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  • 6 Singaporean Island Getaways without a Passport

    Itching for a getaway or a day trip over the long weekend? With Phase 2 in effect, you can island-hop without a passport right here in Singapore! Did you know that Singapore has 63 islands, including natural and man-made islands? These gorgeous islands have plenty of activities and attractions that you can enjoy while still maintaining safe distancing. Fun fact: Did you know that Singapore used to own Christmas Island that we now know belongs to Australia? We have more places to explore in Singapore than we think! Why not be a tourist in your own country during this period to satisfy your wanderlust? Here are 5 offshore islands you can visit over the weekends without a passport. via GIPHY   Lazarus Island and Pulau Seringat Image Source: Singapore Island Cruise and Ferry Services Looking to have a serene and romantic beach getaway on an island that is NOT Sentosa? Lazarus Island is exactly what you are looking for. Known as Singapore’s best island escape, Lazarus Island overlooks a beautiful lagoon with white sands that are perfect for an unforgettable day out. You can take a romantic stroll and dip your toes in the sand or swim in the glittering turquoise waters. This 800-meter stretch of beach is perfect for a picnic with your loved ones and to celebrate any special occasions. Plus, you can be assured that you are safe distancing at this beach as the island is usually not plagued by crowds. To get to Lazarus Island and Pulau Seringat, take an $18 round-trip ferry from Marina South Pier to St John’s Island. Upon disembarkation at St John’s Island, turn left to walk across the causeway connecting these islands.   St John’s Island Image Source: Singapore Press Holdings If you are planning to visit Lazarus Island, you might as well explore St John’s Island as the ferry will disembark here. This island has a very interesting history that history buffs would appreciate. St John’s Island was once a quarantine station for cholera patients, lepers, and unwell immigrants that were headed to Singapore during a period where cholera was spreading throughout the archipelago. Visiting the island during this period of Phase 2 would perhaps make you think a bit more about how Singapore has grappled with diseases over the years. Don’t let its history put a damper on your mood – St John’s Island now offers a nice slice of nature with one of the cleanest lagoons for swimming out of all the other offshore islands. You can take a relaxing dip around the shores or go snorkeling to explore the marine life with its colorful corals. You can also go on a trekking route where you can catch a breath-taking skyline view of our mainland. You will find even more amenities on this island than Lazarus Islands such as chalets or bungalows that you can rent to stay overnight. These chalets come with a kitchen and the campsites come with basic cooking amenities that are perfect if you want to have a barbeque party. To get to St John’s Island, take an $18 round-trip ferry ride from Marina South Pier to the island. For children, the round-trip ferry ticket will cost $12.   Coney Island Image Source: Sim Ding En at Did you know that Punggol has its little island called Coney Island? Coney Island is located beside the Punggol Waterway and it was launched as part of the up and coming Watertown Punggol. It was planned to be developed into a commercial and residential area with a beach facing the Johor Strait. Fortunately for us, Coney Island has not been developed to be an urban jungle and still sports a remote and rustic ambiance. You can rent a bicycle from Punggol Jetty or Punggol Point and cycle your way from Punggol Waterway to Coney Island. Admire the scenic waterside view as you cycle on the promenade, you might even catch a glimpse of a wild otter if you are lucky. Birdwatchers, rejoice! There are plenty of brightly colored birds to admire at the natural forested walkways as you make your way to Coney Island. Once you reach the island, explore its hidden beach and the Lorong Halus wetland! Aside from cycling there, you can take Bus 84 from Punggol Interchange and alight at the northern end of Punggol Road. You can also take a taxi or drive to this northern end. From the northern end, walk across the walkway from Punggol Promenade Nature Walk to Coney Island. Opening Hours: Open daily; 7 am – 7 pm (Daily)   Pulau Ubin Image Source: NParks The most popular offshore island aside from Sentosa is Pulau Ubin. Pulau Ubin, which is Malay for “Granite Island” pays tribute to its history where granite quarries used to operate there back then. Here, you will be rewarded with a rustic version of Singapore where you will be surrounded by the lush greenery, mangrove swamps, a tranquil sea, and one of the last remaining kampungs in Singapore. Rent a bicycle and cycle to Chek Jawa Wetlands to admire the rural floral and fauna which includes a beach, mangroves, and the forest. Climb up the seven-story high Jejawi Tower to admire the jungle from above. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of hornbills and other wild animals. You can try out various biking trails such as the Ketam Mountain Bike Park, Free Ride Skills Park, and Dirt Skills Park, or try hiking at Pulau Ubin’s Puaka Hill. If you are headed to the island over the weekend, make sure to try out Maleh Café, a Muslim-owned establishment, near the Pulau Ubin jetty which is only available over the weekends! To get to Pulau Ubin, take a $6 round-trip bumboat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal to the island.    Kusu Island Image Source: Also known as Tortoise Island, Kusu Island is a popular site of pilgrimage as it housed the famous Da Ba Gong temple and three keramats (gravesite of saints). Two major pilgrimages are made to these sites every year. Did you know about the old legend of Kusu Island? The legend goes that there was a giant tortoise that miraculously turned into an island to save a Malay and Chinese men who were shipwrecked. To show their gratitude, it was said that these men built a temple and a shrine in honor of the tortoise. You will also find tons of tortoise statues around the island. Make sure to visit the tortoise sanctuary where you can watch these reptiles in action! There is also a beach and lagoons that you can dip your feet or swim in. Kusu Island is a place where multiple cultures and religions meet, making it a rich heritage site that you should visit at least once! To get to Kusu Island, take an $18 round-trip ferry from Marina South Pier to Kusu Island. The ferry will have a stopover at St John’s island first before it heads to Kusu Island. Image Source: Singapore Island Cruise and Ferry Services Who says you can't travel and satisfy your wanderlust in Singapore? There is more to Singapore than our busy cityscape and the glitzy Sentosa Island! Have an enjoyable getaway or a day trip at one of these offshore islands and experience the many tranquil beaches, glittering lagoons, rich culture and heritage that they have to offer! But make sure to always wear a mask when you are out and about, and remember to practice safe distancing! If you are planning to explore these islands, use this Singapore travel guide to island-hop without a passport! So switch your busy office for the beach instead over the long weekend! via GIPHY...

  • Eid 2020: 10 Ways To Make Eid Fun For Your Family

    Can you believe that this special occasion that we have been waiting for is just a couple of days away? Well, you should because Eid al-Fitr is just around the corner. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of fasting and Ramadan. In this moment of celebration, it is perfect to reconnect with the members of our extended family and more importantly to Allah SWT, with all His power and guidance. Surely, this Eid 1441 Hijri is more special. Alhamdulillah, we have gone through this Ramadan healthily. Most countries around the world still maintain the stay-home policy which means that Eid al-Fitr this year will be celebrated differently. Most people are encouraged to stay home and avoid large gatherings in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Therefore, in most places, there will be no house visits or going to the mosques for prayers. However, that doesn't mean we can't get into the festive mood this year. We can still make Eid fun and enjoyable for the family.  Here are 10 ways to make Eid celebration FUN for your family this year! via GIPHY  1. Bake or Cook with your Family Image Credit: Kari Shea on Unsplash Baking and cooking is the most fun way to get your family into doing an activity together. Besides, everyone loves a good meal. Furthermore, we can teach our children to cook or bake their own favorite dish so they will know more about the process. The process of making a dish could be a representation of the process in life, especially at this moment. While it could be messy, long or sometimes beautiful, at the end of the day, all of these efforts will be worthwhile. After all the work and waiting, we can finally enjoy the food. Cooking and baking with children can be fun and yet enriching as you could teach them the value of patience during the process.  Here is a better idea, why not make a competition out of it? Everyone loves a little bit of spice in a competition. It is believed that competition could also motivate us. Try baking some Kuih Raya or whip up some traditional Hari Raya dish at home! This could be a fun activity for the family especially for children.    2. Decorate your Home Together with your Family Image Credit: Curology on Unsplash Let's get into the festive mood and liven up the atmosphere by decorating our homes. You can definitely find and purchase decorations for Eid through online shopping. However, you can also make your own decorations by doing some research online and following tutorials on online platforms like YouTube. Some decoration examples are Ramadan paper banners, origami star and crescent moon, and door hangers. Awaken the artsy side of your family and be sure to make everyone at home participate in this lovely activity! 3. Play Games with Children Image Credit: Randy Fath on Unsplash What's more fun than playing games? Playing games is the best activity to do with your family, especially those who love competition. However, it may be difficult to choose the best games that are both fun and enriching for our children. It is also hard to keep them away from their mobile phones and tablets. Let us take this opportunity to bring back classic games that can enrich our children without the use of mobile phones or tablets. Here are several games ideas for Eid celebration at home: Islamic Quiz Pin the Minaret on the Mosque Ramadan Puzzle Pass the Parcel Treasure Hunt Who will be the ultimate winner? 4. Video Calls with Extended Family and Friends Image Credit: Gabriel Benois on Unsplash Getting in touch with our family is essential during this pandemic, especially on Eid al-Fitr. Practicing social distancing does not mean that we should cut off or avoid talking to our extended family members who are not living with us. Instead, we should always stay in touch with them and constantly keep a lookout for each other. These days, tightening bonds (silaturahim) between the family could be done just by having a simple video call. This has made the process of tightening bonds virtually between the family easier. You could ring each member of your family and have a group conversation with them through group video calls with ease.  There are also some possible activities worth trying while doing video calls with certain online applications, like playing games or streaming a movie together. 5. Donate to Charity Image Credit: Bayu on Unsplash Ramadan is not only the month of fasting and prayers but also a time to do zakat and sadaqah, as a hadith says, “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi) There are many types of charity in Islam, but the two most important are zakat and sadaqah. Zakat is the third Pillar of Islam and sadaqah is a sunnah charity. There are plenty of available mobile applications and platforms that provide online charity services. In addition, many orphanages can also receive zakat or sadaqah through fund transfers, so you no longer have to go out to perform charity. 6. Sharing the Significance of Eid with the Family Image Credit: Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash Sharing stories to our children about Islam, Ramadan and Eid history could be very meaningful and educational. Ramadan is a month of self-purification where we abstain ourselves from sins. We fast, refraining ourselves from unpleasant language, bad behavior, and other sinful actions. We also try to do good deeds like zakat, sadaqah, do more prayers, as well as finish reading the Holy Quran. We can share with our children about the benefits of fasting, zakat and sadaqah so that they will understand more about Ramadan and its meaning. As parents, we should also share the history of Islam and Eid. This is so that our children will have a better understanding of the significance of Eid al-Fitr and why we are celebrating it. 7. Make DIY Ramadan cards Image Credit: Vladimir Proskurovskiy on Unsplash Eid celebration could be fun with your children if you let out their creative sides. There's no denying that children love drawing, coloring, and creating things. Let their imaginations run by having a DIY Ramadan card making this Eid. Imagine all those glitters and colorful papers.  You could assign your children to makes as many cards as possible for each member of the family, from their siblings, parents to grandparents. Furthermore, you could also have it mailed or better still, upload it on social media and tag the recipient of the cards.  There are a lot of Ramadan card ideas available online as a reference for you and your family so do not worry!  8. Ramadan-Themed Performance Image Credit: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash Getting your children to come up with a Ramadan performance could also be the best idea for Eid. Why? Firstly, you could record it and share it with your extended family or friends over social media. Second of all, your children could learn more about Ramadan, Eid, and Islam as they do more research to prepare for the performance.  Some of our Ramadan performance ideas for you include storytelling and singing Islamic songs. Note: You could ask your children to do this performance on their own or it could be done together as a family. Don't forget to record the performance on your phones or cameras!   9. Watch Ramadan or Islamic-themed movies Image Credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash It never hurts to spend time with our family during Eid by watching Islamic-themed movies. This could vary from animation to real figures. Watching movies could be fun, relaxing, and educational. Make sure to pick the best Ramadan movies that can be discussed once the movie is over. Some of the best Ramadan or Islamic-themed movies include the Stories of the Prophets available on Youtube, the White Balloon and Children of Heaven.  10. Recite the Holy Quran Together Image Credit: Masjid Pogung Dalangan on Unsplash Trying to khatam Al-Quran as a team could be a fun activity to do to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. Reading Al-Quran is an ibadah and there are a lot of virtues, pahala, and benefits reciting it. It also calms our minds. الَّذينَ آمَنوا وَتَطمَئِنُّ قُلوبُهُم بِذِكرِ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلا بِذِكرِ اللَّهِ تَطمَئِنُّ القُلوبُ “Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah, hearts are assured” (Surah Ar-Ra’ad, 13:28)   Taking turns like a relay in reciting Al-Quran could be one of the best things to do as a team. Not only does this activity help us get closer to each of our family members, but it also teaches everyone in the family the value of teamwork. This activity could be a fun yet enriching experience for the whole family this Eid.   That is all for our list of fun activity ideas you can do at home during Eid al-Fitr amidst the Covid-19 situation. Now, a fun Eid celebration is more likely to be achieved. Yay! Take the liberty to adjust to these ideas. Have a wonderful Eid al-Fitr! via GIPHY...

  • Eid 2020: 10 Best Food and Dishes You Shouldn't Miss Out This Eid al-Fitr

    This year's Eid al-Fitr celebration would definitely be one of a kind as we may miss out on doing things that we usually do during the previous celebration due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many governments have encouraged their people to remain at home and avoid large gatherings to prevent further spread of the virus. This means that we may no longer be able to go house visiting like we usually do previously. Nonetheless, that doesn't mean we can't celebrate Eid al-Fitr. We could still enjoy this festive celebration by cooking or buying delicious food and dishes for Hari Raya Eid al-Fitr. There are still online grocery stores that provide ingredients we need to prepare these Hari Raya dishes and food. These online grocery stores deliver right to your doorstep so you don't have to step out of your house! There are also food delivery services that you could use to get your ready-to-eat Hari Raya food and dishes delivered to your house.  Time to get into the festive mood! Here are 10 best traditional food and dishes across Southeast Asia countries you shouldn't miss out this Eid al-Fitr! via GIPHY 1. Chicken Opor Image Credit: Opor Ayam by Julie Baskara on cookpad This is one of the most famous menus in Indonesia that everyone looks out for during Eid. For those of you who are not familiar with this menu, this dish can be considered as a bowl of yellow chicken curry. This traditional dish contains chicken cooked with coconut milk and served with Ketupat (rice cake in a woven palm leaf pouch). You can also enjoy a bowl of Chicken Opor with fried shallots as a garnish. Chicken Opor is dominated with savory taste, yet you can add some extra chilly or sambal to have a spicier taste. Sambal Goreng is the best addition to your Chicken Opor! These are some ingredients you need to have to cook Chicken Opor, chicken cut into small pieces (of course you need this one!), lemongrass, bay leaves, coconut milk, shallots, garlic, galangal, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, salt, and sugar. Try making your own Chicken Opor this Eid!    2. Sambal Goreng Image Credit: Sambal Goreng by Cooking with Subhan This is known as “fried sambal” in English. Commonly in Indonesia, Sambal Goreng is the best companion for Chicken Opor, but we can also have Sambal Goreng as a separate menu eaten alongside warm rice or lontong. There are various fillings in Sambal Goreng, for example, potato, chicken liver and gizzard, tofu, and even tempe. It depends on your preference. Basically, you just need to stir-fry all of the ingredients in a single frying pan. Make sure that you have these ingredients in your kitchen to cook your sambal goreng. Other ingredients include red chilies, shallots, garlic, onion, shrimp paste, lime leaves, and tamarind. For the fillings, you can choose whatever you want as I have mentioned above. You can practically find sambal goreng in many households that you visit during Hari Raya as this dish is quite popular and easy to prepare. Since there may not be visiting this year, why not whip out your own sambal goreng? You can eat it alongside some rice, lontong or chicken opor!    3. Soto Image Credit: Soto Ayam by recipepocket Soto is an easy meal to prepare which only takes three steps. Yet, it is a delicious meal with a savory gravy soup, suitable for Eid. The main ingredient is not so hard to look for; you can either choose chicken or beef as the primary filling. For the additional filling, you can include boiled eggs, red tomatoes, boiled potatoes, fried chips, and fried shallots. Essentially, if you have red onions, garlic, coriander, cumin pepper, ginger, turmeric, coconut milk, salt and sugar in your kitchen, you are ready to whip up your own soto at home! Soto is a dish that is loved by many especially kids as it does not taste spicy. However, if want to add a little bit of spiciness, you could always include some chili in the gravy. Anyway, don’t forget to put extra lime in your bowl of Soto! You shouldn't miss out on this dish for Eid al-Fitr this year as it is convenient to make!   4. Rendang Image Credit: Beef Rendang by Rasa Malaysia Now, this is the ultimate menu for Eid-al Fitr! No one can resist the best dish in the world. This dish which originated from West Sumatra province, Indonesia, was crowned as the best food in CNN’s World’s 50 Best Foods in 2011. Perhaps the appearance may not look that appetizing; brown-colored meat with gravy. But once you give this dish a try, it is totally unstoppable. The taste is just a little bit spicy but it may not be as spicy as Sambal Goreng. There are also many different types and variations of the rendang dish all over Southeast Asia, so all you have to do is to pick your favorite kind of rendang. This meal is served during special occasions to honor guests and also during festive seasons like Eid al-Fitr. To prepare this dish, you need to cook the main ingredients like beef, lamb or mutton for a few hours until all of the seasonings are completely absorbed by the meat. Cook with coconut milk, chilly, ginger, galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, and shallot.  Rendang can be served with warm rice, lontong or ketupat and lemang. This dish is sure to bring out the festive vibe this year! You could either prepare it yourself or order online, to be delivered directly to your home.  5. Meat Ball Image Credit: Bakso Recipe (Indonesian Meatballs Soup) by Arie's Kitchen Almost everyone loves Meat Ball! (Me too!) For those of you who feel full after eating all those heavy dishes, let's take a look at this light dish. Meatballs is similar in texture to the Chinese beef balls or fishballs. For Eid, meatballs with beef broth is the best snack of the day. To make this meal complete, simply serve your meat balls with beef broth with some noodles added to it. Again, for those who are a fan of spicy food, don’t forget to add chili in the beef broth.   6. Ketupat Image Credit: Recipe Ketupat on foodpanda Ketupat is really famous in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It is a diamond-shaped rice cake. The rice is cooked, compressed, and wrapped in woven coconut leaves. Ketupat is a perfect substitute for rice when you are eating the Chicken Opor, Sambal Goreng, Satay or rendang. Preparing ketupat may take some time given that you would have to weave the ketupat before filling it with rice. However, if you have the time, you could prepare the ketupat together with your family. If not, you could easily get it online! Make sure to place your orders early!  Eid al-Fitr celebration is definitely not complete if we don’t eat Ketupat!    7. Satay Image Credit: Dedit Yasa from Pixabay  Satay or Sate is a typical Southeast Asian meal that is mouthwatering, famous in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. There are several types of Satay like chicken Satay or mutton Satay. The meat are cut into smaller pieces on a stick and grilled with charcoal. Chicken Satay is often served with peanut sauce and sweet soy ketchup while mutton satay is usually served with sweet soy ketchup only. Another type of Satay found in Indonesia is Padangnese Satay which uses beef and a salty-spicy gooey sauce. As mentioned earlier, Satay is commonly eaten with peanut sauce. You could also serve Satay with some ketupat or Lontong. This would make the taste better! The best time to have satay is during the evening or at night. Eid al-Fitr night celebration would be merrier with satay and ketupat!    8. Lontong Image Credit: Lontong Sayur Lodeh by Chef Rossham Rusli on kuali Another substitute for rice and ketupat is lontong. Lontong is primarily made from rice. There are different ways that lontong is prepared. One way is that the rice is cooked, compressed, and rolled inside the banana leaf. For a more modern and quicker way of preparing lontong, you can find instant ones where the rice is filled in clear plastic and all you have to do is steam it. You can have lontong with sayur lodeh which is quite commonly served during Hari Raya in Singapore and Malaysia.  However, lontong is also suitable to be eaten with many Eid-al Fitr dishes like Chicken Opor, Satay, or Sambal Goreng. This dish can be found easily in Indonesia, Singapore, or Malaysia.   9. Candied Fruits Image Credit: Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay  We have discussed heavy and light dishes, so you must be quite full just from reading it right? Now let’s take a break and have some dessert. The first recommendation is candied fruits which are usually kept in transparent jars and served on the table. It is very eye-catching as it is made from colorful fruits like mango, papaya, guava, snake fruit, kiwi, pumpkin, and many more. These fruits are being fermented so it can be kept for a long time in jars. It has a sweet taste to it which is no wonder why kids usually love eating them. It is to be noted that candied fruits shouldn't be consumed too much due to its sweet taste. The solution to this is that the candied fruits can be served in smaller jars so that it wouldn't be over-consumed.    10. Dodol Image Credit: Dodol on asian inspirations  Another sweet treat which very common in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, and Thailand is Dodol. Dodol is a sugar-palm based dessert that is caramelized for hours in a big fireplace or oven. Dodol has a chewy texture and is very dense. It also sometimes cut into a diamond, strips, or into squares. Nowadays, there are a wide variety of flavors such as vanilla, coconut, apple, durian, or mango. This sweet dessert can be found easily in every souvenir shop in some Southeast Asian countries, and it is a must-have dessert during Eid al-Fitr celebration Once again, have it in moderation! If you have time, you could prepare the Dodol from scratch. However, you could also easily get it from online stores or the market.   We will welcome Hari Raya Eid al-Fitr in a couple of days. Several countries in Southeast Asia may still have regulations in place to prevent large gatherings or house visiting due to the virus. This may be disappointing for some of us as we try to find new means of celebrating Eid al-Fitr this year. However, we could still get into the festive mood by preparing or buying some of the dishes and food listed above. With that, we hope that all our readers stay safe and spend the remaining days of Ramadan meaningfully with your loved ones!  via GIPHY...

  • Tips For Muslims Working From Home During Ramadan

    The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous individuals working from home due to lockdown and restrictions put into motion by their relevant nations. With Ramadan now ongoing, a lot of Muslims across the globe ponder on how to remain productive while juggling the work from home lifestyle and Ramadan. If one thing is for certain it is that that the COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed how we work. While we all have begun working from home, a large number of us are still struggling to acclimate to this paradigm shift. Working from home implies more interruptions, fewer approaches to associate normally with fellow colleagues and loved ones, and increasingly social isolation. In any case, a large number of us have additionally gotten exceptionally inventive during our time at home in the course of recent weeks! From arts and crafts to baking, gardening, and much more, a considerable lot of us have acclimated to make a sound work-life balance in what we call the current status - a `new normal`. via GIPHY The current situation in what we are has a likelihood of being extending for a considerable length of time. The advantages of working from home during Ramadan are in bounty. You can make an adaptable timetable that suits your everyday exercises. You get the opportunity to pick where you might want to work from – be it from the solace of your bed or your dining table. You get to save up on the time you would ideally spend on your commute, giving you more additional time to indulge yourself in prayers and reflection. And to top it all of, you get to spend more time with your family! In all situations, along with the advantages, there are disadvantages too. The difficulties of teamwork and correspondence become obvious when colleagues are scattered across the nation in the confinements of their homes as opposed to how it would be when meeting at office premises. Due to working in isolation, you can encounter forlornness, unable to adhere to a boundary between your working timetable, your prayer plan, and your family time which could hinder your motivation. In advance, let your employer know as to when Ramadan is approaching and keep your employer and colleagues on the loop that you will be fasting. Many individuals respond to working from home in various manners. To those who have never had to work from home, it might appear to be a recently discovered opportunity to venture out and indulge in other productive activities at the same time. During this Ramadan, if you end up working from home, here are some valuable tips for you! These tips can help you to get used to working from home during Ramadan and ensure that you remain productive. via GIPHY 1. Keep Up a Schedule and Plan for the Day Image Credit: Jess Bailey on Unsplash It is essential to develop strict schedules or working hours. Wake up at your typical time and go through your standard day to day routine whilst incorporating time for your prayers. On the off chance that you are a parent with an infant, utilize their rest times effectively, and attempt to plan work that requires extreme concentration or telephone calls during these occasions. You might need to have a discussion with your manager about an altered timetable that works for both of you while working from home with a child. It is vital to set a timetable for the day and monitor your daily routine and whether you are sticking to it. Likewise, include brief breaks in your calendar to invigorate and reenergize to increment and lift your efficiency levels. Be in the present and focus on tasks for the day. Look forward to the end of the workday. Plan for the week using task management techniques. 2. Keep Tabs on Your Children Image Credit: Shitota Yuri on Unsplash Along with us having to work from home due to the closure of offices, children too will be at home with you due to school closures. Like how you would draw up a schedule for yourself, plan a timetable which consists of a few exercises such as arts and crafts that would keep them involved and occupied while you work. To ensure that your children do not feel disengaged, make sure to include their meal times as well.  3. Set Up a Beneficial and Comfortable Workspace Image Credit: James McDonald on Unsplash If you have experienced working from home previously, you would know that the main tools required to carry out your tasks efficiently and effectively are a high-speed solid internet connection and router, as well as a comfortable and relaxed workspace that is well lit, ventilated and preferably with an ergonomic chair. 4. Collaborate with Your Team and Loved Ones Image Credit: Gabriel Benois on Unsplash Given the current situation in the world, sentiments of detachment and isolation are common with all those currently working from home. Presently, things are quite tough without the capacity to see companions or depend on standard ways of dealing with stress like meeting up with friends, going for a movie, or even enjoying a meal at your favorite restaurant. Working from home can be lonely, so make sure you have sync up call with your team on a daily basis and conduct a sanity check on each of them. Continue conversing with individuals so that you do not feel disengaged. There are various applications that you can use like Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, and Google Meet. 5. Limit the Time Spent on Social Media Image Credit: Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash If it is one guilty pleasure the modern generation has – it would be being very attached to social media. This addiction can be one goliath mood killer in case you are not cautious and use it in small doses daily. When you spend your time on social media, ensure that it does not cause a negative state of mind. Limit time spent checking the news to break times. Choose alerts from a few trusted sources if necessary. 6. Self-love and Self-care Image Credit: Karthik Thoguluva on Unsplash During these troubling times, work should not be your only priority. Deal with your physical and mental prosperity during this delicate time too. Set yourself up for progress by getting enough physical movement and keeping up your emotional well-being. This can incorporate meditating, having a blog to let out your thoughts and to express yourself, yoga or online workout tutorials. These exercises, even if they are in small doses, may assist you with letting out some repressed steam and bad energy so you can concentrate on your work better. Consolidate more exercise into your everyday schedule to keep up your empowered state of mind. Ensure to also snack healthy and right. Substitute your junk food consumption with brain foods like fruits and nuts which help maintain your vitality levels. Wash your hands routinely with soap and water taking into consideration the 8 stages to clean your hands. Make sure to wash and disinfect your hands often. Abstain from touching and making contact with your face. What more would you be able to do to make the most out of Ramadan this `Working from home` period? When creating your schedule for when you are working from home during this Ramadan, make ensure you incorporate your daily prayers and iftar preparation timings in your list. Nowadays it is easier to draw up lists and forget about them the very next moment. Be disciplined to ensure that you stick by the schedule and not evade or take into consideration all that has to be done during the holy month of Ramadan. Here are some pointers that you can take note of! via GIPHY Morning  Take ablution and perform Tahajjud and Fajr. Practice manners and Dua of waking up & morning Azkar. Keep updated with the news around the world and stay connected with your loved ones. Catch up and have a virtual meet up with family, friends or colleagues. Perform Duha. Be in the state of Wudu for the entire day. Incorporate short breaks for breathing exercises or light stretches in between tasks. Afternoon  Perform Zuhr. During your lunch break, utilize it for iftar preparations. Try out a new recipe. Cook a healthy and hearty meal for Iftar! Take a 20-minute power nap during the day to recharge and wake up feeling refreshed! Evening  Perform Asr. Complete Evening Azkar. Perform Maghrib. Have iftar with your family and inquire about how their day went and if there are any challenges they require assistance with. Use serving spoons to prevent germs from spreading. Spend some time reading the Quran and learning religious knowledge. You could also listen to Islamic podcasts. Perform Isha. Sleep early. Working from home can get exhausting, so getting ample and consistent sleep is key to being productive the next day.   Make an effort to be cautious about your eating and napping timings when you are not fasting. Try not to keep awake until late at night, entertaining yourself with different exercises. Make it a point to sleep early. Working from home can deplete your energy, so getting as much rest as possible is critical to having a fruitful day the following day. Talk it out with your boss with regard to the chance of not having your lunch break. Inquire as to whether they will permit you to keep working at noon or take a shorter mid-day break for prayers. Keep yourself hydrated well during the night and at Sahoor and after iftar, with the goal that you don't get dehydrated during your working hours. via GIPHY Working from home during the holy month of Ramadan may not be what you arranged or anticipated prior to the pandemic. However, you can take advantage of it. Figure out what's vital and organize your schedule appropriately. Remain concentrated so you can work capably and possess more energy for different undertakings like your prayers.  ...

  • Self-Love Series: 10 Books to Read for Personal Development and Growth

    Ramadan in 2020 is different from the previous years; some of the things that Muslims used to do as part of their tradition as fasting month approaches may have changed. Due to the current pandemic, it seemed that many could no longer do activities they used to, including going to places of worship and gathering in large groups with their family and friends, in order to curb the spread of the virus. However, if we look at the positive side of the situation, we may find ourselves having lots of time at home to start on activities that we usually put off in normal circumstances due to the lack of time. As we spend most of our time at home, we are able to get back into reading to improve ourselves and boost our capacity. We can also start to focus on personal development and growth by being exposed to various literature that guides on the ways in which we can achieve this.  Here, we will provide 10 book titles, which are highly recommended for those of you who want to start reading for personal development and growth!  via GIPHY    1. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson Image Credit: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson on Amazon This book is a good guide to figuring out what you want in life and at work, and how you can go about achieving it. It provides a counter-intuitive approach to living a good life. There are points of recommendation that you can find in this book if you want to reduce the level of stress and anxiety that you may feel around your personal goals, performances, and abilities. It will help you to build some self-awareness around the kind of lifestyle that will make you happy in the long term and make you understand why one tends to give too many f*cks about problems that don’t matter and give too few to those that do.    2. The Art Of Letting God by Mizi Wahid Image Credit: The Art of Letting God by Mizi Wahid on Wardah Books This is an evergreen book; an Islamic book collection that re-defines the concept and mechanism of effort and Tawakkul. It provides new insights on the meaning of surrendering and relying on God for the truth. The fact that we are powerless beings and yet still given the power to choose what we want to do in life. The book also elaborates on how to with heartbreaks and frustrations and also acts as a guide on how to achieve a positive outlook in life. You might not find an answer during certain points of your life but this book will make you reflect on everything that has happened; all of these happenings are a blessing and God always has the perfect timing to give you that blessing. The author portrays his experiences and also the real-life lessons of another person, into words that we can relate to in our lives. In this digital era where social media seems to control our lives, where there is a lack of privacy, where it is easy for people to judge us and also where people constantly search for popularity - he puts some guides that will slowly get us back on track.  3. Light Upon Light by Nur Fadhilah Wahid Image Credit: Light Upon Light by Nur Fadhilah Wahid on Wardah Books This book would definitely help you see things in a new light, if you haven’t already, according to the book's title. This book is highly recommended for you to read throughout the month of Ramadan so that you could reflect and relate it to your own life. You don’t have to rush every chapter to finish the book quickly. Read it when you are at your lowest because it will remind you that you are never alone in facing troubles and worries of life. The way the book is written is easy to understand as it is written with humor; it doesn’t become too heavy and yet still deals with really deep thoughts and ideas. Also, the book is about working on one's self to be the best version of ourselves by making small changes in our lives. 4. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis Image Credit: Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis on Amazon Hi ladies, if you want to chase your dreams, let's get started by reading Hollis's work. This book is perfect for those who believe that women should work outside their homes. This book guides you to improve your ability by making your goals and dreams come true. In following this path, the author emphasizes that one should not apologize for having such goals in the first place. The best thing about this book is that the author, Hollis, puts what is important to her first, despite what others may think or say. She doesn't shy away from sharing her thoughts or ideas even if someone may get offended, as long as it is valuable for her readers. 5. The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins Image Credit: The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins on Amazon  This book is like a tool for one to overcome bad habits. There are several tips on how to become confident, break the habit of procrastination and self-doubt, bear feat and uncertainly, stop worrying, and feel happier, and lastly, sharing your ideas with courage. Mel Robbins' writing style is simple and I highly recommend it for college students as situations described in this book may be more relatable to them. The author motivates readers by challenging them to do something that will break them out of their comfort zone by following one of her rules, “doing things that scare you actually make you more confident…” So, if you find yourself struggling with some of these bad habits, The 5 Second Rule is the best choice of book to read this Ramadan to improve yourself. 6. Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck by Seth Godin Image Credit: Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck? By Seth Godin on Amazon Despite this book being published many years ago, Seth Godin's work is definitely relevant in the current situation. This masterpiece covers his perspective on marketing, leadership, creativity, careers, innovation, and many more. These are several of his quotes related to self-development;  “Dreamers don’t have special genes. They find circumstances that amplify their dreams’’ This quote is very insightful since everyone has an equal opportunity to set goals, even dreamers. Yet, we need to find out a circumstance that will grow our effort to reach our purpose. “Persistence isn’t using the same tactics over and over. That’s just annoying. Persistence is having the same goal over and over” This quote gives a good motivation for all of us when applying for a job. Persistence is how we set the same goal but try to achieve it through different means. This book is definitely useful during this current climate where many face difficulties finding jobs. Hopefully, this book would inspire one to never give up and constantly try to achieve their goals.  7. The True Secret by Amira Ayad Image Credit: The True Secret by Amira Ayad on Amazon This book will help you to unlock a potential skill that you might not have noticed before. Basically, you could find motivation when reading this verse in the Qu'ran 13:11 which says:  “Verily, God will never change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” The True Secret written by Amira Ayad is a motivational book that suggests forward-looking life guidance to readers. Ayad combines Islamic teachings with scientific researches to help her readers evaluate their life situations and action plans that need to be taken. Once you apply the advice given in this book, it will help you find a path towards achieving success and happiness. Reading this book during Ramadan and reflecting on it is highly recommended.  8. Mindset: The New Psychology for Success by Carol S Dweck Image Credit: Mindset: The New Psychology for Success by Carol S Dweck on Amazon Every book authors would have conducted deep research before writing an inspiring book. Carol S. Dweck, Stanford University Psychologist, did years of deep and thorough research which resulted in this mind-blowing book written for her readers. She focuses on how our mindset can be a good compass for our life. She believes that mindsets can be a huge determinant in achieving one's goal. Dweck is pretty sure that every aspect of human life can be leveraged by the mindset, added that we have options on how we take strategies to get closer to our primary goals. During Ramadan, while exercising social distancing, mental health issue becomes a concern as we stay at home for days, not exposed to the outside world. It is best to constantly have a positive mindset so that we are strong enough to stay healthy mentally during this crisis. 9. Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins Image Credit: Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins on Amazon Tony Robbins described in his book that every human being has their own huge potential. Unfortunately, some of us may not be aware of how to "turn on" this hidden talent of ours. As such, Robbins wrote a book that will help us all to find who really are, what our life purpose is, and how to awaken our ability. In his best-seller book, Robbins mentioned that in life, lots of people already have an idea of what to do and yet, only a few of them actually act upon this. We need a clear purpose first and then set out to do some actions to achieve this. Surely, not every action will result in positive outcomes that we expect but according to the author, it is best if we take charge of our own emotions rather than let these emotions take control of us. We are the ones controlling life and not the other way round.  10. The Power of Boredom: Why Boredom is Essential for Creating a Meaningful Life by Mark A. Hawkins Image Credit: The Power of Boredom: Why Boredom is Essential for Creating a Meaningful Life by Mark A. Hawkins on Amazon Yes! You are reading this title right. Mark A. Hawkins’s book is apt during this current situation. Staying at home for days can eventually drive us into boredom. Yet, boredom is not always negative, so let’s change our paradigm about it. At the beginning of social distancing, we may still be able to fill our time by doing some household chores, some activities at home, and also watching entertaining movies or videos. However, we may ourselves bored with this routine eventually. According to the author, we should not avoid this feeling of boredom and accept it as normal, since it is able to push us further to create a more meaningful and purposeful life.  The author further elaborates that boredom can be seen as spaces or avenues for one to discover their creative potential and could be the source of energy for a life transformation. Treating boredom as fuel to search for creative ideas is recommended. For example, there are so many entertaining and inspiring videos either on TikTok or other social media platforms. Most of the captions written by all of these successful content creators include – "boredom during social distancing has pushed me to find this Do-It-Yourself recipe" - further reinforcing that boredom may be the key to unlock your creative juices.  via GIPHY I hope that you guys enjoy our recommendations and gain some benefits from reading those books. Don't forget to share our recommendations for these self-help books with your friends. With these recommendations, we hope that you can have a more meaningful Ramadan, as you focus on personal development and growth, Insha Allah. ...

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