The chocolate can stay: What to give up for lent that will leave you glowing

With pancake day comes Lent and both are just around the corner. You might be rushing to the supermarket to grab the lemon juice or trying to schedule pancakes for or with every meal, but this time also brings another tradition: giving something up for the six weeks between now and Easter.

“People often think that depriving, restricting, and unkindness towards themselves is the key to self-love. For many, lent is a perfect excuse to put those theories into practice. Of course, it doesn’t work because you can’t punish yourself into loving yourself,” says Cliona Byrne, Body Confidence Coach.
We encourage you to try giving up something a bit more abstract than cake or sweets or actually adding something into your life: “Lent doesn’t have to be about taking things away, instead, you can also add things into your life such as saying positive affirmations to yourself or doing one thing every day to make you feel good”

These are not the enemy. Image from Alamy

Take some time, maybe as you have a relaxing bath or cook yourself a hearty meal, to single out the actual negative parts of your life. Cake, chocolates etc are anything but bad, however, the guilt you feel when you eat them definitely is and thus you should give up that shame for these six weeks (and hopefully longer) as opposed to the actual treat.
This period of time could also be a time of spring cleaning in your life: break up with bad habits you have, such as biting your nails or going on TikTok till four in the morning. Take stock of who is in your life and how they make you feel, ending things with friends who are maybe a bit toxic or that you have out grown.
Think about giving up something realistic and worth it too, something you will actually feel long-term, positive benefits for. These include negativity, self-doubt, bottling up emotions, sitting in your pyjamas all day, every day- not something you can only manage to avoid for six weeks and then will be straight back in your fridge once Easter hits.

Easter and Spring are a time of growth and new beginnings. Image from Alamy

Whatever you decide to give up for Lent, give it up from a place of love and respect for yourself. Make sure it’s something you will feel better for, not just something an Instagram fitness influencer has told you will ‘fix your gut health and make you drop 20 pounds in five weeks’.
Let us know what you’re doing for Lent @fashionnorth

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