Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 41, Tuesday October 23, 2007


holiday overhaul post-eid rebooting

Eid-ul-fitr 2007 is a matter of the past. The sad fact of the matter is, some people just can't seem to accept the fact. For some, the festivities appear to stretch more than that allocated by the social or religious decree. And it is not in a good sense either. It is one thing really to embrace and cherish the joy and charity Eid brings, and continue to incorporate these elements into our daily lives. However, the same does not ring true when some decide to go instead, for those elements that the society can do well without.

Your snooze days are numbered…
Lethargy, for instance, is one of those elements. People sail through the month of Ramadan in piety and abstinence. Naturally, the lack of food intake from dawn till dusk impedes the body's metabolism rate, thus leading to dehydration, periodic dizziness, languor and often, even sudden blackouts. People feel sleepy, and tend to cut back on any activity that demands exhaustion. These activities are substituted with a greater number of hours on the bed or by simply sitting back with a Stephen King novel or a stock of daydreams.

Nonetheless, all that snooziness is forgiven, even expected, when the month of Ramadan is concerned. Despite no religious provision to that effect, this happens to be the practical facet of the Month. After all, that is the inevitable side effect of carbohydrate deficit in the system. The problem is, when the Ramadan ends and the Eid signs out, some people happen to lack the ability to disentangle themselves from that lethargy, or do not feel the importance of it, whichever way you may choose to view it.

As a result, it is by no means unusual to see half the office, bleary-eyed and literally drooping over their work computers, at least for the first week after the Eid holidays and the Puja follow-ups. The skeletal joints seem to groan every time the brain signals the body to do something- starting from climbing the stairs when the elevator breaks down to focusing on number play on the company balance sheet.

This, fortunately, is only a temporary phase. The body takes some time to revert to the original work schedule. Some just take more time than the others to fall back on their old routines. An obvious solution is to make use of the caffeine content in coffee to kick-start your system. However, the possible downside is that caffeine often makes a mess out of the body's biological clock, pleading the body to switch to the sleep mode at odd times.

As an alternative, you may choose to get involved in some rigorous activity. Sign up at a local swimming club or go jogging. Even better, get yourself some weights and do some basic weight training.

Rotten green timers
Speaking of the biological clock, a distorted time box means that the cuckoo pops up at times it is supposed to stay nested behind those screws and cogwheels. Again, Ramadan forces people to run counter to the clock their body is generally accustomed to. Fasting throughout the period of daylight means waking up for sehri in the middle of the night. And for those who have no work or classes in the morning, they have the special privilege of waking up late the next morning. Many prefer not to go to bed till after sehri and the Fazr prayers, and spend the time watching movies or reading. The body further goes through a change in meal times, replacing breakfast and lunch with iftar (at dusk) and sehri (at dawn).

Like lethargy, the “Clock Gone Berserk” syndrome persists even after Eid and takes some time to switch back to its conventional mode. Instead of trying to get back to the previous routine at one go, it may be a better idea to break up the time gap into increasingly shorter periods. Go to bed a few minutes earlier everyday, and soon enough you will reach your normal bedtime.

Thrill me, feed me, kill me
Gluttony is another red flag to watch out for. No matter how much they keep away from food, people- somehow or the other- make up for it (and more) during iftar and dinner. The menu primarily consists of fried food and having the two meals back to back makes it all the more hazardous to the system. Moreover, the dinner is soon followed by sehri. Three meals in close succession, while going on an empty stomach throughout the other half of the day, serves to throw the body off-balance. In addition, the lack of physical activity allows the calories to store up in the form of fat. The food fest continues all through Ramadan, continuing till the last day of Eid- topped of with at least five to six incredibly heavy meals and several helpings of drinks and desserts.

As the weight scales sway more and more to the right, take action before you hit the “Point of No Return” (a.k.a, the point where you would fear to be even close to a weighing machine, let alone step on them to unravel the stark reality). Again, gym, swimming, running and aerobics provide a good outlet for those unwanted calories. If you are looking for a diverse set of activities, you may take up circuit training, popular among sportsmen.

There will be no white flag above my door…
This time around, the metaphoric red flag is possibly a little too red, given that the gluttony and lethargy is at its peak. This is to the extent that the red is going black. To blame is the series of festivities that we are faced with. Snaking our way through the Ramadan and Eid holidays, there is also- as if that was not enough- the whole deal with Durga Puja. Breaks after breaks just add to the tragedy of it all.

Another concern is that schools and universities are opening up after the long stretch of the “Sleep, Eat, Sleep” cycle. This means that the children will have to start getting up early again, and parents would have to start reinstating the rules against late night TV watching. The same applies to adults working from 9 to 5. While those with more flexible work hours may have some liberty, it is always a plus point to devise some sort of a schedule.

In the end, it is ultimately up to you to get back on track. Don't fret, just work up a plan and hold on to it… till the next festivities. Adios.

By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky


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