Planning on observing Lent this year? Here are some suggestions for worthy challenges you can take on alone or with your family.
The religious tradition of Lent spans from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. It’s observed in many Christian denominations through the practice of giving up daily luxuries as an act of penitence. In contemporary culture, even those who aren’t religious may still take on a Lenten vow as a personal, self-improvement challenge.
If you want to participate, but aren’t sure how, here are some less conventional ways you can get involved.
Do a random act of kindness every day
Rather than giving something up, considering giving something back this Lenten season. Commit to performing a random act of kindness every day. Whether it’s paying for the person in the queue behind you at Starbucks or baking scones for your elderly neighbour, look for ways to brighten the days of those around you.
Take a technology hiatus
Lots of people give up their favourite treats during Lent, like chocolate or coffee. But have you ever considered saying goodbye to television for 40 days? Now that’s a challenge. If, like so many of us, you’re a social media addict, consider signing out of all social networks during the Lenten period.
It may take a few days before you stop instinctively reaching for the remote or checking your favourite social media websites. However, you’ll soon discover all the valuable ways you can spend your time when you’re not sitting in front of a screen. Enjoying a nice, uninterrupted conversation with your loved ones is a great place to start.
If you’re a city dweller, considering leaving your car parked right where it is for the six weeks of Lent. As long as you live within walking distance to shops and bus stops, going car-free is a difficult, yet doable challenge.
In addition to testing your will-power, the car-free challenge has a lot of secondary benefits: it’s good for the environment, it’s good for your health by encouraging you to walk and it’s a great way to save money on petrol!
Shop only at local, independent retailers
Chances are you’re less than 10 minutes away from an enormous chain supermarket that sells everything under the sun. Driving there for the weekly shop is easy, convenient and efficient. However, it’s also a bit detached and impersonal.
Committing to buy from only local, independent shops isn’t just a fantastic way to support your local community, but it also makes for a more rewarding, enjoyable shopping experience. Once you get into the habit of shopping locally, you might never go back!
Are you taking on a challenge for Lent?