Ramadan and Spiritual Wellness

By: Doa Jamal, Francis College of Engineering Well-being Leader


Ramadan, the holy month in the Islamic lunar calendar, holds special significance for Muslims as they engage in a daily fast from sunrise to sunset, refraining from food and drink. Starting this year on March 10th, with the inaugural day of fasting on March 11th, Ramadan stands as one of the five core pillars of Islam.

This fasting ritual goes beyond mere abstention; it serves as a profound form of worship, enabling Muslims to rejuvenate spiritually, strengthen their religious awareness, and intensify their devotion to God. By consciously restraining their desires throughout daylight hours, individuals embark on a transformative journey, initiating and concluding each day with prayer and worship. The fast encourages mindfulness and appreciation for blessings, as Muslims express gratitude to God. Enduring abstinence fosters a heightened awareness of the scarcity of essential elements like food and water in different regions.

Moving beyond its religious aspects, Ramadan inspires Muslims to instigate positive changes, cultivating habits that extend beyond the holy month. This involves avoiding sins such as lying and backbiting, promoting virtuous conduct, and contributing to personal development.

Recognizing the broader significance of fasting, individuals from diverse faiths adopt this practice for reasons such as religion, health, spirituality, and more.


Spiritual Well-Being

However, spiritual wellness does not necessarily include religion (though it can). Spiritual wellness is defined as striving for equilibrium and unity through an exploration of significance and connection, delving into your fundamental principles (morals and ethics), deciphering how you interpret life events, and identifying what gives you comfort and relief.

Some goals to work on your spiritual well-being can be:

  • Ponder and explore your personal values. 
  • Ask questions to understand and clarify those values. 
  • Gain awareness of how life experiences shape and alter your values. 
  • Recognize variations in the values of others. 
  • Seek meaning in your life. 
  • Foster integrity by aligning your actions with your values.


  1. https://yaqeeninstitute.org/what-islam-says-about/ramadan 
  2. https://www.uml.edu/wellbeing/dimensions/spiritual.aspx
  3. https://www.northwestern.edu/wellness/8-dimensions/spiritual-wellness.html#:~:text=Spiritual%20wellness%20is%20defined%20as,may%20not%20involve%20religious%20activities.  

UML’s Strive to Improving Food Insecurity on Campus

Final Capstone project by Diana Morillo and Jade L. Caldwell

Reflection by Diana Morillo

The desire to help people and leave an impact was a strong motivator for me to intern for Student Life and Wellbeing on campus, as their mission and values are in line with mine. During this time, I had the opportunity to not only collaborate with the Student Life and Wellbeing on campus but also the UML strive pantry to fight against food insecurity on campus. The program aims to provide students with the resources and support they need to succeed at college through a holistic approach that integrates several components to maximize a person’s wellbeing (UML Wellbeing, 2022). The office of Student Life and Wellbeing has identified these components as emotional health, financial health, intellectual health, spiritual health, physical health, occupational health, environmental health, and social health. These are all important components of health in order to effectively address the needs of students who are experiencing a level of financial distress or have been unable to meet their basic needs, such as food security.

As an intern, my responsibility began with conducting research that would gather relevant data to translate into actionable insights with the purpose of improving food insecurity on campus. After a great deal of research and attending the National Anti-Hunger Conference, I became more aware of the need to improve the understanding of food insecurity to reduce the stigma, but also understand its effect on students not only outside the campus but also on campus. The research began with food insecurity, but it ultimately evolved into bridging the financial gap to access food through financial literacy. The reason is, that financial literacy is a critical component in food security, yet, 40 percent of four-year students reported struggling with basic financial literacy (NASFAA, 2018). This lack of financial literacy can be attributed to the fact that schools do not provide adequate financial education for students, so it is imperative for colleges to take on the initiative of implementing a financial literacy program to help students become financially literate (Financial Educators Council, 2022). With that being said, students could benefit from a financial literacy program to help reduce the risk of food insecurity.  




Don’t Sleep on Trivia Night 3/22/22

On March 22nd, 2022, The Office of Student Life and Well-being hosted their first event, Don’t Sleep on Trivia. Students are constantly reporting that they don’t get enough sleep, and March is Sleep Awareness Month, which made it the perfect time for an event related to sleep.

Students were able to attend both in person and virtually. The event was also a “Destination UML” event, meaning that prospective students considering attending UML were able to attend as well.

The room filled up with students eager to learn about healthy sleep habits, so much so that we ran out of chairs! Students enjoyed whole wheat zucchini muffins and yogurt parfaits, which both contain a healthy balance of carbohydrates and dairy, making them the perfect snack for a good night’s sleep.

The event kicked off with a presentation about the science of sleep by Diana Walker-Moyer, Director of Health Services. She explained that sleep is a time for the body to restore, and not the brain. She spoke of the hormones that affect our sleep, emphasizing the importance of getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night and waking up at the same time each day. She explained that healthy sleep improves our physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being.

After Diana’s great presentation, Assistant Director of Student Life and Well-being, Hannah Monbleau hosted Round 1 of Trivia. Students answered questions about the science of sleep [which were informed by Professor Zhang from the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences] from their phones (how convenient!). The top 3 winners were announced on the leader board and a sleep mask, essential oil diffuser, and Tempurpedic pillow were claimed by the winners!

Up next, University Dining’s Dietitian provided nutrition tips for healthy sleep. She broke them into her “Sleep Do’s” and “Sleep Don’ts”

According to Melissa, to achieve healthy sleep you should:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet such as the Mediterranean diet
  • Limit highly processed foods
  • Have a carbohydrate containing snack 1 hour before bed combined with a dairy product

To achieve healthy sleep, you should NOT:

  • Deprive yourself of sleep- you will be hungrier and prefer high fat and high sugar foods
  • Have caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime
  • Eat highlight processed foods before bed, and avoid being energy depleted, as it will be harder to fall asleep.

Next, the Office of Student Life and Well-being shared some tips from Jon Bragg, Associate Director of Residential Education, including respecting quiet and courtesy hours, and requesting support from an RA if someone is being too loud, making your room as comfortable as possible, having a blanket for the winter and a fan for the summer, creating a sleep schedule for your roommate and always using headphones when watching TV or listening to music.

After Melissa and Res Life’s great tips, Hannah Monbleau hosted a 2nd round of trivia. This time, the 10 questions were related to sleep dos and don’ts. Students answered on their phones and the top 3 winners won! The prizes were a lavender sleep spray, a sound machine, and a weighted blanket.

The event concluded with Diana Walker-Moyer providing attendees with the following take-aways:

  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep at night
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment
  • If you lose sleep, catch up by going to bed 1-2 hours earlier the next night
  • Avoid daytime naps if you can, but if you must nap, limit it to 20-30 minutes
  • Put the lid on the caffeine, the nicotine, and the alcohol too close to bedtime
  • Use your bed for sleep and sex only.
  • Exercise to move your body! But don’t exercise 3-4 hours before bedtime.
  • Finish regular meals 2-3 hours before bed, but don’t go to sleep hungry! Have a healthy bedtime snack such as yogurt with granola or cheese and crackers.

Students and staff that attended hopefully left feeling full of both yummy food and great sleep knowledge and were ready to have the best night’s sleep of their lives!