does your security guard wear the same tshirt everyday? Do you have a local garbage man whose wife could use a new sari? Are there a few children in tattered clothes that tend to hang around your street? A little can go a long way for those who don't have much.
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We know you must be really tired, but try and make time to converse with people around you. Whether it is asking your maid what colour sari she actually wants for Eid or just asking your grandmother how her day went, showing a little interest in another human being can make all the difference. Just a little effort from you could bring a lot of happiness to those who don't usually have a lot of reasons to smile during the day.
Want to give yourself a mid-week treat? Go catch a movie with family or a bunch of friends. Middle of the week is the perfect time to go since the halls will be relatively empty, especially right after or before iftaar. And what better movie to watch than the awesome superhero blockbuster that is Wonder Woman? Smashing records left, right and centre, this movie may just have changed what we think is a 'chick flick' forever (and thank God for that!).
Meditate. Collect your thoughts. This is not just something you should do during Ramadan – in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we all need to take some time and tune out. Be thankful for your blessings, love those around you and think of new ways to bring light and joy into this world. It might sound cheesy at first, but there are many of us who feel unhappy and unsatisfied with our lives. We buy new phones, expensive clothes and try and create as much noise as possible to drown it out, but often it just makes things worse. At the end of the day, you have to be enough for yourself, and a little peace and meditation can help you realise that.
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A little meditation and calm is a great way to travel the road to inner peace, but it's easier said than done. And for a lot of people around you, it's almost impossible to be happy on your own, without tackling the condition that they suffer from. Depression is one of the most pressing mental health issues of our time, yet there is still a great deal of social stigma attached to just talking about it. If you have a friend who you suspect suffers from depression, reach out. Offer your help. Sometimes even knowing there is someone supporting you can be enough.
Last week we asked you to educate yourself about other existing religions. If you're a fan of the fantastic though, why not delve into ones that no longer exist? Neil Gaiman's most recently released Norse Mythology is an easy to read and incredibly interesting exploration of Odin, Thor and their kind that all bookworms out there really need to pick up immediately.