How Can You Pay Full Attention to Your Clients During Ramadan?

06 May, 2019
Q As people who counsel during Ramadan, how have you found your concentration levels with clients when fasting? As trainees, we are advised to actively listen to our clients, but that can be off-putting when your stomach is rumbling or you are tired from the day.

It would be good to know the methods and techniques you may use during this time to ensure that you are doing all you can for your client as well for yourself? Thank you.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•Counselors working during Ramadan should be mindful to eat healthy, nutritious foods and drink lots of water during non-fasting times.

•They should ensure that they get quality rest. Knowing how your body responds to fasting is helpful to deal with the effects of fasting.

•Knowing what activities (walking, brief nap, other) can re-energize you and what does not, will help combat fatigue at work or other places where attention is critical.

•For those into holistic health, stress reduction techniques can calm the mind, reduce tensions and revitalize your mental clarity.


As salamu alaykum sister,

Thank you for writing to us. Your question brings up some interesting points! Doing counseling or advising requires concentration, objectivity, and remaining attentive. During Ramadan, counseling can be said to be a little bit more difficult, but not more so than other professions.

Fasting Work, Attentiveness

Acute attention is needed in many professions. A Muslim who is fasting and working in accounting is one example. Accounting takes great attention to detail and numbers and one little mistake could equal a grave outcome.

Those who are doctors and fast do evaluations, medical procedures, surgery, and prescribe medication. This takes a great amount of concentration as well as knowing methods and techniques which are medically critical. People’s lives depend on their alertness and attention.

Muslims who are drivers need to concentrate or they could get into an accident.  So, attentiveness is critically important across a lot of careers and jobs.

How Can You Pay Full Attention to Your Clients During Ramadan? - About Islam

Fasting and Adaptation

As Muslims, we are taught to adapt to the lack of food and water during Ramadan. With fasting, comes the uncomfortableness for the first few days to a week. The tummy grumbles and hurts, thirst is amplified, fatigue may set in.

When doing counseling or advising, it is the same situation as with other jobs. We seek to provide the best services, even under times of duress. For instance, even if it were not Ramadan and we were not fasting, perhaps one may a cold or another illness or even a medical condition which is chronic. The symptoms may be much worse than when one fasts. Yet, concentration and ability are not impaired insha’Allah as the person learns to focus their mind and concentrates on the needs of others, rather than on the needs of self.

Fasting provides an opportunity for the body to purge yourself of toxins and waste. Fasting is a very healthy undertaking. While some of the side effects of fasting may be unpleasant, usually by the second week, the body has adapted to the fasting process. Some even report heightened concentration and abilities. Fatigue has even been reported as not an issue in the day time by some.

People can respond differently to fasting, depending on how long they’ve been fasting, health, and nutritional input during times of not fasting, as well as stressors at work or at home. There are many variables, and everyone has individual responses. However, the mainstream response for the human body is adaptation.

People who are not Muslim fast too.  An example would be Dr. Sebi and his followers as well as other religions and health advocates.

To maximize performance, attention and effectiveness, Muslim counselors would ensure that they have an adequate intake of healthy foods and water during the allowed times.

They ensure that they get enough quality sleep. 

Some may practice stress reduction techniques such as progressive body relaxation, deep breathing, doing additional dzikr, and other relaxation -stress reduction techniques. This helps to reduce any stress one may feel from food and liquid restriction, calms the body and mind and produces calmness.

Know your Body

If one feels tired in the afternoon, a brisk walk may perk one up. Different people respond to different methods and strategies. Others may benefit from a brief 20-minute rest. One method may re-energize one person, and not re-energize another. Thus, it is important to know how your body responds to fasting, what works and what doesn’t. 


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Others over Self

While working with clients, most counselors have been trained to be fully present and attentive despite various circumstances. For instance, there are counselors working in war torn countries who literally do counseling while fearing for their lives.

Counselors remain truly engaged and interested in what their clients are discussing, as their client’s concerns supersede their own. It is an issue of putting a person’s needs above your own. If you know somebody is in need, you automatically go into listening mode so that you can help to the best of your ability.

Oftentimes when you realize there is a situation that requires an immediate response and resolution, your thinking becomes heightened and you tend to pay attention more. Therefore, when counselors are serving people by providing counseling services, they have ethically and morally dedicated themselves to providing services under a variety of conditions.

Conclusion

Counselors working during Ramadan should be mindful to eat healthy, nutritious foods and drink lots of water during non-fasting times.

They should ensure that they get quality rest. Knowing how your body responds to fasting is helpful to deal with the effects of fasting.

Knowing what activities (walking, brief nap, other) can re-energize you and what does not, will help combat fatigue at work or other places where attention is critical.

For those into holistic health, stress reduction techniques can calm the mind, reduce tensions and revitalize your mental clarity.

As Ramadan is our holy month of sacrifices, our counselors find it a joy and privilege as always, to continue our services even whilst fasting. It is only through Allah’s mercy that we can provide services.  

May Allah swt forgive and bless us all, accept our prayers and fasting and grant ease. 

Amen,

 

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

Sex in Ramadan Is Wasting of Time

First Ramadan without My Husband: How to Cope?

How to Manage Your Time in Ramadan

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.