Words by Dr. Saliha Afridi, Clinical Psychologist and Managing Director of The LightHouse Arabia
While many enjoy the reflective, spiritual, and community aspects that are part of this month, they struggle with moodiness and fatigue, which they attribute to lack of food or water during the day. The truth is that being ‘moody’ and ‘tired’ probably is the result of people experiencing withdrawals from addictive substances, dehydration, poor sleep, lack of exercise, and eating poorly at sunset.
The research is conclusive: fasting, when done right, is healing and restorative for your physical health.
Here are some benefits you should know about fasting and your physical health.
The aforementioned benefits cannot be utilized if the person is not intentional with how they spend this month. Many of the bad habits (staying up all night, eating fried and heavy foods, drinking coffee late at night etc.) that are adopted during this month are culturally condoned and unhealthy, defeating the purpose of this month all together. If we fast with intention, and are mindful about what we are eating, staying hydrated, sleeping properly, and continuing on with our physical exercise, only then will we reap the benefits of this month.
As a clinical psychologist for the past 13 years, Dr. Saliha Afridi has spent 12 years working in the UAE and founded The Lighthouse Arabia in 2011, a community mental health and wellness clinic providing quality psychological and psychiatric care to children, adults, couples, and families. Dr. Afridi has worked with prominent companies and ministries such as The Executive Council, The National Program for Happiness and Well-being from the Happiness Ministry, many professional service firms, and fortune 100 companies in her bid to dissolve mental health stigma and be at the forefront of the mental health movement within the UAE and the region. Dr. Afridi’s vision is to make mental health practices more accessible through licensing and insurance reforms, changes within the education system to teach about mental health and emotional and mental wellbeing from a young age, taking a preventative approach to mental health rather than a treatment-based approach. Seeing the need for increased mental health literacy, she took the initiative to bring the internationally acclaimed Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to the UAE in 2017, with The LightHouse Arabia becoming the only licensed provider for the evidence-based course which enables adults and teens to become accredited mental health first aiders. Dr. Afridi is committed to leading and being at the center of the continued positive mental health changes to be seen in the region.