By Elizabeth Greatrex
I know what you’re thinking…. hello darkness, my old friend.
What on earth to give up this time? Sugar? Smoking? Alcohol? Why bother when it’s all going to mean nothing after caving three days in? Another excuse to feel bad about yourself…
But what if I told you that all you need to succeed is a little change of perspective, an alteration to the way you see Lent itself? Lent doesn’t have to be a woeful time of yearning for your everyday vices and bad habits, but a chance to become the best version of you. A chance to embrace life in a way you’ve always wanted, deep down.
Without sounding preachy, Lent really is an opportunity if you look at it in the right way. It’s a friend reaching their hand out to pull you out of the mud. So, take it, pull yourself up and follow through with Lent with a smile on your face. It doesn’t have to actually mean giving up something either, it can be choosing to alter your thinking about something specific or taking up a new positive habit. Lent doesn’t have to be a big deal. Choose just one goal and stick to it, and I promise you’ll feel like a new man or woman at the end of the 40 days.
Here are some ideas.
Delete Social Media
We are living in a time when social media has completely taken over. When platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were first introduced, it was a fun way to keep in contact with your friends and share what you were up to. But times of late have shown social media to be one of the most destructive forces to our mental health. Most of us spend our free time seeking validation from strangers, while some of us can’t go half an hour without checking up on what people that we don’t even care about are posting on their Instagram feed. Which is why giving up social media is one of the most positive things you can do for yourself this Lent. Even if you delete just one social app off your phone, it will make a difference. Worrying if the world is invested in your morning coffee will soon become a distant memory and agonising over how many likes a picture of your new car has received will become laughable.
You’ll be surprised how much free time you have once you delete social media out of your Lent timetable. Why not try something new? Or something you’ve always wanted to do. Instead of looking to Instagram for satisfaction, join specialist, high-end boxing gym BXR London and learn how to box while making friends in real life. Or Invest in a Peloton bike. In the UK, users can immerse themselves in a challenging yet enjoyable fitness class from home by using the Peloton bike and app. A much better alternative to hunching over your computer or phone. If you feel like you’re not strong enough to delete social media on your own, Cold Turkey can help. This website blocker allows you to boost your productivity by blocking distracting websites, applications and games.
Make a Conscious Effort to Stop Complaining
Did you know that the average person complains around 30 times a day? You may think that you’re not one of these people, but like most of us, you probably do it without realising. There is no denying that the British are complete moaners, and understandably so, the lifestyles we lead are extremely stressful and often warrant a good moan. However, studies have shown that although complaining in short bursts can be a relief, extended complaining always ends in negativity for everyone, and is bad for our physical and psychological health, triggering anxiety and depression. Lent is the ideal opportunity for you to take control of your intentional or unintentional whining. It will be hard at first, but every time you feel the need to vent, actively make a choice to instead, see the best out of the situation, or do your upmost not to let the little things get to you. Distract yourself, do something else. Take your mind to a better place by taking part in Another Space’s hot yoga classes in their beautiful pinewood yoga studio, without being bound by membership.
If you feel like you have some underlying issues you need to work through to get on a more positive track, Anamaya will be of great assistance. Their wellbeing experts, therapists and performance coaches can help you work through your issues with different treatments such as energy healing, emotional freedom therapy, life coaching and hypnotherapy. Once you feel more nourished in your mind, body and spirit, complaining will be a thing of the past, and not just for Lent!
Give Up Alcohol
I know, I know, you’ve been there before. But even if it’s just for the Lent period, giving up alcohol will be something really positive, that you will physically, mentally and emotionally notice a difference from. I’m sure you’ve heard all of the benefits before, but there really are a lot. Among many others, you’ll sleep better, you'll lose weight, you'll have better skin, you'll save money and you'll improve your relationships with everyone in your life. However, I realise that trying to give up alcohol isn’t easy for many people. Whether you like the occasional drink on the weekend, or you have deep issues with it, there are always people who can help. One Year No Beer are a fantastic organisation that help people through their journey of taking a break from alcohol and encourage them to transform their relationship with it altogether. The experts at this company assist their clients in all sorts of ways such as building on their momentum and motivation and helping with mindfulness techniques to break down temptation.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be for a whole year, you can start with their Free Five Day Trial or their 28-day Champion Challenge and see how you go. Who knows, if taking part in One Year No Beer goes well for the whole of Lent, why not consider stopping for even longer and trying out their 90-Day Challenge? Or eventually even cutting it out of your life altogether. Other companies such as Pentire will help you join in with the party, without actually joining in, with their range of delicious botanical non-alcoholic drinks made from unique plants.
Just think, even if you don’t really need to give it up, aren’t you curious to see what life would be like if you do? Won’t it be nice to wake up without a hangover for a few weeks? Without crippling anxiety? Without wondering who out of your friends you’ve pissed off this time?
Whatever you choose to do for Lent, remember that you are doing this for you, no one else. Although the journey to the end of those 40 days may have the devil on your shoulder driving you absolutely nuts, without sounding really cheesy, all you have to do is listen to the angel. As the old saying goes, no one ever said it would be easy, they just said it would be worth it!
Have a little faith in yourself, you can do this.