With Shrove Tuesday (pancake day) having just passed, the time to start thinking about Lent is here. Originally a Christian tradition, Lent has long been associated with fasting. In recent years, this tradition has morphed into the giving up of something indulgent but not necessary, for example, chocolate. Lately, however, taking something up instead of giving something up has become a trend, moulding Lent into a more positive and fulfilling way to bring in the spring.
Here are four examples of things to give up and things to take up this Lent:
Give up: Social Media
Recently, after a period of being glued to my phone, I decided to go off social media for a week. These days, we are seemingly chained to our online presence. Social media perpetuates the expectation that we are instantly contactable and can cause productivity to drastically decrease. Taking a break from the constraints and pressures that go with social media is such a refreshing experience and one which fits well with Lent, a period which sees mounting deadlines, endless library days and the horrors of summer exams.
Give up: Meat
The environment is an issue which should be a concern for everyone. The meat industry is one of the biggest polluters on the planet and if we were all to cut down on our meat consumption, greenhouse gas emissions could be drastically reduced. Giving up meat is not just good for the environment, it is also great for both your health and your bank balance. With so many wonderful vegetarian and vegan options now on offer, why not try 40 days meat-free.
Take up: Mindfulness
A popular movement that has gained traction in recent years, mindfulness is a brilliant way of de-stressing during this intense period in the academic year. There are a whole host of resources online, including YouTube videos or apps for your phone. Being mindful of things does not just have to remain on a personal level either, it can extend into your relationships, your work and again your attitude to the environment. Taking up a new skill such as is a great way of diverting your attention elsewhere for a short time, helping you to feel refreshed and providing a well-needed break from work.
Take up: a regular sleep pattern
It can never be overstated how important sleep is. Students are notorious for their lack of a succinct sleeping pattern with all-nighters or weekday nights out a traditional facet of the student experience. However, ensuring that you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day is of vital importance, not just to your productivity but to your health as well. Sleep deprivation affects the body in a number of different ways. According to the NHS, a lack of sleep puts you at a higher risk of heart disease or type two diabetes. So, why not try and push yourself into a better sleep pattern this lent. Not only will it increase your chance of getting better grades, it will increase your positivity levels too!
With much of the narrative surrounding Lent focusing upon removing something from your life perhaps it is time for a change. Take a bit more time to focus on yourself this spring and bring in the Easter holidays feeling refreshed rather than deprived.
Image: Lotus Head via Wikimedia Commons