Thursday, 13 February 2014

What are you giving up for Lent?

The phrase that transports me back to my Catholic childhood - “What are you giving up for Lent?.” The usual answer being “sweets and chocolate.”

Although I wouldn’t consider myself religious, the Lenten ritual is something I’ve carried on doing. If you ask me these days what I am giving up, things have moved on from “sweets and chocolate”.

A few things I’ve done over the years have been:

  • No alcohol
  • No TV
  • Exercise
  • Tidy Up

So what is the point in giving something up for Lent? When I explained to a friend how I was giving up alcohol one year, her reply was “Why would you put yourself through that misery?”. I hadn’t really thought of it like that - to me it’s about a self-discipline and reminding yourself of the things you take for granted. It helps you take a step back and appreciate what you have.

I think my hardest Lenten task was giving up TV. Not so much the lack of TV, but more the inconvenience it caused trying to avoid it. At the time I lived in a houseshare with 3 others so it was going to be a lonely 40 days and nights if I couldn’t go near the sitting room for that time. My solution was to listen to the radio with head phones and read a book…..and felt incredibly guilty every time I heard a bit of Coronation Street! It got really awkward when I went away for the weekend to stay with friends and had to repeat the same “radio and book” solution. Although it was the toughest Lenten task, it was also the most satisfying to complete.

Jane Fonda's New Workout video

Fancy working out with Jane for 40 days?

Of course there were also the years I failed in my Lenten tasks. The “exercise” year. How I thought I would do my Jane Fonda work everyday for 40 days I don’t know. A little too ambitious and I gave it up after about 3 days.

I’ve seen some great ideas for Lent on the Internet while searching for a little inspiration. Some of my favourites are -

Giving up:
Social networking
Make up
Hot showers
Your bed (sleeping on the couch or floor)
Using mirrors

Write letters
Visit friends and family
Give away 40 of your belongings
Eat only fresh foods
Use the rice bowl app

I also came across a really interesting blog called 12 Months of Lent about a girl who gives herself a different Lenten challenge each month. A wonderful idea and a great source of inspiration

This year I’ve decided to go for something more manageable. In line with my New Year’s resolution to declutter I’m going to commit 10 minutes per day to concentrate on this. I’m hoping by keeping it to just 10 minutes I won’t be tempted to duck out of it. Surely I can spare 10 minutes out of every day? I’m also hoping that on some days I’ll get into a rhythm and do more than 10 minutes.

Ramekin collection: Why do we end up collecting these?

The first thing that pops into my mind is to find a new home for the many ramekin dishes I have collected over the years from those yummy desserts - after 4 years I still haven’t found a use for them.

So what are you giving up for Lent? or do you avoid it altogether?

By Lee


  1. Drinking wine on week days! I suffer from insomnia and one glass helps me get to sleep but it has become a 7 days a week thing!

    1. Sounds good! Hope you are getting on ok with it. Are you trying other things to help with insomnia?

  2. I am giving up on giving things up for Lent this year!

    1. Now that's just cheating! You need to earn that Easter Egg!

  3. I gave up smoking for my New Year's resolution by using a Nicorette for Lent I'm going to give up the nicotine spray!

    1. Congrats on giving up smoking - so many benefits with that. You've done the really hard bit so hopefully this won't be so bad.

  4. I am not givi g up any thing but good luck on finding a suitable place for your ramekin dishes!

    1. Thanks Jo, I think those ramekins are destined for the charity shop once I get to them!

  5. Giving up scratchcards for lent.