10 Best Energy-Boosting Habits

healthHabits are the ways which we repeatedly do. It is a common saying that,

“First we make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

They have profound effect on our life and relationships. Following are some easy going tips which truly give a pop up and refreshing effect to our stagnant life; and also help us to be a better person and a good Muslim.

1. Sleep

Sleep is an integral part of our routine. Studies recommend catching  6 – 7 hours of sleep daily. An uninterrupted good night sleep boosts up energy levels and mood. Make a habit of giving a signal to your brain at Maghrib (sunset) that you are going to sleep at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. Put off all the gadgets and devices half an hour before your sleep time.

2. Recite the Quran

We, as Muslims, recite our holy book- but the idea is to develop it as a morning ritual before engaging into any other activity. Do it daily – you will notice that the whole day will be quite different and blissful from the previous one.

3. Work out / Exercise

Twice a day workout is the best thing to boost up your energy levels. Even a simple brisk walk for 30-thirty minutes is a way to keep apart a number of diseases and your weight in control. It also boosts self-confidence and is known to cure mild to moderate depression.

4. Drink plenty of water

Don’t wait till you get thirsty. Drink before the urge comes and in small gulps to avoid bloating.

5. Never skip the breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day to keep the energy levels constant throughout the day- but I am talking about a healthy breakfast. Oatmeal and porridge should be a must-have-everyday part of the breakfast.

6. Healthy meal plan

Include as many vegetables and fruits in your diet as you can. They not only make you full and release your urge to eat more, but also provide with the necessary nutrition and maintain weight- making you and your weight machine happy. Also meat should be limited to once a week.

7. Take Dinner Early

The dinner should be light and taken at least two hours before sleep. This will give enough time to the body to digest it- thus, preventing heart burn.

8. Be Positive

Try to be a person who can face any situation with

“Allah (swt), what an opportunity!” rather than, “Oh! What a Problem!”

Every person has difficulties, but whoever greets them cheerfully, will be the winner in the end. Count your blessings every day- this will be push you to next step.

9. Meditate

Give yourself sometime just before sleep to meditate. Close the door, take deep breaths and think about your day, yourself, your achievements and goals.

10. Get back to your goals 

Last but not the least- there are situations and happenings where we all lose our daily routine; but the best person is the one who reverts back to his routine as soon as possible. Stick to it!

Wish you all good health because without this bounty we can’t enjoy the blessings of our life.

Recipe for a Healthy Life

foodFood

Fill with food 1/3 of your stomach’s capacity.

Instructions for meals:

  • Make sure that you daily eat foods of different colours.
  • Your daily diet must include some greens, such as spinach, mint or cucumber.
  • Include in your meals a variety of food groups: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beef, mutton, birds, fish, herbs, spices, grains, etc.
  • Don’t overcook your food.
  • Eat fruits daily, but only on an empty stomach.
  • Consume carbohydrates, protein, vitamin, minerals and fiber in the required ratio.
  • Avoid processed and sugary food.

Air and Water

Fill 1/3 of your stomach with water and allow the last 1/3 left for air.

Instructions for water consumption:

  • Drink 1- ­ 2 glasses of water either half an hour before or two hours after your meal.
  • Drink water early in the morning – as soon as you wake up.
  • Don’t drink water, while having a meal.

Body Fitness and Hygiene

  • Include in your daily routine two walks: a brisk morning walk of 20 – 40 minutes and a slow evening walk (100 small steps) after dinner.
  • Avoid eating before and after exercise for at least half an hour.
  • Take a full body bath either in the morning or before retiring to bed.
  • Brush your teeth twice or thrice with Miswak.
  • Think positive and be proactive.
  • Smile often!
  • Go to bed maximum at eleven o’clock.
  • Take one spoon of honey in water before sleep.
  • Start your day early. Avoid sleeping after Fajr.
  • Take a nap after lunch. Do not exhaust yourself.

Spiritual Connection

  • Thank Allah (swt) for every blessing you have.
  • Pray five times a day. For men – do your prayers in Masjid.

(Part 2) Public restroom etiquettes: Meet the elephant in the room!

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6) Extra-hygiene means extra-danger

In your effort to be super hygienic, don’t wash your hands so many times or do ablution so obsessively that you flood the whole place. Use the water reasonably.

Another extreme is flushing the toilet with foot instead of a hand. People, with hands PLEASE! Acrobatics required to use your foot to flush raise your risk of injury from slipping and falling – if you’re standing on one leg to flush the toilet. A flamingo can do it well, you can’t. It may end you up in way more mess than you thought you can get into, from touching the handle.

Some people go to extra length by not sitting on the seat and hovering closely above it. Now, if you were in the one ply cubicle, the floor art is understandable, because they move with a tiny gush of wind even. So, please, don’t hover above the seat, making it difficult for you to find balance.

You are in a world of communicable diseases, I accept! But a research says that 18% of your phones are more germ-ish than the toilet seat (unless you put the phone ON the toilet seat). So might as well save yourself the extra agony and perch your rear end on the seat. Don’t be a human spaceship.

If you are going all Indian toilet style up on the European toilet, then at least clean after yourself. Your shoe/slipper prints will be all over the seat. Roll the tissue around your hand and just clean it. I’m sure your mother taught you that as well, before you had an accident, in which you lost your memory on cleaning manners. By ‘you’ I mean people, not YOU, of course. You wouldn’t do that, would you!?!

7) Patience is virtue, lying is not

You may usually find a long line in front of washrooms, in places where there are little to no WCs available. Usually, the queue would literally be hanging by the bathroom doors (if handles are available that is, otherwise – hanging by the holes). You may just want to stand in line calmly, because the person in front of you deems every move from you as a line-breaking threat, and they have thought of every clever way to stop you. It may include physical violence as well. What impatience does to human beings sometimes!

There are times, when calm is a word in dreams only. You will enter a stampede and the next thing you know, you’re in a washroom.

And even though it sounds like a better option than waiting in line, and you may want to be the one to start that stampede through witty pretense – but it’s not! It usually involves pushing, shouting, hitting, lying, knocking each other down, etc. (perhaps hair pulling as well). Bad deeds don’t add up to success. Even if you manage to push all other contestants in line, it won’t feel like a victory. So avoid being in that group.

Don’t claim ownership of the bathroom. Or tell people that you’re waiting for your family member in there (thinking we all are after all brothers and sisters since Adam and Eve were our greatest fore-parents). Your turn will come, Insha’Allah, don’t worry.

Save yourself from unnecessary lies. (And who doesn’t know, lying is bad anyway.) Don’t render your Hajj/Umrah or any religious act that you are going to perform afterwards or performed before, useless.

8) Your kids are YOUR responsibility

Help the little ones before you help yourself. Their level of control is zero, as compared to yours. But first commode in the first row is always the bad choice, because that’s where the most uncontrolled splatters are. Which of course makes sense – they couldn’t make it any further. So walk a little (or perhaps run like a wind), holding your gag reflexes on standby, as you poke through all the stalls anticipating post-culinary exploration disaster. But there will be a cleaner one; I can guarantee (almost 90%). Don’t lose hope. Just un-witness the ones witnessed in line.

When you’re making sure that your kids are not eating their own boogers, also make sure that you are not the one sticking it on the walls. If you find such things, don’t feel ashamed to clean it off with the help of tissues, etc. I have personally witnessed women picking up someone else’s baby’s diapers and throwing them into the trash bags and cleaning up the area, just to provide better environment for the newcomers. It’s not an easy task. May Allah (swt) reward them immensely. Ameen

So, please! Those with diaper-clad babies – when you change the diaper of your baby, please, throw it into the dumpster. Babies’ faces are cute but their feces are not. Don’t just roll it in the air and let fate decide its destiny. Thus, when you clean after yourself, please, do that for the baby as well. Man or woman – whoever is taking it for the team.

9) Don’t abuse the toiletries

Sometimes the flush is not working, because of too much toilet paper clogged inside (or too much dinner). You may see the dustbin beside the pot, empty! And you wonder why do people throw everything around, while there is space for everything given? People who lead adult-lives, by the adulthood they should know how to use a chair with a hole in it. It is something that they have been taught to use and have been using since fifteen years or so. Definitely we are the disease!

If the faucet sensor doesn’t work once, no need to constantly hit the poor thing, because it may fire back, by automatically turning itself on, when you will least expect it. Be gentle with the public property. You don’t want to go outside explaining people that it’s not what they think it is.

Forego the hand dryer altogether, because it probably won’t work anyway. Because you may stand there with your hands outstretched (crowding the place) waiting for some magic to happen – but it won’t. If the restroom looks well-maintained, then probably it will work, but usually it doesn’t; and all you do is make the crowd turn into a mob.

Save people some space and wipe your wet hands with tissue instead, if you wish.

Under dire circumstances, don’t jiggle someone else’s door handle angrily. Either you will lock them inside permanently or break the handle. Both ways, your future isn’t bright.

Don’t take your overloaded purse/bag inside the toilet. Sometimes the hooks aren’t very strong. Sometimes there are no hooks at all. Either way, draping it around your neck may be the last resort. Hand it over to someone close outside the restroom. Don’t bring them in, just so they could wait outside your stall, holding your bag. It will crowd the area unnecessarily.

(If you think this all as a mere exaggerated joke, I would just say you’ve been extremely lucky. But these guidelines will help you in the future, whenever you get out of the warm folds of your home sweet home.)

10) Stay God-conscious

Jokes apart, this is something serious, because one of the grave punishments includes someone not being conscious about cleanliness.

We can’t single-handedly eradicate the lack of hygiene issues in public restrooms, but we can dilute its strength. We will not be fighting. We will go on patiently and will always work upon this issue, until it doesn’t need to be worked on anymore. This is just a small step towards some basic awareness – but a small step is better than nothing, better than an intangible ideal.

 

Please, make purification your half faith! Our religion is so beautiful and complete. It teaches us how to live a life – from the smallest details to the biggest of issues, and bathroom etiquettes are the very basic of life.

 

Basically, a good policy is:

 

Try to leave the vicinity in the condition you would wish to find it. Treat it like you usually treat your own toilet at home, especially when the guests are coming. Be the best version of yourself that ever existed. Be the super-you. You got it in you somewhere, so just be that.

 

Be the change you want to see in the world. And if we, Muslims, are not going to practice the best of the manners taught by their religion, how are we ever going to preach? Actions speak louder than words. Even if nobody is watching you, Allah (swt) is. Angels are taking notes. You will be rewarded. Insha’Allah.

 

May Allah (swt) guide us all to the best behaviour that wouldn’t hurt us or people around us. Ameen.

Sunnah Living is Healthy Living

sunnah

Changing of habits takes time. Lifestyle modification according to the Sunnah requires a lot of effort, perseverance, and most importantly, Duas.

Diet Correction

A renowned Arab doctor, Al-Harith, states that “diet is the head of medicine”. We should begin the change by incorporating whole wheat or multi-grain breads, Chapati (Roti), raw milk or natural dairy, cane sugar, rock salt or Himalayan salt, white butter and mustard oil, organic chicken and eggs in our diet. Olive oil should be used, but avoid overheating it, as it then becomes toxic.

Abu Hazim narrated: I asked Sahl bin Sad: “Did Allah’s Apostle (sa) ever eat white flour?” Sahl said: “Allah’s Apostle (sa) never saw white flour since Allah (swt) sent him as an Apostle, till He took him unto Him.” I asked: “Did the people have (use) sieves during the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle (sa)?” Sahl said: “Allah’s Apostle (sa) never saw (used) a sieve since Allah (swt) sent him as an Apostle, until He took him unto Him.” I said: “How could you eat barley unsifted?” He said: “We used to grind it and then blow off its husk, and after the husk flew away, we used to prepare the dough (bake) and eat it.” (Bukhari)

Prevention strategies

Imam Ibn al Qayyim, in the light of Prophet’s (sa) guidance, explained the phenomenon of preventive measures hundreds of years ago. There are two kinds of prevention strategies: first is to abstain from what might bring illness (for a healthy person); the second is restricting one’s self from something which might intensify the illness (for an ailing person).

Foods and healing

Imam Ibn al Qayyim says that the type of food that one finds tasty and is preferred by the person will be accepted by the body and, hence, digested in the best possible way. As recorded in Ibn e Majah, Ibn Abbas (rtam) narrates: “Once, the Prophet (sa) visited a sick person and asked him: ‘What do you have a taste for?’ The man said: ‘I have a taste for wheat bread, or I have a taste for a cake.’ The Prophet (sa) then said: ‘Whoever has wheat bread, let him send some to his brother.’ He also said: ‘When your ailing patients have a taste for something, give them some of it.’” (“Healing from Medicine of the Prophet (sa)).

The two-meal concept

Extensive research has been carried out on the benefits of fasting. The two-meal concept is being embraced globally, especially by naturopaths, integrative medical doctors, and holistic nutritionists. The scientific roots of this lie in the body clock that Allah (swt) has placed in our brains, that is, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which regulates the peak times of dominant body functions. Breakfast should thus be consumed from four to nine in the morning, which marks the peak of digestion. From nine in the morning till four in the afternoon is the time for intellectual functioning, when the system is best for educational tasks, religious duties, household tasks, and office work. The harmony of mind, body, and soul enables a person to experience these peak timings. Lastly, dinner should be taken from six to seven in the evening. During the day, when the brain and body are performing intellectually, small snacks can be taken to boost the brain and maintain energy.

Hot and cold foods

Consumption of extremely cold or extremely hot foods is a grave error. Boiling soups and chilled drinks, for example, give a shock to the stomach. The temperature of the food is of utmost importance, as it helps in digestion. If we take very cold foods, the stomach contains them until the temperature is normalized, and, hence, digestion is delayed. We have to remember that Allah (swt) has naturally made the internal temperature warm.

Water

During summers, most of us are in the habit of drinking juices and refrigerated water in large amounts. Excess water intake can be dangerous for the kidneys and skin, and can cause water retention. One should abstain from commercialized bottled water, and use filtered or boiled water at home instead. Water intake is healthiest if taken half an hour before meals and one and a half hour after meals.

Other lifestyle changes

Lastly, proper stress management and sleep is also very important for the overall health of an individual. Spiritual people have more healthy eating habits than others. We should apply the concept of Sabr and Shukr (patience and gratitude) while we make the necessary changes in our daily life. Also, we should contemplate over the Prophet’s (sa) way of eating, sleeping, and worshipping Allah (swt) in order to realize that our body is an Amanah and it has a right over us.

Adapted by Mariam Saeed from “Sunnah Living is Healthy Living” – A Webinar organized by Hiba Magazine and Fasiha.

 

Water: An amazing blessing!

waterOne of the great blessings that human beings cannot manufacture, despite having all the raw materials available, is water. This, the greatest requirement for life, is provided ready-made for us by Allah (swt). We cannot watch water forming in a laboratory nor produce it ourselves. Water came into being one time only during the creation of the Earth; the same water has been allowing living things to survive ever since.

It is impossible for life to exist without water.

Water is a substance specially created by Allah (swt) as the basis for life, and with all its physical and chemical properties created in such a way as to support life. Millions of different life forms on Earth survive by means of water, and all the balances necessary for life are maintained by means of its presence.

Water is a molecule that results from two hydrogen atoms bonding to one oxygen atom. Oxygen and hydrogen atoms are abundant in nature, but they don’t just bind together to form water; these atoms need to collide in order to produce water. The bonds that form the hydrogen and oxygen atoms weaken and these atoms come together to produce a new molecule – water – during such collisions. This collision essential for the formation of water is only possible at a very high temperature and at a very high level of energy. The high temperatures needed to produce water are not currently present on Earth. It is therefore impossible for new water molecules to form. The water on Earth which we drink and use, and that constitutes the seas and oceans, is the water that formed as the result of the high temperatures during the creation of the Earth. However, that is by no means the end of the miraculous properties of water.

The importance of reflecting on the existence of water

There is no water, the precondition for life, on any of the other 63 celestial bodies in the Solar System. Yet a large part of the Earth is covered in water; indeed, the seas and oceans represent three quarters of the surface of the Earth. There are also countless lakes and rivers on the land. The glaciers on the peaks of mountains are the frozen form of water and a significant amount of the Earth’s water is also in the sky. A cloud contains tens of thousands and sometimes even millions of tons of water. Part of that water sometimes descends in the form of droplets, rain. There is also a certain amount of water vapor in the air you are breathing now.

Rains, seas, rivers, streams, oceans, the drinkable water that appears when you open the faucet: most people are so familiar with the idea of water that they may never think of the importance of much of the world being covered with it. Yet, water is a very rare compound in space. The fact that of all the known celestial bodies only the Earth has water – and the fact that this water is drinkable – is a most miraculous state of affairs.

Although human beings can survive for one or two weeks without food, they cannot go any more than three or four days without water. The body consists of 55-75% water, and can lose up to two to three liters of water per day through activities such as perspiration and respiration. The water lost is made up by the water drunk in the wake of feelings of thirst.

The hypothalamus: the water detective in the body

The human body possesses systems that detect the slightest change in the amount of the water that is so essential for it. The most important of these is the region known as the hypothalamus, no larger than a pea, in the brain. The hypothalamus immediately senses if the level of water in the blood has gone down. In response to this, the gland known as the pituitary, just one centimeter in size, releases a hormone called “ADH.”

This hormone sets out on a long journey through the blood stream and eventually reaches the kidneys. The kidneys contain special receptors for this hormone, just like a key fitting a lock. When the hormones reach these receptors, water conservation is immediately initiated in the kidneys, and water expulsion is reduced to a very low level.

Were it not for the pituitary hormone and the kidney cells that understand and act on the command to “reduce water consumption” carried by this hormone, we would need to drink 15 to 20 liters of water a day, in order not to die of thirst.

Water is the most essential source of life for humans and all living things. It is involved in almost all bodily functions, such as the regulation of body temperature, transportation of nutrients and oxygen, the removal of waste products from the cells and facilitating digestion. It also facilitates the protection of organs and tissues; for example, when we lose just 2% of the water surrounding our cells we suffer a 20% energy loss and begin feeling fatigued. That alone is enough to show how important water is for human life.