“Lent” is a period of 40 days before Easter. It starts the day after Pancakes Day (“Shrove Tuesday”) and finishes on Easter Sunday. Of course, if you wish to be pedantic and count the days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, you will actually get to 46 (but Sundays are ‘discounted’ so it’s ok).
In the Anglo-Saxon countries, from England to America, via Australia and Canada, we like to give up a particular vice, like eating chocolate or McDonald’s ice-cream, for Lent. Some people even give up meat or fizzy drinks. Others prefer to help someone instead.
Read on for a mix of interesting ideas around what you can give up for Lent. We have included some traditional ones and spiced those up with our own, more original and off-the-wall, ideas. We hope you find these inspirational and pick at least one that will truly help you better yourself! Please let us know what you think by commenting below or get in touch with us directly.
And of course enjoy the numerous coffee-time conversations that this article will inspire in your colleagues!
1. Give up the Restaurants
Stop eating out for 40 days and see how much you can save – and how much waste you can avoid. And that includes restaurants and takeaways too, you cheeky monkey!
2. Pay a Compliment a Day
Pay someone a compliment, praise someone or simply say something nice. It doesn’t have to be strangers or colleagues only – start with your own family. “Didn’t you brush your teeth superman-fast this morning darling!” … You will feel like a much nicer person immediately – guaranteed! Try varying the people you compliment each day and observe how different people react to praise – just for fun. And why not give up the criticism altogether? Whenever you feel like making a negative comment about someone, complaining about something or being critical in general, make an effort and stop yourself. You will be surprised how difficult this one is!
Every day, we are faced with so many temptations. Chocolate, ice-cream, new movie subscription, new shoes, new phones… If there is something you want, but don’t need – don’t buy it. Instead, look at the price and put the money you would have spent, into a jar. From experience, clothes are the easier ones to stop – try doing it with food… Good luck!
At Easter, count how much you have saved in just 40 days. And if that is not satisfying enough for you, try putting half of the amount in your savings account and donating the other half!
4. Give Up Sugar
Apparently, sugar causes more deaths each year than car accidents. That’s a good enough argument for me to cut down my processed sugar intake in general and give it up altogether for Lent. A word of warning – it won’t be easy and you are likely to have mad cravings for sweet things for at least 10 days. It does get easier as days go by, promise! And remember, there is always a spoon of honey or some dried figs to keep you going and get you through the day. And what about giving up late night snacking? So many of us feast on chocolate, ice-cream or even cheese in the evenings in front of telly. Instead, try treating yourself to a light dessert at the end of dinner – then stick to cups of herbal tea only. It’s actually more difficult than it sounds… Easier said than done.
5. Declutter And Throw Away One Thing A Day
Pick one thing every day of Lent to throw away or, even better, give away! You will be amazed how good it feels to give – while decluttering your home! As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t used something for a year, you are probably ready to part with it.
6. Exercice Instead Of Watching A Screen
Try complementing at first. For every minute of Netflix you plan to watch, do that many minutes of working out first. Jogging, stretching, dancing – they all do the trick! Any type of exercise is good enough really, as long as it gets you away from the screen. Observe how your addiction to the screens eases off as Lent goes by. Who knows, perhaps some time around Easter you will be capable of substituting screen time with exercise, and not just complementing.
7. Give Up Buying Plastic Bottles
Here at EXSELLme we are committed to making changes to help the planet. From boiling the kettle only once in the morning then using flasks to keep tea warm for our team and students throughout the day and encouraging the use of public transport, to avoiding ready-made meals for staff and minimising the number of our car journeys per day. We are even going as far as declaring our new floating office on the Rhein in Strasbourg “plastic-free”. For 40 days only, or longer if you wish, work with us to help the planet: stop buying plastic bottles.