6 Productive Ways to Pass the Time in Ramadan

In a society where social gatherings usually revolve around food, it’s no wonder that it can be challenging to find something stimulating to do in Ramadan.

Regardless of whether or not you’re fasting, Ramadan brings productivity to a halt for most Egyptians because working hours are cut short. As a result, a huge chunk of the population spends their time glued to their TV screens, bingeing on shows that mostly consist of long streams of advertisements anyway.

So what if you could find something more productive and just as fun to do during those dead hours of the day? Aside from praying and charity work, we’ve gathered six fun ideas for you to finish the month having achieved something other than knowing what role Adel Imam played this year.

1- Read

Getting hooked on a new book can be just as fun as getting hooked on a new show, and it can be a million times more engaging because your imagination gets to take the lead. Set a goal for yourself to read just one book this month and see how you’ll feel afterwards. Not only will you be giving your eyes a break from the constant stream of screens you’re bombarded with, you’ll also be stimulating your brain in a way that just isn’t possible with a TV show. Pro tip: If you’re finding it difficult to find a book you love, think about your favorite TV shows and get a book that revolves around the same theme or genre.

2- Watch Documentaries

If you still don’t like the idea of reading and have decided that you’re more of a visual person, no problem. Instead of watching meaningless shows that provide zero added value, give other TV programs a shot. Use Netflix or YouTube to find loads of interesting documentaries that will stimulate your brain and help you learn so much about the world. There are documentaries about wildlife, the universe, food, psychology; an almost infinite variety of interesting topics –you’re guaranteed to find something that’ll catch your eye. Pro tip: Let Neil deGrasse Tyson take you through our universe on Cosmos, or find out about the creatures lurking in the deep blue sea with David Attenborough on Blue Planet.

3- Get Crafty

If you have no idea what to do with your hands when you’re fasting (smokers, we’re looking at you!), then you might just need something that’ll keep your hands busy and distracted –and crafts are the perfect way to do that. You can learn a variety of skills, such as sketching, painting, knitting, sewing, crocheting, playing a musical instrument, jewelry making and so much more. You’ll be doing something productive and enjoyable and time will fly by! Pro tip: You can find free tutorials for almost anything on YouTube, but you can also look for courses around Cairo if you’d like a chance to get out and socialize.

4- Embrace Your Inner Chef

Give your mom a break from the kitchen and embrace your inner chef. We should all learn how to cook for ourselves, and Ramadan is a great time to practice because most people have enough time between coming home from work and iftar time to get creative in the kitchen. And because iftar time involves a variety of dishes, you can try making an entire meal from start to finish: starting with the basic soup, rice or pasta, veggies and, finally, the grand finale protein. (On the bright side, if things go south and the food doesn’t taste that good, every one will be so hungry that they’ll probably still eat anyway.) Pro tip: Don’t overwhelm yourself if you’re still a beginner. Start with one recipe every day or two before you attempt to make multiple dishes at the same time. Also, don’t burn your house down.

5- Meditate

Some people might not know this, but meditating can be very similar to praying; you find yourself letting go of all your external surroundings and feeling at peace. You begin to feel in sync with the universe around you and as a result you may even feel more connected to God. It could take a lot of time to reap the benefits of meditation because our heads have become accustomed to being filled with noise. But even from the first try, you’ll find that meditation can help you feel more relaxed and content. Pro-tip: Try meditating once a day, even if for just ten minutes. Do it after praying a certain prayer if you need a reminder. Just remember to keep your phone on silent and as far away from you as possible so you can enjoy these peaceful ten minutes just for yourself.

6- Call a Friend

Finally, if you’re just feeling bored, it never hurts to call an old friend and catch up. Look through your facebook friends list and see who you haven’t heard from in a while. They’ll appreciate that you cared enough to remember them –after all, Ramadan is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with the people you love! Pro-tip: Don’t talk about the usual topics that revolve around how the Ramez show isn’t funny or how hot the weather is. Genuinely ask about how they’re doing!

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