Why Lent should be a time for trying new things instead of giving them up

It’s time to try some self-loving activities

I feel as though Lent can have a somehow melancholy undertone to it. Of course, the purpose of this season is to practice self-discipline and sacrifice, to pay tribute to the sacrifice of Christ. And for those who are religious, it can be a time for deep self-reflection, personal growth and, of course, dedication to their faith.

For those of us who aren’t religious, at least for me anyway, this intention usually goes amiss. For me, Lent feels like a slightly disheartening parallel to New Year’s resolutions. I see many around me committing to a 40 day goal, while I feel some self-induced anxiety and an inauthentic pressure to do the same.

Surely any time during life can be used as an opportunity to develop your self-discipline? Or implement any other positive behaviours that you’d like. Surely we shouldn’t constrain self-improvement to when our calendars tell us we should?

Maybe it’s just me and I’m being too sensitive. Maybe I’m approaching the tradition the wrong way. Maybe it’s because I’m in my final 3 month leg of uni, so everything feels that much more emotional and sentimental. But, that’s given me even more of a reason to take this time as an opportunity to add something into my liferather than take something away.

This Lent, I’m planning to better myself through positive gains, which I know will improve my wellness and overall happiness, rather than focusing on losses. Creating enforced restriction and disallowing whatever it is you’ve decided isn’t good for you can actually prove counter-productive, adversely affecting yourself and your goals in the long term.

If any of my Thursday late night thoughts have appealed to you, maybe it’s worth switching the narrative and starting something new for yourself too.

Reserve The Time For A Weekly Bake

Cast your mind back to March 2020 in Covid. What did we all do? We whipped out the bread tins and went bananas… with bananas. I’d bet my bottom dollar that since life returned to “normal”, your baking frequency reduced. Mine did.

Cast your mind back to March 2020 in Covid. What did we all do? We whipped out the bread tins and went bananas… with bananas. I’d bet my bottom dollar that since life returned to “normal”, your baking frequency reduced. Mine did.

I know one of the few things we had in bountiful supply was time, which we do not have as much of now. But we can make the time. Skip the late night Netflix binge (and retina damage) and do date night in the kitchen. Round up your housemates and even get a friendly competition going. The possibilities are endless.

If you’re on a budget and want to avoid Saino’s, I checked and can confirm both Aldi and Lidl, have all the baking ingredients you could need: from bicarbonate of soda to sprinkles. If you feel like pushing the boat out, and simultaneously supporting independent businesses, head to Eighth Day Cafe opposite MMU’s library on Oxford Road. You’ll find everything you need to channel your inner Mary Berry levels of sophistication.

Pledge To Have 1 Wholesome Outing Per Week

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not already going back on my intro. Still go to 42s. Still visit your faves at your go-to take-away, after going to 42s (Turkiss, I’m looking at you). Remember, this isn’t about restriction or loss. It’s about addition, like Year 2 maths. Add a wholesome adventure into your weekly routine. Bonus points if it’s something you wouldn’t usually do.

You may have heard that Manchester Museum re-opened this week, that could be a perfect place to start. What about Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery? John Ryland’s Research Institute and Library is a stunningly beautiful masterpiece of a location, that I’ve been wanting to explore myself for some time.

Put your phone away, silence the noise in your mind, and spend time in places that are truly food for the soul. They might even spark or, better yet, reignite the creativity in you… which leads perfectly into another wholesome activity I’m going to talk about in a mo.

Commit To Going On At Least One ‘Hot Girl Walk’ Per Week

We’ve all seen the TikTok trend. We’ve all seen the sorcery. Is it supernatural? Is it voodoo? Most likely no (but, you never know).

Hot Girl walking has seemingly taken over social media, with incredible mental, emotional, and physical results for partakers.

A Hot Girl Walk’s essence, that differentiates her from all the other walks, is all about the mentality and energy with which you enter her. It’s about confidence. It’s about, ironically, slowing down. About being aware of, and intentional with, your thoughts and transmuting them into reality through your mental, converted to emotional, expelled as physical energy. It’s a practice.

On a Hot Girl Walk, you don’t occupy your mind stressing about your deadline. You’re not replying to your friend’s voice notes. And you’re certainly not agonising over when your situationship last texted you. Side note but important reminder: they aren’t deserving of your energy or worthy of your upset.

So dedicate the time (that you so very much deserve) to be at one with yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings. Allowing yourself to think, feel them through, and release them. This is where the walking part comes in, because you can physically release any pent-up energy through your movement and, of course, exercise is always great for you.

Explore Your Creativity

Finally, we have my favourite act of self-love of all: getting in-touch, or back in-touch, with your creativity.

Now your creative passion has been officially sparked from your wholesome outing, it’s key to remember that being creative and expressing your creative energy can come in many forms. I, myself, can barely pick up a paint brush, never-mind up-cycle a pair of cargos into a mini-skirt. For me personally, I love writing – anything from poetry, to even articles like this, and this isn’t even me trying to plug The Tab (although you should definitely come and write for us).

Other activities you can do at home could include: plant potting; channeling your inner 7 year old and making scoobie bracelets, or bead jewellery; making origamis to give to your friends or, better yet, starting a scrapbook to capture all your memories together.

If you fancy taking this a step further, you could even try taking a class. Sip and paint and sip and sculpt are two of my personal favourites; you pre-book a session and are guided by a teacher in anything from canvas painting to pottery- and you get to have a drink while you do it. Again, the whole purpose is to do things that are kind for your soul, and dedicate time to yourself, your self-love, and care – in a world that is so often exceedingly draining of it.

I hope I’ve kindled some magic for you, and shown you that whether you want to improve your wellness, catalyse your self-growth, or even just live a happier, more fulfilled life, you don’t have to necessarily test yourself and remove things from it.

If you do decide to try any of these activities, or maybe even have some of your own, send us your pics @thetabmanchester on Instagram. We’d love to see them.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Nominations are officially open for Fallowfield’s Fittest 2023!

• How you should top your pancake based on your favourite Manny night out