10 ideas for things to give up during Lent - and when it starts in 2021

Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 1:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 1:15 pm

If you feel like you've been over-doing it recently and need something to help you kick the habit - albeit temporarily - then giving something up for Lent might be just the answer you're looking for.

The run up to Easter Sunday is an important period in the Christian calendar and is observed by many, who use the time to reflect in the rear view mirror and prepare for the road ahead.

According to the Bible, Lent marks the sacrifices of Jesus Christ in the days leading to his crucifixion when he went into the desert to fast and endured the temptations of Satan.

For many Lent remains a time for giving up certain luxuries to demonstrate their own sacrifice and to reflect those made by Jesus - but what could you live without for 40 days and 40 nights?

When is Lent 2021?

In 2021, Lent begins on Wednesday 17 February and ends on Saturday 3 April.

It begins on Ash Wednesday, which follows Shrove Tuesday, when priests gather ashes from previous Palm Sundays and rub them on the heads of their congregation.

The festival begins with many cooking pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk and sugar before making a sacrifice of giving something up.

What should I give up for Lent?

Coffee - It might be your cup of sunshine in the mornings - but do you really need it? Depending on your habits, you might want to reduce the amount of cups you have in a day - or stop altogether.

Biscuits - Find yourself reaching for the biscuit tin every time you step foot in the kitchen? A nibble here and there out of habit can quickly add up between meals when you might not even be hungry.

Chocolate - It's a popular choice, especially in the run up to Easter, so could you go without sweet and sugary treats for 40 days? Hang on to the thought of all those Easter eggs during the tough times.

Social media - Our dependence on technology has taken on a new lease of life over the past year amid the Covid pandemic, but there are different ways to keep in touch. Instead of scrolling, why not call?

Gossip - It's something everyone will do at one time or another but why not try to say something positive about a friend, family member, or acquaintance who has made a mishap?

TV time - With little else going on right now, you might find yourself watching more TV than you have before. So if you're binge watching series after series it could mean you're missing out on something else - like talking to your partner or feeding the cat.

Online shopping - There always seems to be a sale or an incentive online, but ask yourself what the biggest saving of all would be - do you really need it? It's so easy to buy online and so easy to blow your budget.

Crisps - Full of flavour and with so many different varieties it's hard to put the packet away. If you go with this one, you may need to use the buddy system to keep you on the right path. Reach out and good luck.

Alcohol - How much are you drinking a week? Take stock of your drinking habits and, if you want to cut back, now's the time to put down the corkscrew or bottle opener (for a bit anyway).

Smoking - Think positive, make a plan, consider your diet, change your drink, identify when you crave a smoke, get support, act, make new friends, keep your hands busy and make a list of reasons to quit.