Salam Dear Sister,
Thank you so much for sending your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
First of all, admitting our own weakness and highlighting the problem is a great point to start over.
The beautiful thing about this religion is that Allah always accepts us when we come back and He responds to those who truly and sincerely desire His Closeness.
So here are a few things to remember:
You said you feel far away, but we must remember that Allah Himself is never far away from us. Allah is “closer [to the human-being] than his jugular vein,” (Quran 50:16). He is closer to us than our own consciousness.
All you need to do is to quit the distractions that are taking your mind and heart away from the remembrance of Allah, and just speak to Him. Make dua sincerely and wholeheartedly.
“And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.”…” (Quran 40:60)
And the Prophet says:
“Verily supplication is worship.” [Related by the four Imams]
So, make dua to Allah asking Him to help you and rectify all your affairs for you and bring you back to His path beautifully.
Remember to make this dua as well:
Mu’adh (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon bim) took hold of my hand and said:
“O Mu’adh! By Allah I love you, so I advise you to never forget to recite after every prayer: “Allahummaa’inni ala dhikrika, washukrika, wahusni ‘ibadatika (O Allah, help me remember You, to be grateful to You, and to worship You in an excellent manner).”[Abu Dawud].
Extra Good Deeds
The most beloved acts to Allah are the ones He has ordained on us, so start with those.
We learn from the hadith that Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah the Exalted has said:
“…And the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (prayer or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him. When I love him I become his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks (something) from Me, I give him, and if he asks My Protection (refuge), I protect him”.[Al- Bukhari].
So make sure you do the obligatory acts correctly and on time. For example, perform all prayers on time.
‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
I asked the Prophet (peace be upon him), “Which of the deeds is loved most by Allah?” Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
“Salat at its proper time.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
This is very important. So pray on time and make sure to make dua to Allah in sujood in every prayer.
If you then want to move to nawafil to earn more rewards, then pray the Sunnah prayers that earn you a House in Jannah.
The Prophet [saw] says:
‘Whoever persists in performing twelve Rak’ah from the Sunnah, a house will be built for him in Paradise: four before the Zuhr, two Rak’ah after Zuhr, two Rak’ah after Maghrib, two Rak’ah after the ‘Isha’ and two Rak’ah before Fajr.’” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
Remembrance of Allah
Always say your adhkar and seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil because he aims to make people fall into despair and feel helpless. So recite the mu’awadatain (last two chapters of the Quran) frequently.
Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to seek protection against the evil of jinn and the evil eyes till Surat Al-Falaq and Surat An-Nas were revealed. After they were revealed, he took to them for seeking Allah’s protection and left everything besides them. [At- Tirmidhi].
Do Not Despair
Don’t ever fall into despair. Remember this:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
“Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘O son of Adam, I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed. O son of ‘Adam, I do not care if your sins reach the height of the heaven, then you ask for my forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of ‘Adam, if you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating nothing to Me, I would match it with an earth load of forgiveness.”‘ [At- Tirmidhi].
Allah also says what means:
“Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Quran 39: 53)
Please read our previous answer here on maintaining the spirit of Ramadan, it has more detailed tips for you.
And here is another resource on making the best of the current blessed days of Dhul-Hijjah.
May Allah help you, guide you and give utmost peace of mind and heart through His remembrance. Ameen.
I hope this helps answer your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archive)