Tips for looking after your mental health during Ramadan

The holy month of Ramadan is a time of spiritual practice and deepening your relationship with God. Throughout Ramadan, people reflect on the stories and lessons of the Qur’an, as well as exploring how this applies to your own life. It is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, and a time many look forward to. 

“Ramadan is a month to cleanse my soul and body and detox my brain from all negative thoughts and behaviours”.

During Ramadan, you may make significant changes to your habits and routine. This includes fasting, prayer, and studying the Qur’an. You may also spend more time with your family, friends and community, and practicing good deeds and charitable giving.

The changes you make during Ramadan can affect your mental health in different ways. For example, connecting with your family, friends and community can boost your wellbeing and happinessYour mental health during Ramadan might also be influenced by other important things happening in your life, or changes in your circumstances. 

To get the most from Ramadan, it’s important to look after your mental health. 

Text reads "Ramadan Kareem" with lanterns and mosque in background.

8 tips to look after your mental health for Ramadan

1. Look after your physical health

Physical and mental health are closely linked. Looking after your body can help your mind, just as looking after your mind can help your body. 

Eat healthily: The food you eat can greatly affect your mood. So, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is crucial for good mental health. During Ramadan, when you usually have a shorter window to eat during night-time hours, it’s important to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet, including slow-energy releasing foods. 

Read the information and tips on having a healthy Ramadan from the British Nutrition Foundation.

Don’t forget water: We all know how easy it is to forget to drink enough water. And this can be especially the hard when you’re fasting. Something that can help with this is keeping track of how much you’re drinking. Some people find a water bottle with measurements helpful for this. It can also help to write down how much you drink. 

If you’re caring for someone with an eating disorder during Ramadan, you may be interested in the eating disorder charity BEAT’s free course, Coping with celebrations: Ramadan. They also offer a helpline, open 7 days a week, 3pm to 8pm. 

Dates and prayer beads on pink background

2. Look after your sleep

Night-time prayer and timings for eating during night-time hours can often have an impact on your sleep. This will particularly affect those of you who are unable to change your routine to sleep during the day, and therefore need to eat, pray and sleep during an often short window of night-time hours. 

It’s important to be mindful of how this will affect your energy when you plan your time. You might find it helpful to nap during the day, and/or taking breaks more regularly if you’re working or studying, for example. 

If changing your routine means you’re struggling to sleep, take a look at our guide to sleeping better. 

How to sleep better

3. Connect with others 

Ramadan is a time to connect with your family, friends, and community. There are many opportunities to get together and connect with others, whether to share meals or pray and learn with each other. 

Relationships can have a significant affect on your mental health. People who are more socially connected to family, friends, or their community are happier, physically healthier and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected.

During Ramadan, the mosque is a great place to come together, where you’ll be welcome whether you come alone or with others. You can go to the mosque for prayers as well as for iftar. 

If you’re not able to go to the mosque, another way to feel connected to your community is to watch or listen to prayers and teachings on the TV or radio, such as the Voice of Islam radio or the Islam channel

There are also online communities you can join, whether that’s for prayer and lessons, or to connect with people during iftar. 

4. Talk to people if you are struggling or need help

There can be lots of different reasons why you might struggle with your mental health. You may be going through a big life change or dealing with challenging circumstances, or you may be experiencing a mental health problem, or a physical health problem that’s affecting your wellbeing. Any of these things might affect you during Ramadan.  

Whatever you’re going through, remember that you’re not alone. 

It might help to talk to someone at your mosque, like your Imam, or someone leading or participating in a group. It’s important to find someone you trust who you feel you can open-up to. 

You might want to talk to someone you don’t know, but who can understand your situation. This might be through a helpline, or through a therapist.

Man talking to an Imam

5. Be kind and do good deeds

During Ramadan, there is a focus on developing good habits, which includes kind deeds and helping others. Our research shows that doing good can help you feel good. There is evidence that kindness can reduce stress and improve our emotional wellbeing.

Good deeds to do during Ramadan could be: 

  • volunteering in your local community
  • giving to a charitable cause
  • helping your friends, family or neighbours
  • sharing food with others
  • donating to food banks; or
  • helping out with a local litter pick.

Remember that giving should be within your means and capability. Right now, many people are affected by the high cost-of-living and may not be able to give as much as they have in previous years, and that’s ok. 

Get more ideas for good deeds through our ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ blog. 

Good deeds for Ramadan - illustrations of each good deed found in the bullet point list.

6. Write down your reflections and feelings

Ramadan is a spiritual month, that involves personal reflection and growth. So, it’s expected that different thoughts and feelings may come up through prayer, learning, and contemplation. 

To help you recognise and manage your feelings and reflections during Ramadan, it can help to write them down. For example, you might try to write down how different practices make you feel and what you’d like to continue after Ramadan. All you need is a notepad and a pen, or you can take notes on your phone, tablet or computer. 

Open notebook with a hand writing inside.

7. Set realistic goals and don’t compare yourself to others

You may wish to set your own personal goals during Ramadan. These can help you make the most out of Ramadan and keep you motivated and focused. 

Try to make sure your goals are realistic and work for you. Remember, Ramadan is not meant to be a burden or unachievable. 

We’re all different and unique individuals, with different lives and priorities. And while there are many shared practices during Ramadan, it’s ok for Ramadan to look different for different people. 

Try not to compare yourself to others, whose routines and practices for Ramadan look different than yours. 

For example, it can be easier for some people to go the mosque more frequently than others. So, while you might want to visit the mosque more frequently, don’t feel bad if you’re not able to. 

Or, if you’re not able to fast, or need to stop fasting, remember that you will have an opportunity to make up for it later (if you are able to). 

8. Keep an open-mind to learning

There are so many opportunities to learn during Ramadan, so it’s good to keep an open-mind and embrace new knowledge and understanding. 

There are lots of different ways to learn during Ramadan, and you might want to try different ones to find out what works best for you. Some people prefer to listen to lessons, through podcasts or the radio, such as the Voices of Islam. Others may prefer watching lessons on the TV or short videos, such as those on the The Yaqeen Institute (US) website. Or you might enjoy learning together with others at the mosque. 

All these different ways to learn are valid. So why not explore different ones, and see what helps you the most? 

Qur'an open on a stand

For people living with long-term conditions

If you have a health problem, remember that there are exceptions and accommodations for observing Ramadan to ensure you stay well. If you’re unsure about how to fast safely, seek help and advice through your GP

If you feel comfortable to, you may also want to talk about your concerns with your Imam, or someone else at your mosque or in your community.

Read this advice on managing a health condition during Ramadan from Patient UK

For people living with a mental health problem

Exceptions and accommodations for Ramadan include for mental health problems. Fasting and other parts of Ramadan can be difficult for people with certain mental health problems. It’s important to talk to a professional about your mental health in the context of Ramadan. They may be able to advise on how you can observe Ramadan while prioritising your health and wellbeing, and help you plan for different scenarios. 

For professionals

Getting help

  • The Muslim Youth Helpline provides faith and culturally sensitive advice by phone, WhatsApp and email. Call their helpline 7 days a week (4pm-10pm) 0808 808 2008.
  • The Muslim Community Helpline offers a non-judgmental listening and emotional support service for Muslims in the UK. Call their helpline on 0208 904 8193 (10am to 1pm, Monday – Friday). 
  • The Muslim Women’s Network offers a specialist faith and culturally sensitive helpline and counselling service by phone, email, text and webchat. Call 0800 999 5786 (10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday). 

Find more mental health support on our get help page. 

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