5 things to think about giving up for Lent

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow and once again, it's time to start thinking about what we'll give up for Lent. For some people, it's easy to decide. Personally, I've always had a really hard time picking out what I'm willing to give up for a whole 40 days.  A  lot of factors go into the decision: How stressed do I feel like I'm going to be in the next few weeks? What do I have to take care of? Is there anything that will prevent me from fulfilling my commitment?

After all, Lent is important to many of us and I'm always determined not to quit halfway through! So in case you need a little help, like me, I narrowed down the options with a list of possible items to give up, in the order that I perceive to be easiest to hardest:

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  1. Soda: With all the studies about fizzy drinks and soda in the last few months, I feel like giving up these sugary drinks is a great place to start.  In general, I try to stay away from dark-colored sodas but I admit, I do have a pretty persistent Ginger Ale/Sprite habit. I, like many, generally have one during my lunch break at work. But, if you like soda too, Lent could be the perfect excuse to start getting rid of those harmful practices! Maybe after 40 days, you'll find that you don't even like soda anymore (a girl can dream, can't she?). Plus, ingesting less calories and less sugar for month and a half can't be a bad thing.
  2. Pupusas (or whatever your fave fatty traditional Latin food): Having grown up in a completely El Salvadorian household, pupusas (fried tortillas with meat and cheese in the middle) were a staple in our diet. They are delicious and probably one of my top five favorite foods in the world. But, (unfortunately!) they are also extremely fattening…which makes them a great item to give up for Lent! What better time is there to give up your favorite not-so-healthy food? It won't be easy for either me or my family (hey if I'm doing it, they are too!) and it probably won't be for you either, but it will be beneficial in the long run.
  3. Facebook/Twitter: In this digital day and age, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites are as much a part of our daily lives as brushing our teeth or combing our hair. But, Lent provides the ideal occasion to take a break from our wall posts and follower requests and instead, get some actual face time with our friends and family. I, myself, am an avid Twitter fan--mostly because I am addicted to getting my news as fast as possible. Still, even I have to admit that getting a retweet or a mention by one of my friends is nowhere near as good (or as fun) as having a face-to-face conversation with them. So this year, shut off the laptop and make a lunch date.
  4. Cell phones: Much like Facebook and Twitter, cell phones have also become an extremely integral part of our everyday life. In fact, they're even more addicting because with Smartphones, new apps, and Internet access, you can get pretty much everything you'd get on your laptop but in a much more compact, portable way. So why would you ever give that up ? Well, if you're like me, not having your phone on you feels kind of like not having your right arm with you.  It's uncomfortable, inconvenient and makes everything (like my train commute to work) that much harder to deal with.  But, that kind of dependence on a phone isn't really a good thing, so maybe it's time to try going without it for a few weeks?
  5. Coffee: You might be wondering why I put this down last, as the thing that I would find most difficult to give up for Lent. It's because I am addicted to caffeine. The habit first started in college as a pick-me-up for all those late nights in the library, but soon turned into a full-fledged addiction. I have to have at least one cup of coffee of day or else I get a horrible headache. If I don't have one in the mornings, watch out--cause there is going to be a raging Latina on the loose. Most of my family is just as bad…and I'm willing to bet that as busy women and moms, you probably indulge in some cafe con leche as well. Lent could actually be the perfect opportunity to sacrifice this unhealthy  (and guilt-inducing) vice and try switching to a healthier option, like tea or water instead.

Will you be participating in Lent? Would you give up anything on this list this year?

Image via dyombit, gcbb, pshab, pattoncito, rdpeyton/flickr

Topics: advice  religions & beliefs  major religions  world religion