Seeking knowledge is part of our faith. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bestow peace upon him) advised us to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.
The very first revelation “Read!” establishes the fundamental importance of knowledge in Islam. Earning a halal-income belongs to being a Muslim and we will be rewarded for it by Allah.
However, being a full-time student or worker is challenging. You spend hours and hours sitting in the classroom or office. Many times in uncomfortable chairs and body postures.
You take in hours and hours of new information. You have to process this information. You are asked for your opinion on topics you have never thought about before. Assignments are piling up. You spend your nights trying to accomplish what you have not finished during the day.
After the first half of the semester, you feel tired. Or you just try to complete all the tasks given to you. There are always new ones. And your boss is asking you to stay longer hours. You start missing the pre-sunrise morning prayer (fajr) because you are still tired. You cut down on your extra worship and you stop reading beneficial Islamic literature? You feel like you need a good break.
Here are a few suggestions that might help you to boost your physical and spiritual energy and motivation.
All of us like sweets. We eat loads and loads of sugar. Try to cut down on that. Sugar only feels good the first few minutes after you eat it. Afterwards you will feel even less motivated. The energy kick does not last long and will stop you from taking in the nutrition you actually need.
Instead of sweets, try to snack healthy. Nuts and dry fruits are great for our bodies and our brains. They will provide you with the energy you need and turn the grey cells into bright, shining ones.
And by the way, some of these dried fruits are also mentioned in the Quran or by Prophet Muhammad. Dates and figs were liked by the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him).
Eat fruits and vegetables to provide for this extra intake of vitamins you need to stay healthy during stressful times. When we have stress and sleep less, our body needs more Vitamin C to stay healthy. But try not to eat fruits during the evening as this will cause you to feel tired and exhausted in the morning.
It is too much work for your liver to digest the fruit sugar. Let it rest during the night. Black seeds and honey, also recommended by our beloved Prophet, can provide you for a balanced diet and add to a healthy Islamic life style.
Try to reduce your ice chilled drinks. Drinking too much iced drinks will make your body weak. It is easier to get a cough or flu. And you will also feel stiffness in your back if you drink too much of it.
Also, don’t drink too much coffee. A coffee in the early afternoon is great to keep you going for your afternoon classes. But try not to consume it in the evening so you can get your necessary night rest. Allah created the night to rest. He knows us best, He knows what is good for us.
Our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) advised us to go to sleep after the night prayer. It is a good practice to sleep early and wake up early. The early bird catches the worm, right?
Waking up before fajr prayer helps you to get Allah’s blessings for the whole day. Try to make sure that you never miss your morning prayer. And if you can, wake up fifteen minutes before the call for prayer and make use of this extremely beneficial time of tahajjud.
Ask Allah during tahajjud time for blessings in your time and energy. And make the morning prayer as soon as possible. Make it up before having breakfast. Get yourself a comfortable pillow to avoid neck stiffness. And make sure you get enough fresh air in your room.
Exercise Your Body and Your Heart
Part of taking care of ourselves is trying to be a strong Muslim. Our body is a trust on us, given to us by Allah. We should try to take care of it as good as possible. Doing some simple exercises everyday can be part of that. With the right intention, we will even get rewarded for it by Allah.
Remember to take care of your spiritual heart. Similar to your body, it also needs attention and exercise. Try to set yourself a fixed amount of reciting praises to the Prophet everyday. Ask Allah for forgiveness everyday. Read Quran everyday. This will make your spiritual heart strong and any challenges coming your way will feel easier.
Take Time Out
When we are extremely busy and caught up with our study and work, we sometimes forget to take time out to do other things. But that is extremely important. Don’t let the burn out knock on your door. Get out before. Go for a walk or a hike. Go to the museum, meet friends for lunch.
Shopping is not the time out that brings blessings in your life because actually it makes you feel even more tired. Take some extra time out for looking at and enjoying Allah’s creation.
Have at least one day a week where you don’t think about your studies or your work. Remember Allah in nature. Read Quran after you hiked up the mountain. That is the spiritual energy that will keep you going the next week.
And whatever you do to try to boost your energy and motivation, don’t forget to make dua to our most merciful Creator. He is the One that provides you with what you need. He is Ar-Razzaq.