Lent is a season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in which we emulate the 40 days that Christ spent in the desert in preparation for his passion, death, and resurrection. Once, I used this season to diet, under the guise of penitential fasting. Never again! Instead, let's use this season to increase in all three of these areas: prayer (pray daily!), fasting (not necessarily food-related), and almsgiving (helping out those in need). Let us remember to turn the focus away from ourselves and towards Christ, something that can quickly become twisted if we're not careful.
To inspire you, here are 40 things you can do for Lent that don't involve restricting your food:
1. Set a bedtime and wake-up time for every weekday, and get up as soon as your alarm goes off.
2. Make your bed as soon as you wake up.
3. Start each day by kissing the ground and thanking God for the day ahead.
4. Eat breakfast every day, without distractions (don't look at your phone... just be). (Yeah, this has to do with food, but breakfast is good for you okay)
5. Set specific social media times during your day, and don't go on social media otherwise
6. Set specific prayer times during your day and stick to them
7. Learn the Divine Mercy Chaplet and pray it everyday at 3pm
8. Learn the Rosary and pray it everyday
9. Read a bit of a good spiritual reading book everyday (check out our Voices page for some inspo)
10. Daily mass... or even every-other-day mass
11. Give up an article of clothing (or multiple articles) that are questionably immodest (leggings?)
12. Only listen to Christian music (might I suggest starting here?)
13. Each day, write a letter or a message to someone you love or haven't spoken to in a while
14. When someone starts to bother you or if you are tempted to judge them, pray for them instead
15. Wear a scapular everyday and learn about its significance
16. Wear a miraculous medal everyday and learn about its significance
17. Give up swearing
18. Make a point to only look at edifying things on the internet. Ask yourself every time you look at something- is this what I should be looking at? (Will this make my guardian angel face-palm?).
19. Give up weighing yourself/counting calories/anything else that is causing you to be preoccupied with how you look/what you eat
20. Go to all your classes and thank God before and after each class for the opportunity for education
21. Put away half your wardrobe, and for the whole 40 days only wear the clothes that are still out. At the end of Lent, reassess which clothes you should actually keep, and which you should donate.
22. Save all your extra pocket change and at the end of Lent, donate it to a reputable charity (ie. Chalice)
23. Pray before each meal, whether you are in public or not
24. Pray every morning when you wake up
25. Pray every evening before bed
26. Give up mirrors- cover all the mirrors in your home and don't linger too long around public ones
27. Give up taking selfies
28. Limit your shower time to a total of 10 minutes a day
29. Give up Instagram and use your extra time for prayer
30. Give up Facebook and use your extra time for prayer
31. Give up Snapchat and use your extra time for... PRAYER!
32. Pick a saint and learn about him/her throughout Lent (saints are real people... walk with them!)
33. Create a prayer corner in your room/home and use it daily
34. Pray the novena of surrender over and over and over...
35. Volunteer at a homeless shelter/soup kitchen
36. Give up perfume/cologne
37. Pick one pair of shoes and only wear that pair for the whole 40 days
38. Give up looking at your phone when in a group setting / conversation
39. Give up sarcasm
40. Read a chapter of the Bible a day (go through the gospels!)
It's always a good idea to check with a priest and go to confession before beginning any fasting, to help discern that what you're about to do is in line with what God wants for you.
Have a blessed Lent :)
Originally Posted on The Purple Seastar