Things To Do Whilst Social-Distancing A Guide By Arooj Aftab
A Note from Team BASE: These are unprecedented times and as we all try to adapt and adjust our lives in this strange new world, isolating ourselves from friends and family it is important now more than ever for us to stay connected.
Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing a series of weekly to-do lists, curated by some of our friends, industry insiders and community. They will be sharing their recommendations of things to read, listen to and watch to help keep your minds occupied, your bodies healthy and your souls energised. Whether you’re practising social-distancing or having to self-isolate we hope these recommendations will offer little nuggets of cultural escapism and spark a little joy.
This weeks cultural guide is curated by Fashion Content Creator and Inclusion Consultant Arooj Aftab. Arooj’s work focuses on diversity and inclusion and last year she successfully launched her #DoneWithDiversity campaign which looks at the way diversity is represented in creative industries and educating and working with brands to help them become more diverse and authentically inclusive. Here she shares with us the little things that are helping her through a second Ramadan in lockdown, from staying connected through reading religious transcripts to face-timing her mum for virtual cooking lessons.
WHAT music are you currently listening to?
During Ramadan, it is generally best to refrain from listening to music. However, it’s really up to the individual on how they go about this month, I guess if someone was to, it is advised that they should respect who they’re around as playing it loudly may offend someone else who is fasting.
I’m trying to be as self-disciplined as I can this month, my playlist can be quite explicit with the old school RnB and rap, it’s not overly overly explicit, maybe just a few curse words here and there haha, so let’s just say I won’t be listening to that playlist for a while!
What PODCASTS are you listening to?
I’m trying to get into podcasts! I’ve never been a huge podcast person, however from the ones I have listened to, I really enjoy Growing Up with Gal-dem, Gurls Talk and Brown Girls Do It Too.
What are you currently READING?
Tez Ilyas recently sent me a copy of his new book called The Secret Diary of a British Muslim, so I’ll definitely be having a read of that this month, I’m also going to start reading ‘The Power of No’ by Abbie Headon which my friend gifted me for my birthday in March. As well as this I’ll also be looking to read some nice transcripts of history of my own religion as I feel there’s always a lot to learn and understand. With this will also be reading regular prayers to stay connected.
WHAT are you watching?
Omg, I am obsessed with Girlfriends, I am actually binge watching! It’s so addictive, I love it, it was definitely way ahead of its time, so I would recommend that. I’d also recommend WandaVision on Disney if you haven’t seen it! ‘The One’ on Netflix is also very good, oh and Line of Duty!
HOW are you looking after yourself physically during Ramadan?
I’m sticking to my healthy eating but I recently discovered Chloe Ting on YouTube, I’ll definitely be following some of her workouts, probably a quick session just before my fast opens!
HOW are you looking after yourself mentally and emotionally?
Checking in with family and friends, going for regular walks too. Walking is my favourite. It really helps clear my mind. I recently got a Fitbit, so I’m always keen to get a good amount of steps in, it’s a good adrenaline feel.
How are you feeling about a second Ramadan in lockdown, what are the challenges and how will you celebrate?
Ramadan is one of my favourite times of the year, it’s a very humbling and enlightening month. There’s a lot of gratitude and has a community feel. It’s going to be my second Ramadan without my family given the COVID restrictions, they’re up in Yorkshire, however I still have my twin with me here in London! We will both be cooking together; I think visually we both can make great dishes. Haha our Pakstani food might not be as good as our mums, but I’d say it’s pretty decent still!
What TREATS or foods will you be eating to break your fast each day?
Oooh this is a hard one, I guess it would depend on what I’m feeling, but my twin and I have decided that we will both be cooking and eating healthily, so not too much oiled or fried foods, something more fresh and energising. We’re planning to have a lot of veggies and grilled foods like salmon and chicken and I might treat myself to a samosa here and there, but not every day frying! Our mum is our website hahaha, we both facetime her when we cook Pakistani food and she usually tells us what to do step by step. Although we both want to be healthy, there’s still always room for a cheat day!
WHAT are your sources of inspiration?
My source of inspiration is actually conversation, daily conversation with friends, family, anyone. I’m always uplifted and inspired by good people or people doing good and cool things.
What are your home luxuries that are making you HAPPY?
Candles are my favourite. They make your room feel so much more nicer and comfortable, I love Yankee candles, vanilla or butter cream scents are super nice. I also love lights; I recently bought some LED lights which I ordered from eBay and they make my room feel extra cosy.
How will you be practising self-care during this month?
Connecting to my faith and praying. Praying is like meditation; it brings you a lot of ease and makes you feel very zen. There are 5 prayers a day, this being Fajr, which happens before sunrise around 4:30am ish, then Duhuhr which is in the afternoon around 1pm ish, Asr which is later in the afternoon around 4/5pm, Maghrib which happens when the fast opens in the evening, and then Isha which is later in the evening around 9/10pm. I try to keep all my prayers. I prioritise my prayers and fit my meetings around them rather than fitting time in for my prayers.
Other self-care would be skincare and hair care. I’m just ready for a full month of detox! I’m obsessed with CeraVe’s cleanser, I have combination skin but whenever I get a spot it always scars too. I’m actually now on the hunt for a good brand that does retinol, so if anyone has any recommendations, I would love to know!
Do you have any other tips or advice to help motivate and encourage those who may be observing Ramadan alone this month?
I’d say utilize the technology we have and definitely try having virtual iftar if you can. Social media is also a nice way to connect with people. I have some virtual iftar planned myself and I’m really looking forward to it, it’ll be a fun little dinner party! Faith is a very personal journey and it’s a special one, so there’s not really any advice I would give but enjoy this month, and take this opportunity to reconnect.