Despite the fact we are becoming less religious in the UK, some old habits die hard. There are many traditions that remain good ideas for a secular population; it seems that giving something up for Lent is one of them. Reminding ourselves of what we have and what we should be grateful for is no better demonstrated for those 46 days. That’s why some people still choose to give something up even if they don’t like the idea of fasting. Here are some common modern suggestions.
Spending time on social media can bring families and friends together, but it can also sow division when people spend too much time on their devices and not enough interacting in the real world. This is why many people choose to give up Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and all other accounts for the period of Lent. While it is perhaps unfair to demonise social media and ignore the positives it can bring, take a break from such a modern vice can be therapeutic and make you re-evaluate your relationship with the internet.
Chocolate is one of the great indulgent vices as far as food is concerned. Giving up chocolate for lent is one of the most popular abstinences. It has very little nutritional value aside from some hotly-debated properties of cocoa. It does make us feel good though and scientific studies demonstrate how chocolate chemically releases endorphins. In a way, Lent was/is more about removing the self-indulgence aspect than removing the luxury.
Most of us like a drink although the overwhelming majority of people do not drink so much that it damages their health. A little glass of wine at the weekend or a small glass of beer does not generally do that much harm. Alcohol is another indulgence that we can live without. It’s calorific and one of the first things people are recommended to reduce when trying to lose weight. It’s not surprising that alcohol too comes quite close to the top of the list for recommended things to eliminate or reduce for Lent.
You don’t have to consider going vegetarian or vegan to consider giving up meat for a while. The horse meat scandal and the dangers of over-consumption to our health and the environment has made many people question whether we are eating too much of it. Non-vegetarians realise that people are forced to become more adventurous and experimental in the kitchen when meat is removed from the equation. With so many vegetarian cookbooks on the market, you might actually find this one quite easy.
Your Car (For All Journeys Except When You have No Other Choice)
Help the planet at the same time! It’s become too easy to jump in the car and drive the single mile to the takeaway, drive the children to school, drive to the park and everywhere else. Walking is a cheap form of exercise and therefore good for you, and it’s fun. It will also help you connect with your local environment. Too many of us drive everywhere and simply sleep where we live, not actually getting involved. You never know what you might see or whom you might meet.
While this can mean giving up takeaways, some people try to take this a step further. Stop buying jars of sauce, pre-chopped vegetables and anything else that makes cooking easier. You will learn to create, concoct and modify your own recipes and you will have a lot of fun doing it. As a consumer base, we have become obsessed with convenience and consequently, anxious about cooking from scratch – wrongly believing that it is difficult and takes too much time. You’ll reduce your shopping bill by more than you would expect.