I was going to write about Shrove Tuesday, as everyone loves a pancake, after all. However, I see a lot of great pancake-based posts each year so, instead, I thought I would tackle another conundrum that affects a lot of people around this time of year; what to give up for Lent. People take on this yearly challenge for different reasons. For some it's specifically a religious undertaking, to recognise and focus on the true meaning of Easter. For others it's a time to reflect on overindulgence versus the needs of others. Some simply view it as a great opportunity to detox something negative from their lives. Whatever the reason for the undertaking, the question of what to give up is an important one.
To be truely Lent-worthy, what you give up needs to be something that is going to have a profound effect. It's no good giving up coffee, if you only drink it twice a month, or alcohol if you only have the occasional glass with friends. Many people like to give up their favourite vice, such as chocolate. How far you choose to go with this, depends on your will power and determination, but it is a really good opportunity to perhaps try a healthier lifestyle. 'Treats' aren't always the obvious sweet variety. How about bread, or potatoes? How about giving up... the car?! I would love to do this, but living in a fairly rural area, buses can be a bit of a novelty! If I lived in a town, I would love to give it a go, though. I think I would find out very quickly how much I rely on it!
Part of the experience of Lent is to reflect on what holds value to you and what you can do without, so spending time thinking about your personal vices is part of the process. Sometimes, it's nice to be able to think outside the box a bit, and do something different, though. So, I've got together with some of my blogger friends to give you some ideas for different things you could think about giving up this Ash Wednesday, which is the day after Shrove Tuesday and this year falls on March the 1st.
Colette, from We're Going on an Adventure is giving up Tomato Ketchup, along with her whole family! I think this will be a challenge, as she admits her children are obsessed with the stuff! It's great to be able to do something together though. Let's hope there isn't a riot!
Mel, from Le Coin de Mel mentioned that she knew someone who had given up their mobile phone!! Most of us agreed this was a brave undertaking, but would certainly cover the 'maximum effect' aspect for a lot of people! I tried a phone free life for two days, with limited success!
Kellie, from My Little Babog is giving up spontaneous purchases and intends to use the money saved towards a family holiday. I love this idea, as it would really help to focus the mind on what's really important and what we actually need in life!
Laura, from Five Little Doves is giving up Tesco! By doing her weekly shop at a cheaper supemarket, and not indulging in any top up shops throughout the week, she's hoping to save quite a lot of money and it's another example of focussing on how much we spend on indulgences we could do without.
Amy, from Mummy Fox is giving up chocolate and sweets, as it's the only time she makes a conscious effort to eat healthily! *oops* It is hard to keep up giving up though, when Lent, by its very definition, ends with Easter!
Tilly, from Lavender Lemonade is giving up sugar. Not just chocolate, but all sugar. Wow, that's commitment! I imagine this would have a positive effect on health as well as the bank balance, but anyone who has seen Sugar Free Farm will know what a challenge it is!
Steph, from Mental Parentals and Joy, from The Sensory Seeker are really keen on the idea of giving up clutter for Lent. This seems to be a relatively new concept, but it's a really good one. You take one item of clutter you don't really need every day of Lent, and fill a bag for charity. A great way to give something back, as well as giving something up.
Michelle, from Mummy from the Heart has decided to change things around a bit by not giving up anything, except some free time: "I'm committing to a bible devotional over the 40 days, so I will focus on praying through the Psalms and putting my focus back on God rather than self as of course the original logic of giving things up for Lent was to make more space and time for God."
And Naomi from Life by Naomi is giving up sugar AND coffee, which is a real life changer, but, as she explained: 'For me, Lent is a time of preparation ahead of Easter. It's a time to focus on Jesus' sacrifice and look forward to his resurrection.' However, she also had this useful snippet of advice, for getting through the worst bits: "don't forget Lent is only Monday to Saturday so I'll be having a coffee on a Sunday!"
Personally, I don't have a lot left to give up, as I don't smoke or drink, and I gave up eating snacks and treats weeks ago, in an effort to lose weight, so I'm a bit stumped. Whatever you decide to give up, and whatever your reasons for doing so, I hope you have lots of success and get out of it whatever you are hoping to.