Preparing yourself mentally in terms of being able to control yourself in all aspects as you are faced with challenges that you're not used to in a completely different environment is very difficult.  The only way you can overcome this is to be able to change your outlook and takes things as they come.  My mantra is 'go with the flow'.  I stick by that and it always helps.

Performing Hajj isn't easy.  But what does it mean when everyone always keeps saying it's not easy.  What do they mean by 'not easy'?  Is it standing in the heat and making dua?  Is it the long walks?  Is it the intense heat?  Even though all of that is part of Hajj, for me it means  to be able to do Sabr.  To be patient.  That is the most important thing.  If you can't be patient and control yourself then things will go downhill very quickly.  You can ruin a good deed and it can all turn sour within seconds.  That's the last thing you want to do, especially during the most blessed time of the year in the most blessed land.

So how do you prepare yourself mentally?  Firstly, don't expect too much.  If you expect too much, you're already heading for failure.  Remember that whatever happens along the way it is by the will of Allah and that is how it's all supposed to go.  It was always meant to be that way.  And it's up to you to make sure you face every challenge the right way.

Everything won't go the way it's written in the text book, and in that order.  Life doesn't work like that.  Sometimes things come up unexpectedly or there may be a delay.  It's easy to blame your tour guide but it's not always his fault.  Sometimes it's not all in his hands, so bear that in mind.  Remember that he's doing all the running around to make sure you get the best service and at the same time he's also performing his Hajj too.  So take it easy and let him do his job whilst you take care of collecting as much reward as you can.  It's all about how well you cope with each situation.

For example, don't get angry if the bus is late when you get to Jeddah and you've been waiting for ages.  Be prepared that you will be waiting around for long periods of time.  So use those moments in a positive way. Remember that even that particular moment is part of your Hajj journey and it's not just the five days so make the most of every single moment.

Traveling times will be a lot longer during the busy Hajj period.  Traveling from Jeddah to Makkah normally takes one hour, however during Hajj it can take up to 6 or more hours due to all the checks they need to do.  So be prepared for delays like this and try to stay calm as no matter what you do it's not going to get done any quicker!

Your Hajj journey starts from the moment you leave your home.  So from that moment every thing that happens is going to test you.  And the best way to face each moment is to go with the flow.  Take each moment as it comes.  Don't look to what might happen and the what ifs.  Just go with it.  Trust me, you'll enjoy it more.  At the end of the day, every challenge you face is from Allah, and each one that you overcome successfully, you are rewarded and you're getting one step closer to performing Hajj.  So take it in your stride and try not to complain.  Make the best of what you've got and it will be an unforgettable experience.  

Each time I've been for Hajj,  I've been faced with a few challenges that Alhumdulillah I was able take in my stride and they made the whole trip all the more memorable.  We love to look back and reminisce about the time we walked for ages and ages in Mina with our tour guide and we still couldn't find our tent!  We had a lovely group of people with us and we laughed and joked about how our tour guide couldn't take us back to our tent even though he'd been so many times before!  And how we had to push him in a wheelbarrow because he was so tired!

And then there was the time when it was the final day of Hajj and we had to make our way to the Jamarat and then back to Makkah.  There was a rainstorm and everything got flooded.  We didn't know how bad it was until we turned the corner and the water was up to our knees and getting higher as we walked along.  It was funny watching everyone wearing make shift water proof jackets out of bin bags that were no use at all!  We walked in the water in our flip flops and struggled to keep them on as one by one some of the people in the group started losing their flip flops in the water.

Each time, these unexpected experiences have made our Hajj and we would do it all over again.  We made great friendships and to this day we're still in touch with those wonderful people.  If everything went to plan, we wouldn't stop to appreciate the things that do go well.  During each of those moments there was no room for complaining, the only thing to do was to make the best of the moment and by doing that the experience is one we can happily look back on for years to come.

Make good memories that you can look back on instead of feeling bad about yourself or regretful later on.  Don't do anything that'll make you wish you could have a second chance because this is it.  THIS is your chance to give 100% to your Hajj so do it well and get it right.

So remember, GO WITH THE FLOW and it'll be the perfect Hajj Inshallah.