The traditional period of Lent has been a staple of the Christian calendar for centuries, but that doesn’t mean you still have to “do as the Romans did” to properly observe. While the main restrictions of Lent still apply—fasting, abstaining from meat on Fridays and additional penitential practices—there are many modern twists you can put on this important time of the year. Here are six modern ways to observe Lent, so you can use this time to make positive changes to your lifestyle.
Abstain from Social Media and Texting
If you’re looking for something to give up during Lent, consider social media. This is a big one for those who find themselves constantly distracted by their device, causing them to be taken away from the present moment. Discipline yourself by logging out of your social media six days a week and use that time instead to actually see and be with the people you care about.
Make Fridays Family Time
Fridays are incredibly important during Lent, so why not make them even more special by spending time with your family? Instead of simply having Friday as the day of fasting, play some board games, go out to a park or even put on a movie. Lenten traditions should lead to creating family traditions as well, and Fridays are the perfect days to make something like that happen.
Make Special Lent Dishes Every Friday
Nothing brings a family together like great food, especially during Lent. Because of this tradition’s restrictions on meat and poultry, whip up your best fish dishes or try cooking up something new. Getting your children excited about Lent can be easy when you do it with delicious dishes like fish tacos or Tilapia Sloppy Joes. It’s also nice to bring your whole family together once a week to just talk and hang out—something we do too little of these days.
Don’t Wear Makeup or Get a Haircut
As long as this isn’t a workplace faux pas, try giving up the luxury that is wearing makeup or getting a haircut. While this may sound obscure, we often take advantage of the fact that we’re constantly correcting our appearance. Try out being completely natural for as many days as you can this Lenten season. You may just find a new appreciation for your beautiful, natural self.
Turn Off the Screen and Pick Up A Book
As with social media, society has become dependent on technology. Set a time every day, say from 6:30pm to 6:30am, where you don’t use any tech gadgets for work or play. This includes phones, computers, TVs and tablets. Instead, read a book, spend time with family and friends or learn how to cook a new dish! There are so many things you can do with your time away from tech and Lent can be the motivation you need to get started.
Give Up Drinking
Giving up social drinking is a common abstention during Lent and for good reason. Save some money, save yourself some headaches and spend time doing other activities instead. If the weather permits, go for a hike. Play football instead of watching it on a screen. The possibilities are endless! And hey, you may even end up finding a new hobby.
Whether it’s creating time for something special or giving up a luxury, there are many ways to celebrate Lent in the 21st century. Remember that it’s a time of not only paying respect to Jesus’ sacrifices, but also appreciating the things we take for granted every day. Spend less time on your phone and more with your family. Make a special meal and engage in simple pleasures like reading or hiking. By doing so, you’ll set yourself up for positive experiences not just during Lent, but during the rest of your year too.