10 Relatively Easy Things to Give Up for Lent — And Maybe Forever

You don’t need to be a good Christian to get behind the tradition of Lent. This 40-day period between Ash Wednesday (this Wednesday, March 9) and Easter is associated with giving up a vice and substituting something positive in its place. (And let’s face it: We all could benefit from a prescribed period of wellness work.) For example, you could try forgoing bad reality TV and instead, devoting those hours to meditation, re-organizing your closet, yoga, reading a book, taking a long walk, going to the gym, or spending some one-on-one time with your partner or a friend. Aside from the whole Jesus thing, giving up something for Lent may just be a more doable version of the New Year’s Resolution, which is usually only a time-honored tradition for a few weeks at most. So here’s our gallery of ten relatively easy things to ditch during a 40-day self-help fast of your own and replace with something more productive. Best of all, you don’t need to tackle ten of them to cleanse your spirit– one will do just fine. Jesus doesn’t judge.

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    • Heather B

      Regarding the gum, Jesus doesn’t puke on the bus without it either.

    • Destiny

      I live my life constantly adding things to the list of stuff I don’t do (and never do again). It’s probably not healthy to have this deprivation list, but it’s gotta be better than doing some of them EVER. (examples include fast food, alcohol, soda, burgers)

    • orfan

      How will letting more natural light into my bedroom help me get up before the alarm if I get up before the sun comes up?

      • Alexandra

        I was thinking the same thing!
        I also think that giving up music on the bus will definitely not make you “more in tune with yourself”.
        On a walk, sure, but on a crowded bus? It will just help you relax. Music is healthy!

    • shelley

      I live in New York (not NYC, upstate) and we RECYCLE our plastic bags. Just take them back to any grocery store and put them in the bin. So easy.

    • Jason

      I’ll eat lunch with the laptop, but not breakfast. The laptop recipes are safe now that we have a food splatter guard for the laptop http://kitchenlaptop.wordpress.com/

    • Kathy Romero

      Of course Jesus chewed gum. People are always trying to rewrite the Bible!

    • Glen

      Why would people think your smart if you listen to NPR?

    • phyllis

      regarding water bottles — – my tap water smells of Chlorine tell me thats safe even if I use a filter I only use purified water. whats the price to purify my own water?

    • Jessica

      I can’t believe I just wasted four minutes of my time reading this “article”.
      Your bit about tap water and bottled water was ridiculously off. Regardless of whether or not the bottle water is tap water or not, it’s significantly safer. I can’t imagine drinking tap water. I even use a water purifier with the water that I will use for cooking… I could never just drink it.
      No, I drink Ozarka, which is natural spring water. Not tap. I can taste the difference between anything else, even if I go to a restaurant and order a tea, I can taste the water and I will not drink it.

      As for everything else, just don’t quit your day job.

    • Marni

      Most people already suffer from sleep-deprivation, yet you encourage waking up before the alarm clock for the sake of replying to emails? You’re right…who cares about the health benefits of sleep when there are emails waiting in my inbox…

      This article sucks.

    • Alison Conway

      Ridiculous! Both my DENTIST AND my DOCTOR told me to chew gum. Dentists are saying it helps remove plaque and food after meals. And doctor prefer people gum gum as a natural acid reducer. Also as a reporter, got to say to you, don’t post opinions as fact. Bad for business you know.

    • Lisa

      Ok…I am a bubblegum collector…Don’t be putting down gum…..chewing bubble gum can relieve stress…plus, it tastes great :-)

    • joy

      does reading this article qualify as a time waster?

      • Ana

        @joy – Yes, joy, yes it does -_-
        @ tanya – I totally agree.

    • tanya

      Not being offensive but how old is the writer? Possibly give up Facebook for good? The ipod? What era is this?

      • kyle

        who knows your life may improve if you get away from depending on technology. Im 21 and i agree this article. American has gotten fat and lazy in this “era” its revolting.

    • schuchterdan

      I liked the article

    • Emily

      Did the writer really just say Jesus wouldn’t chew gum? Really??

    • Ana

      The only thing I agree with is giving up bottled water, but it’s not even because of this waste of an article. It’s just because it’s easier to re-use a water bottle. Either way, bottled water contains no tap water. And purifying your tap is wayy simpler and just plain better.
      Plus, with the few hours of sleep most of us get already, why would we wake up earlier to check emails? And who wakes up with light pouring in their room? Not very bright at 5:00 am…

    • Liz

      This article is a compilation of one person’s personal choices and their attempt to impose them on other people. I like gum; it’s a mild distraction that prevents me from eating as a mild distraction. I sure will ride the elevator everyday seeing as I live on the 16th floor of a tower dorm. The music on my I-Pod is Christian rock, so it’s encouraging and it makes me happy, and makes walking on a large campus less a chore. Only thing I agree on: I love having a reusable water bottle.

    • Sunshine

      informative article, i like the one about the ipod, i am always listening to something and i realise that its become a habit so much that sometimes i find my head is tired in the end and when i stop the music i slowly regain my sanity. and fb is such a time waster….gosh,anyways this days i have better control over it. Still great article for me

    • Sophie

      Honestly, as a teen without my iPod or my gum I would go nuts!!! I could see how the other things could be dropped but how much are they really hurting us? Maybe there should be a slide titled 11 Relatively Easy Things to do More of, like exercise or recycling.

    • Stephanie

      Hmm… As a teen and a musician I completely disagree with giving up the iPod/music. Music can help, heal, relax, encourage, excite, inspire, etc. If you want silence, listen to 4’33″ (four minutes 33 seconds) by John Cage.

      For the rest… ok I see what you mean. The plastic bags it’s not all bad – they can be useful around the house, such as reusing them for small bins, or temporarily storing/separating things.
      Gum – I see what you mean that it’s bad for you, but for me it’s useful so I don’t eat unhealthy snacks throughout the day, and I always need to be doing something even if it is just chewing gum.
      But overall interesting article, thank you.

    • Amelia

      The mention of Jesus or God after every explanation annoys me. Not everyone is Christian guys!