Whether you follow the Christian faith or not, when Lent comes around, everyone has something in the back of their mind that they need to “give up”: coffee, crisps, socialising, television, alcohol, fizzy drinks, and the most popular item, chocolate!
As soon as the word “Lent” crops up, everyone reaches for the naughty things to lock away, the things in life which they most like to indulge in, but should maybe only spoil themselves with once in a while.
But what about flipping the traditional unwritten rule of what to sacrifice on its head, and instead doing the opposite – giving up day-to-day tedious and lacklustre normalities, in exchange for something that you had never thought of doing. Lent is not all about giving things up – it’s also about improving the good qualities you may already have and adding new experiences and skills that may enhance both your life and those around you.
So here at Mulberry Cottages, we have provided you with a starter list of possible things that you can do to get on your way to your Lent, in a way you might never have before:
• Reconcile with someone that you haven’t spoken to in a long time – be it a family member or old companion, make the effort to make contact, and re-live past memories. With an increasing number of people getting themselves online, and with a vast array of social networking sites, this should not be as difficult as first thought (see: http://www.friendsreunited.co.uk/ ). There’s nothing like the feeling of re-living the good times with a much loved friend, which may in turn improve your life ahead.
• Engage yourself in a “random act of kindness” (typing this phrase into Google brings up an incredible 930,000 searches! No excuse for no ideas! See http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/ ) The smallest acts could bring about the biggest happiness with sometimes little effort or time required. Why not offer to hold the door open for every person you can? Or maybe donate blood a couple of times a year. What about whisking a stressed out loved one away for a relaxing and tranquil weekend or taking the kids out for a week of exploring the fresh air of the countryside? (See: http://www.mulberrycottages.com/holiday-accommodation/short-break-cottages-online/ for ideas.)
• Take ten minutes out of your working day, every day, to reflect on your last week, and all the things that happened in it that made you feel good about yourself. Having time to gather your thoughts and focus on positives could enhance your mood and make stressful situations a little easier. Doing this when you’re in a bad mood can trick your brain into making you happier.
• Go green. Instead of driving to work every day, take the bus, use your bike, or car share. Not only can this be your contribution to saving the environment, but can also save you more money than you may realise. One lady saved £550 a year on petrol, £300 in parking costs and burnt 360,000 calories (that’s 1,286 Mars Bars!) from cycling to work every day.
Remember: while Lent may only last 6 weeks, life’s little pleasures can last a lifetime.
And there is nothing wrong with a lifetime of happiness…