How to stay stress-free and alert during the working hours in Ramadan
Sitting down for long hours, particularly while fasting, can cause stress on the mind and body.
The holy month of Ramadan has just begun, and although the month is about gaining patience, perseverance and peace, it can at times turn stressful for the hundreds and thousands of residents who are fasting, yet facing stress at work in UAE.
Doctors, psychologists and fitness experts have shared some vital tips on how to deal with stress at work as well as ways to maintain a healthy mood in the office during fasting hours.
Rob Donker, health and wellness professional, said: "One of the best things anyone can do during fasting hours is to walk around every 30 minutes. This will help maintain alertness and allows the body to wake up, because it will be in a depleted and exhausted state during Ramadan, especially, during the first week."
He explained that sitting down for long hours, particularly while fasting, can cause stress on the mind and body.
"When you're sitting, you're in an unnatural state. We're not designed to remain seated - we have more than 600 muscles and more than 300 joints in our body - we're designed to move."
Moreover, the health and fitness expert said that the digestive system also becomes disengaged when sitting for long periods. He added that this will especially have a negative impact on the fasters' mood, if a heavy meal was eaten during Suhoor.
He pointed out that being in a seated position also can cause a lack of breath. "If you're in a seated position, you can't inflate your lungs to full capacity - you might only be breathing around 60-70 per cent of your full capacity. This will have a massive effect on your mood and your alertness, thus causing you greater stress."
Dr Shaimaa Mashal, specialist, internal medicine at Bareen International Hospital, said eating healthy and nutritious meals for Iftar and Suhoor have a significant impact on how much stress a person could feel the next day. "The quality and quantity of food are important - increasing fruits and vegetables help with energy, whereas eating fats, carbs, salt and sugar cause the person to feel drained, because of the rise in glucose in the body."
Dr Mashal also pointed out that increasing water intake from Iftar to Suhoor will help maintain a better mood at the workplace. "If you follow a healthy Ramadan diet and drink plenty of water, then you will feel calmer at work, because your hormones will be in the normal range."
Naser Al Riyami, psychologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), said: "Instead of responding to a colleague who is bothering you, which will only cause more stress, take a moment with yourself and control your mind through deep breathing. Take two minutes for deep breathing, whenever you feel stressed or loaded with work, it will help calm the mind."
Sasha Edwards, a Dubai-based yoga teacher, said stretching throughout the day provides a sense of relief for busy workers. She added simple yoga asanas are found to be helpful for people who fast.
Another approach to turning stress inside-out, is mindfulness-based stress reduction. "Find a comfortable seated position, (either on the floor or in a chair), then close your eyes and become aware of your breath, paying attention to it for a few minutes, as it enters and leaves your body."
Edwards added that learning to watch one's own thoughts, rather than reacting to them, provides a whole new level of freedom.