Want to give up something other than chocolate or coffee for Lent? We've got ideas for you!
Every year, thousands of Christians around the world observe the season of Lent by giving up a vice for the 40 days leading up to Easter. This voluntary practice is meant to help Christians focus on God and Jesus rather than themselves by giving up indulgences or distractions and choosing to spend time on acts of service or kindness. This idea of self-sacrifice, betterment, and outward attention strikes a chord with many, so much so, that many non-Christians also observe the tradition of a Lenten “fast.”
The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and this year, that is today, February 17. If you still haven't decided what to give up for Lent, there is nothing like saving your homework for the day it's due! You're not alone, however, and we could all probably benefit from giving up procrastination (yep, that's going on the list). Here are 10 things you should consider giving up this Lenten season that you may not have thought of before.
The Snooze Button
Let's dive right in with the hard stuff! Consider giving up that snooze button for the next 6+ weeks and imagine how much extra time you would have. If you currently hit that snooze button two, three, four (or more) times each morning, getting up at the first alarm could easily give you an extra half hour to an hour of usable time. Use it to meditate, read, spend time with your loved ones, or even cook and eat a healthy breakfast.
Whatever your goal right now, be it eating healthier, working out more regularly, or something else, once you commit to it, give up the cheat day. If you plan to work out three times this week, don't skip. If you plan to pack your lunch every day, don't slack. Use Lent to remove the excuse of taking the “cheat day,” and by Easter, sticking to your schedule might even become a habit.
Okay, so giving up all social media will be hard and may even be impossible (depending on your profession). If you can't give them all up this season, consider giving up one type of social media entirely or cutting back on the way you use it. For instance, if you know that all you do is argue with strangers on Facebook, consider giving up the platform for 40 days, or at least giving up commenting. If you can't take a break from posting on Instagram entirely, consider abstaining from filters for the whole season of Lent instead.
Why do today what you could put off till tomorrow? Because tomorrow you will be crazy-stressed that you waited till the last minute. This Lent, give up procrastinating, and you'll likely find that the whole “I work best under pressure” thing is just a lie we tell ourselves.
Single-use plastics are one of the biggest sources of pollution on our planet. There are literally dozens of different types of plastic many of us use daily that are thrown in the trash after just one use: plastic bags, water bottles, disposable utensils, straws, coffee stirrers, and more. Use Lent as a chance to commit to ditching the single-use plastics. Opt for a reusable water bottle, avoid the vending machines, keep reusable utensils in your desk, and skip the straw! Look for the less obvious examples to avoid too, like disposable razors and k-cups.
How much time do you waste crushing candies, slicing fruit, or playing some other phone game that has temporarily caught your attention? What could you get done if you weren't nose-deep in your phone? Lent is a great time to figure out the answer to that question!
Screen time before bed actually makes it harder to get restful sleep (thanks, blue light), so use Lent as an excuse to give the computer, TV, tablet, and yes, your phone a curfew. Two or three hours before bed, shut them off and put them away, and spend the time doing something relaxing instead.
Negativity adds nothing to your life and often simply results in a spiral of destructive emotions. This Lent, let go of all the negativity you've been holding on to. When you feel yourself slipping into a negative thought pattern, re-position and actively think of things you're thankful for. If you're hanging on to hurt, anger, or jealousy over something, let it go. Opt for forgiveness and free yourself of the burden you've been carrying.
There are several benefits of a well-timed swear, but if you find yourself reaching for an expletive more often than you'd like, take this opportunity to refrain. Committing to a few weeks of life sans-swearing might be just what you need to retrain your tongue.
If your home is filled with miscellaneous stuff that you don't really need, or want, or even like, you've got clutter and it's likely adding to your stress. Give it up for Lent and commit to donating one thing each day. By the end of the season, you'll have donated at least 40 things and your home will be substantially less cluttered (hopefully).
Do you have creative ideas for things to give up for Lent? Let us know in the comments!