What to give up for Lent

By Maddie Smith

The start of the Lenten season began yesterday on Ash Wednesday, marking the time of year where we give something up as Easter approaches. Not only do people sacrifice personal luxuries, they also abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all of the Fridays within the season. Lent, the forty days leading up to Easter, is a unique time of reflection for Christians as they practice self-discipline and stay mindful of the sacrifices Jesus made for us, representing His forty-day journey across the desert. If you are having trouble deciding on what to give up this year, here are some ideas you can try:

· Sweets, cookies, chocolate, candy – These are the things that make the world go round. Because these delectable treats are so tempting, they serve as a great Lenten challenge. Not to mention, this route makes for a healthier lifestyle!

· Social media – Social media is another common indulgence that people try to stay away from during Lent. Though it can serve as a way to connect with others, it is more often used as a distraction from responsibilities as well as direct, personal interactions. This is a perfect time to either limit usage of or completely refrain from your social media profiles.

· Negativity Throughout the Lenten season – Try focusing on the positive and avoiding negativity. Hopefully, you will realize that complaining and criticizing every little thing brings down not only yourself but also everyone else around you. Trust me, I know it is easier said than done, but when you begin to see the effects that negativity has on you, you will want to be more positive far beyond Lent!

· Leaving the lights on – Actively remembering to turn off the lights when you don’t need them can sometimes be tricky, but it is a great way to reduce energy and save money on that electrical bill. Use this time to be more mindful of your electricity usage and it will benefit you in more ways than one!

· Clutter – We all have those clothes or items that we save just in case we might need them, even though we never do. This Lent, consider reorganizing your belongings and donating whatever you decide to part ways with.

You don’t necessarily have to give anything up either, you can also commit to being a better person. Here are just a few examples:

· Random acts of kindness – Each day, perform at least one random act of kindness. This can range from paying for a stranger’s coffee to washing your roommate’s dishes to giving someone a compliment. You can be creative with this one, almost anything works!

· Volunteer – During Lent, make it a priority to volunteer a couple of times per week. No matter where you go, volunteers are always needed and appreciated. Head to the Humane Society, Rescue Mission, etc. to find out how you can help!

· Gratitude journal – Lent is a great time for reflection, so begin or end each day by writing down one thing you are grateful for and truly value. Starting this gratitude journal will allow you to step back and cherish the people, places, moments, and things you appreciate the most.

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