How to Avoid Spiritual Burnout in Ramadan
People often burn out in Ramadan because they focus on external actions and ignore the roots of spiritual growth in the heart. Fasting is spiritually powerful because it helps us rebalance the trade-off between our physical nature and our spiritual side. When we refrain from food and drink, our spiritual nature dominates, providing space for our heart to emerge.
Many struggle and stumble after Ramadan because they treated the month like a crash diet. Instead, Ramadan should be viewed as a strategic preparation for the rest of the year, not as a one-off exercise. Approached in the right way, Ramadan can provide a platform to achieve exponential growth. Here are some tips about how to make the most of Ramadan and avoid spiritual burnout:
- Use your sweet spots. This is about identifying your strengths when it comes to worship and using them for your spiritual growth. For example, if you find that you enjoy making dhikr, you should use it to build spiritual momentum. Sweet spots fill your soul up rather than take away your energy. You can think of them as leverage points and when you focus on them, you’ll come out of Ramadan feeling refreshed and full of energy.
- Simplify. You don’t need elaborate Ramadan planners and checklists. Choose one or two forms of worship and focus on quality not quantity.
- Focus on the experience of true connection. All worship is about progressing in the spiritual dimension. Your goal should be to feel close to Allah. Other goals in terms of numbers are secondary and will be reached eventually because you are focusing on the heart. What should your spiritual goals look like? They shouldn’t be quantified. Instead, ask yourself, “Are you enjoying your connection with Allah? Are you longing to be with Allah?”
- Recognize everyone is on their own journey. Don’t look at others and try and measure yourself in relation to them. It’s not about arriving at a certain point and there is no finish line. It’s about awakening your heart and activating your spiritual essence.
If you want to grow closer to Allah in Ramadan and leave with more momentum, you need to utilize your sweet spots, simplify your plan, and focus on the experience of true connection to Him. Approaching Ramadan from this heart-based perspective will help you avoid burnout because you understand it’s not about achieving numbers and it’s not about comparing yourself to others. It’s about spending time in the company of Allah and making sincere efforts to draw nearer to Him.
Note: This blog is based on Sheikh Moutasem al-Hameedy’s insightful and powerful webinar about Ramadan. He is the founder of Rashidoon. I summarized a few of the key messages. You may view the full webinar here to explore this topic in more depth.