As lent kicked off on Wednesday this week, people across the globe started their 40-day pledge to give something up. Religious or not, lent’s a great way to set yourself a challenge, and making lifestyle changes whilst millions of people are also making changes always seems a bit more appealing than going it alone. Club Soda members often use this as a way to ‘buddy up’ with other members and seek/share inspiration…
“I’m going to try and go chocolate/sweets/cake/biscuit free for lent…Sugar addiction is out of control!! 😂 Anyone else with me??”
“So, as I seem to have replaced alcohol with sugar, I’m going to treat my body to a chocolate-free Lent! Anyone care to join me?”
“Anyone contemplating alcohol-free for lent?”
“I’m giving up TV for lent! It’s become such a go-to for me through winter, I’m becoming lazier and my partner and I just watch stuff without connecting with each other (TV is the new booze haha) – it also means that it’s just more ‘screen’ time on top of my working day. So for my relationship, my waistline, my brain, my to-do list and the huge pile of unread books sitting at home…TV is GONE. Anyone else feel this way or fancy the challenge with me?”
“I’ve never done lent before, I’m not a Christian or anything but it seems like more and more people are using it as a bit of a health motivator. I’ve been moderately drinking for the past year but I think I’d quite like to do a no-booze challenge, anyone else want to join me for a bit of accountability and support?”
“Anyone else giving up drinking for Lent? I have done this for at least the last five years – except it was only ever giving up wine, except on Sundays, or special occasions – ending up with giving in completely sometime around the middle of March.”
“Anyone want to attempt Lent with me? I’ve never got to 30 days alcohol-free so this would be a challenge and be nice to have a buddy along the way……..”
As you can see from the above posts, people are on different journeys with alcohol. Some members will be quite deep into an alcohol-free life now, and ready to look at others area of their lifestyle/diet etc. Others will just be starting out as alcohol-free or trying to, and many are just aiming to take a break or cut down. Either way, start with the change that’s most important to you and give it time – try not to set too many challenges all at once.
So what are the confident mindful drinkers giving up?
“Finally feel that I have the tools to give something up for Lent. Should it be caffeine or bread?”
“I’ve given up the fags. But I know I can do it cos I’m ‘ard as nails 😂💪”
“I am giving up chocolate, cake, and sweets and adding a litre of water a day to my diet.”
“I’m going to go for a plant-based, mostly vegan diet. I’m pescatarian but feel like I should be doing better. This is a good start.”
“I’m going to try not use swear words which will be hard for me. Ffs”
“No animal products so I hope that I can run faster.”
“Dry January done. Two-week holiday of moderate/mindful drinking. Now back to dry Lent.”
How about using lent to cut down on or limit how much you consume of something? We’re not just talking about stuff that we put into our bodies, it could be social media, your smart phone, playing video games, shopping, gambling, buying single-use plastics, biting your finger nails, saying “like” too much, apologising too much, the list goes on.
Giving up social media or our phones completely for 40 days is probably impossible for most, but you could restrict your usage. A great rule to follow is ‘no screens after 9pm’ as it gives your eyes and brain a chance to wind down, which often results in better sleep. Most social media apps now include timers which will tell you when you’ve reached your selected time limit. You could also keep your phone out of reach when you’re eating with someone, or in bed – all great opportunities to focus on real-life connections with people/the world.
Whatever you choose, and however you choose to do it – make some clear guidelines and stick to them.
Lent doesn’t always have to be about giving something up – it could be about adding something in.
“I am going to walk an additional 30 minutes every day until Easter. I am already very active but I do enjoy a walk. So instead of denying myself something I love, I’m going to add something I love and that is a positive self care plan .”
“Some form of exercise every day for me.”
“I saw a thing which I’m trying which is to take one item from your house each day, that you don’t use or wear anymore, and put it in a bag. At the end of lent you give it to charity or a homeless shelter.”
“I am going to take my vitamin supplement every day.”
“I’m going to spend some time making ‘us time’ for me & my husband.”
“I’m going to practice yoga and/or meditation for at least 20 minutes each day.”
“I’m going to start making eco bricks with our plastic rubbish/recycling every day, and getting the family involved too – we’ll send them off at the end and then it should be part of our routine.”
Exercising, walking, being more mindful, connecting with people, or doing your bit for the planet are all brilliant ways to make the most of your lent.
Whatever you add, remove or cut down on – you’ll be much more mindful of it once you’ve completed 40 days and it’s highly likely it’ll become a comfortable part of your routine afterward.
Back to booze. What did the people say who gave up alcohol for lent?
“I just can’t believe how well I feel after these few weeks with no alcohol. I feel as though I am actually getting properly rested over the weekend. Not sure what I will do at the end of lent but continuing is beginning to look like a serious option.”
“40 days under my belt: boom. Feeling great in terms of mood and general coping with it.”
“I did the CS “Sober Sprint” course which was incredibly helpful as I went alcohol-free throughout Lent. Now I’m moderating, and it’s going fine so far (thank you, WOOP!) but I’m wondering if also doing the 8-week CS “Mindful Drinking” course would be a good reinforcement. Or is it very similar to the Sober Sprint?” – The answer is yes it would be a brilliant reinforcement!