Don’t just give up chocolate!
The Christian festival of Lent, which starts on 18 February this year, has largely turned into 40 days of giving up chocolate in the run up to Easter! But even if you don’t ‘do’ Lent, how about trying something to make a difference during those six weeks?
Make time for family and friends
We always mean to make that call or pop round, so here’s the perfect time to catch up with loved ones. Instead of texting, phone them. Or why not organise a get together? Party, high tea, crafternoon – whatever works best.
Be a good neighbour
If you normally just nod hello, actually say it. If you’ve been meaning to pop round, do it. Someone new in the street? Invite them round for coffee. And if you’ve older neighbours, offer to mow their lawn, walk their dog or take them shopping.
Make a stand
Seen something on the news that makes you fume? Don’t just rant to your other half – find out who to contact to make your views known, whether it’s your local MP or a foreign embassy, and try Amnesty International, SumOfUs or Change.org.
The two-mile challenge
Commit to biking, walking, taking public transport or carpooling if you are travelling within two miles of home. It’s not only greener, you’ll be fitter too. See carpooling.co.uk to find out who’s going your way.
Only four per cent of adults are currently blood donors but each donation could help three people. B- blood is very rare – only two per cent of the population have it – so find out what type you are and give generously! For sessions near you see blood.co.uk or ring 0300 123 23 23.
Give up the snooze button
When the alarm goes off in the morning, instead of hitting the snooze button, try getting up immediately. Hard at the best of times, but during winter it’s almost impossible. But if you’ve done one impossible thing today, who knows how many more you might try!
Cut down on plastic
Many of us already have reusable bags it’s just a matter of remembering to take them shopping with us. But go further by aiming to buy food that isn’t wrapped in plastic or in plastic trays, and if you can’t, contact the store and ask them to consider changing their policy.
Stop complaining and/or being negative
Sometimes it’s so hardwired in us we don’t even realise we’re doing it, so perhaps ask your nearest and dearest to let you know when you start – and stop. Or go further and find a positive in every situation. And if you can’t, make a stand (see above).
Take a picture of someone or something you’re grateful for and hang it where you can see it to remind you how lucky you are.
Even if it’s just for a day or during the evening, ban all electronic devices and, you know, actually talk to each other! Rediscover board games, jigsaws, books (the paper kind), hobbies, crafts – the list is endless.
For more ideas on secular ideas for Lent, visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s website.