What to give up for Lent 2019: Eight things you could quit in the lead up to Easter

Lent has started, which means millions of people will have begun a 40-day fast that will last right through until Easter.

Many Christians will choose to abstain from certain foods and luxuries such as alcohol or chocolate until Holy Thursday, which falls on April 18.

This period of self-discipline is used to prepare Christians in the run-up to Easter, which is considered the holiest day of their year.

But if you are stuck on what to give up for the next 40 days and 40 nights, we’ve put together a list of things you could consider quitting for Lent.

1. Alcohol

One too many: There are simple steps you can take to cut down on your alcohol intake (Pexels/Pixabay)

We’re all guilty of having one too many on a Friday night, but when you find yourself reaching for the bottle all too often, it may be time to rethink your drinking habits.

According to the NHS, drinking more than 14 units a week leads to increased risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, liver disease and brain damage.

Limiting your alcohol intake this Lent can help boost your mood and health.  

2. Sugary drinks

Sweet enough: Quit the fizzy stuff this Lent (rawpixel/Pixabay)

By now, we’ve all heard the warnings –the fizzy stuff is bad for you.

Certain sodas and soft drinks are loaded with sugar, which can contribute to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions. A study by Harvard found that those who consume sugary drinks regularly – 1 to 2 cans a day or more – have a 25% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks.

Swapping out your usual sugary beverage with a sugar-free tea or flavoured water may not immediately satisfy your cravings, but over time will have a massive impact on your mood and overall health.

3. Cigarettes 

What a drag: Smoking can cause serious damage to your heart and lungs (HansMartinPaul/Pixabay )

We know that smoking is bad for you, but because nicotine is highly addictive, it makes it very difficult for some smokers to give up the habit.

But there’s plenty reason for stubbing it out once and for all. According to the NHS, smoking causes 7 out of 10 cases of lung cancer. It can also lead to several other types of cancer, damages your heart and blood circulation and worsen the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma.

For help on how to quit for good, visit Stoptober.

4. Meat 

Meat me in the middle: Having one meat-free day can improve your overall health (Free-Photos/Pixabay )

Once the hallmark of any summer BBQ or Sunday roast, more people are cutting down on their meat intake than ever before for both health and environmental reasons.

Some meats are high in saturated fats, which are proven to raise cholesterol levels in your blood, increasing your risk of heart disease. Currently, if you eat more than 90g of red and processed meat a day, the Department of Health advises that you cut down to 70g.

Our love of meat also has huge environmental impacts. In a 2018 study published in the Journal of Science, analysists found that whilst meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses 83% of farmland produces 60% of agriculture.

But with supermarkets and even Greggs rolling out vegan products, going meat-free has never been easier (or tastier). Here are some top tips on how to go animal-product free

5. Plastic 

Can you give up plastic for the Lent? (Unsplash)

Plastic is killing our planet.

According to environmental charity Greenpeace, up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters our oceans every year. Up to 9 of 10 seabirds, 1 in 3 turtles and more than half of whale and dolphin species have ingested plastic.

Here’s how to reduce your plastic pollution footprint this Lent. 

6. Vaping 

Smoked out: Whilst not as harmful as cigarettes, e-cigarettes are not risk-free. (lindsayfox/Pixabay)

Vaping may be better for you than cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean they’re harm free.

In 2016, a study published by in Environmental Science & Technology identified harmful emissions in vapour, including possible carcinogens and irritants, though at much lower levels than cigarettes.

Find out how to quit smoking with help from the Stoptober campaign.

7. Social media

Unlike: Spending copious amounts of time on social media can damage our self-esteem and mental health (Erik_Lucatero/Pixabay)

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone not addicted to their smartphone these days, but whilst we’re scrolling away we don’t often realise what it’s doing to our brains.

A 2017 report published by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) found that Instagram was rated as the worst social media platform when it comes to its impact on young people’s health.

Here, you’ll find some tips on how you can cut back on your social media usage.

8. Spending money

Tap happy: Budgeting can help put your finances in perspective (AhmadArdity/Pixabay)

Okay, so spending money is a fact of life. But being consumed by debt and overspending can not only be a source of stress but can also have a larger impact on our mental wellbeing.

A study by charity Money and Mental Health found that half of adults in problem debt also have a mental health problem.

Taking the time to draw up a realistic budget plan can help you manage your finances in the long-term. But where do you start? We asked a money saving expert to give us some top tips on how Londoners can save money in 2019.


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