Ramadan during lockdown

Karima, a Jigsaw volunteer gives her story

Friday, 24 April was the first day of Ramadan for me and many other Muslims around the world.

This Ramadan will be different to the many others I’ve experienced, due to the current lockdown situation.

Throughout the month of Ramadan, most Muslims won’t eat or drink between dawn and sunset. This is known as fasting and it is one of the Five Pillars of Islam; alongside Faith, prayer, charity and doing Hajj (a journey to the city of Mecca). Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. As we use the lunar calendar, its date changes on a yearly basis that is based on the different moon cycles.

Struggling with schoolwork at home

Without being able to go to class because of Covid-19, you may have been forced to do all your school work from home.

Up until recently, school more than likely involved direct teacher support, and a structured learning environment. Self-guided study is not something that comes naturally to many of us.

Whether school was something you loved or hated, having to do school work from home can bring a whole new set of challenges. These can differ depending on your circumstances but can include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed with the volume of work
  • Not understanding what’s required, or feeling lost
  • Not having a decent computer/device or enough phone data to access online work
  • A lack of a quiet workspace to concentrate
  • Having to care for others in the household
  • Feeling there is no point in keeping up with schoolwork, particularly with uncertainty around exams.

If you’re struggling to keep on top of schoolwork, you could also experience feelings of guilt, frustration, anger or stress. Know that you’re not on your own. It could be really helpful to reach out and let teachers know how you are managing.

Below, watch teacher Darren Byrne talks about staying connected with school.

Grief and loss in exceptional times

During the past few months so much has changed in our world. Certain things continue – people get sick, people die, people die suddenly. And sadly, many people have died of Covid-19.

But, everything feels quite different now, when the usual rituals and coming together are no longer available to us. There is no right way to feel or to grieve the loss of someone we love.

However, there might be some things we can do to ease the pain and strangeness a little. Of course, they will be different for everyone and it’s about finding your own way.

Feeling anxious as society reopens

Lockdown life since March 2020 brought about many changes for all of us. The easing of restrictions may be very welcome but can bring some feelings of anxiety along with them. 

One of the biggest changes for the last year was our social interactions. The on-again off-again seeing people outside the home, led to some creative ways to stay connected. But, it has been a challenge for many to not be able to visit their support systems.

Disappointment and Covid-19

Many of us have felt a sense of disappointment and loss since March 2020, when the first lockdown began. Life as we knew it, stopped in its tracks.

There we were walking through life and a roadblock was dragged in front of us. Parties, socialising with friends, holidays, exams, graduations or going to work all needed to be cancelled.

We lost the freedom to plan activities into the future, or spontaneously do things for enjoyment. Nearly 2 years on, and strict lockdown measures have been put back in place, bringing renewed uncertainty, frustration and disappointment.

Looking forward to the end of lockdown

If someone told you last Christmas about an impending global pandemic, where people were encouraged to stay at home you would have thought it was science fiction. 

Faced with challenging times, we can look for different options to help. Sometimes it’s good to work out what we need in the moment and at that time for support. Other times it can be good to plan for things to look forward to, or work out what’s important to us for the future.

We asked some of our young volunteers around Ireland about what they were looking forward to and wanted to share some of these with you.

Family and friends

Unsurprisingly, a lot of our volunteers mention friends and family.

I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and friends after lockdown. Aisling O’ (18) Meath

Seeing my friends and going shopping. Amina Abdallgany (17) Meath

I am excited to see and spend time with my friends and family. Annemarie Driver (20) Meath

Going back to work, seeing my family and friends. Emily (18) Donegal

Seeing my friends. Daragh Nerney

Being able to go see my granny, friends and extended family members. Ruth O’Dea, Clare/Galway

Hugging my nieces and seeing my family and friends. Visiting my boyfriend whom I haven’t seen in over 4 months. Keith Judge (24) Dublin

Seeing my nana and giving her a hug. I saw her everyday after work and I miss that. Nicola (19) Dublin

I cannot wait to see my friends and family when this is all over! My godson was born the first week of lockdown so I am yet to meet him! This young volunteer has chosen to be anonymous.

Spending time with my friends. Yvonne (24) Limerick

I’m most looking forward to giving all my family and friends and big hug and spending time with them again. Mark (22) Dublin

How do I access Jigsaw?

Are you aged 12 to 25 and looking to get one-to-one support with your mental health? If so, your local Jigsaw service can help.

Getting in touch

Start the process by calling or emailing your local Jigsaw service yourself. Your parent or guardian, or teacher, doctor, or youth worker can also take that first step, contacting the service for you with your permission.

If you are under 18, Jigsaw requires that an adult consent for you to attend. That means we need to check with your parent or guardian and let them know you want to attend our service.

However, it does not mean we have to tell them why you want to come to Jigsaw. We will discuss what we can keep confidential with you when you come in.

Once you get in touch, a member of staff will ask you for some basic details. If you both decide Jigsaw is the right service for you, they will organise an appointment for you with a Jigsaw Clinician.

If your situation is more complicated, they might arrange for a Jigsaw Clinician to call you back. This will be to discuss things in a bit more detail before deciding on the next steps.

What is a Jigsaw service?

Jigsaw is a mental health service. But more specifically, it is an early intervention service for young people at primary care level.

Grief and loss

When someone close to you dies it can be gut-wrenching and confusing. Your emotions will be all over the place while you get a handle on what happened.

You can’t bring them back, but you can find ways to be easy on yourself during this hard time.

What is grief?

Grief is a natural, human reaction to loss. When you lose someone close to you, there is a period afterwards of mourning. Grief is the emotional and physical feelings you get as you mourn.