The Cure for Post-Ramadan Depression
Question: Salam Aleikom. Ramadan is over and I feel so depressed. I miss the gatherings at the mosque, the tarawih prayers, and that special spirit Ramadan has. I don’t feel like eating during the daytime, and I find myself still eagerly waiting for the time of magrib. I don’t want to go to the mosque; it feels so empty after Ramadan. How could I get back on track again after Eid? Thank you!
Salam ‘Aleikom dear brother/sister
Yes, sadly Ramadan’s departure, like a dear friend, is deeply missed. It often seems that Ramadan just starts, and then ‘Eid is upon us. After the fasting, all the iftars and sohoors in the masjid with our community, the tarawih prayers, getting closer to Allah (swt) in this intense month, giving up bad habits as well as the festivities, no wonder we can get depressed. It is like we lost a friend. However, we haven’t.
If you look at Ramadan in the context of a friend who comes offering us many spiritual gifts and opportunities for growth, we can continue to develop and refine these gifts even after Ramadan. Yet, the feeling of depression is real.
Muslim Voice attributes Post Ramadan Depression (PRD) to “a lack of meal before sunrise, loss of willingness to be consistent with good habits, eating at normal hours, a lack of meal at sunset, the emptiness of masjids for all prayers and seeing others return to their past habits”. While these attributes are in part a result of getting back into the “everyday grind”, it can be partially sustained by fasting for an additional six days of Shawwal as well as designating the sunnah days of Mondays and Thursdays to fast.
Also, go to the masjid daily to pray. There may only be a few people there, but you are going to worship Allah (swt). As a habit takes around 21 days to develop, going once a day should now be a habit as you have already fit it into your schedule and as such, you’re already prepared to go. Praying in the masjid brings many blessings.
Also, chose one or two habits you developed during Ramadan and keep them. Whether it was reading a certain number of pages of Qur’an, giving charity, helping out at the Masjid, continue doing so!
It is important to realize that some of the acquired habits and activities we did in Ramadan can be and should be continued after Ramadan. For instance, our more devoted prayers increased dhikr, our reading Qur’an regularly; our giving up of bad habits, our increase in charity as well as the additional benefits of Ramadan should be with us to carry us through the next 11 months.
So, instead of feeling depressed (which some of us naturally do), we should look upon it as a time to sustain the increased efforts of all the good habits we developed during Ramadan. Additionally, we should seek to maintain the Islamic spirit of brother/sisterhood that we developed by reaching out to our Muslim brothers/sisters and have lunch together, or dinner, plan a get together to feed the homeless on a weekly or monthly basis, or meet at the Masjid to pray or study Qur’an together.
While after Ramadan, many do fall back socially, yes, as life is filled with work, families, and responsibilities; however, it may be possible to retain these precious connections by reaching out and staying in touch. No, it will not feel like Ramadan does, but it will serve to fortify and strengthen what we have spiritually strived for during Ramadan, as it should. An example would be preserving and the continued increasing of taqwa (consciousness & fear of Allah).
Islamicity discussed taqwa and fasting stating that “The attitude of taqwa cannot and does not stay in the confines of the human spirit but is ultimately revealed in expression and action. The attitude of taqwa is ultimately revealed in and, in turn, reveals the true character it nurtures: the commitment to the sublime values stressed by divine revelations of courage, generosity, compassion, honesty, steadfastness, and cooperation in pursuing what is right and true. Nothing does empower a community more than the development of the moral character of its members. By embodying the moral values of revelation, people can have a higher social life, one that is based on mutual respect and help, as it is based on honest and fair dealings, and a sense of duty that encourages people to observe the principles of right and justice as they pursue their varying and competing interests.”
So, as Ramadan ends, do we leave our attainment (in sha’ Allah) of higher taqwa behind? Or do we seek to keep elevating this precious gift that was given? While we may be sad to see our once filled Masjids now nearly empty after Ramadan, we can ease post-Ramadan depression by realizing that everything we do, we do out of love, fear, and obedience to Allah (swt).
“Make your whole life like Ramadan, and death will greet you like ‘Eid’ (Anonymous).”
Counselor: Aisha Mohammad-Swan