10 Last Minute Ideas for Lent

If you’re Catholic or Catholic-adjacent, you may be startled to realize Lent is here! The dates of the Lenten season slightly vary between the Eastern and Roman churches, but each mark the period of fasting, prayer, and charity before Easter.

The rules of fasting used to be very strict, limiting to one meatless meal per day, but in modern times Ash Wednesday and Fridays are the only recognized fasting days. In addition to traditional food-based fasting, Lent has become a time to fast from things in general. Oftentimes that can be food, but a common theme is giving up a vice. No cookies, no video games, no alcohol. There are a ton of things you can give up, plus there’s always the option of not giving anything up; some people prefer to give something, rather than give up something. For example, donating $2 a week to charity would be contributing something rather than focusing on the “suffering” aspect.

No matter how you choose to participate in Lent, here are some ideas if you still haven’t decided:

1. Give up red meat.

This is pretty in line with the original custom of fasting, and it might be relatively easy to pull off when you consider all of the days in Lent that are totally meatless anyway. Also, word on the street is factory cattle farming is a big environmental problem and trying to eat as many of these cattle as possible isn’t helping.

2. Give up caffeine.

A classic. This could not only save you money, but also potentially train your body to stop relying on the stimulant. However, practice this with caution, because if your body gets too adjusted to not having caffeine and loses its ability to tolerate it, ingesting caffeine post-Lent may cause you to look like you’ve done cocaine.

3. Give up cheese.

This may be harder for some than others. For those who are particularly carnivorous, grilled cheese, quesadillas, and cheese pizza may be staples in surviving Ash Wednesday and meatless Fridays. It is this sacrifice that makes giving up cheese a truly commendable commitment.

4. Give up eating out.

Restaurants and fast food are wonderful ways of contributing to the capitalist economy while consuming lots of sodium. If you’re in a position to give this up, it might be great for your McBlood-Pressure.

5. Give up procrastinating.

You procrastinated in deciding what to do for Lent, and look where you ended up. Giving up procrastinating will surely be extremely hard, and may even require a personality change, but your life will be a lot better because of it.

6. Donate to one charity per week.

This is easy if you’re a person who goes to grocery stores. There always seems to be a charity option at the grocery store. Also, the whole Internet and gofundme.com and change.org all exist.

7. Adopt an animal.

Some people do say that dogs are God’s representatives on Earth, or maybe that’s priests or the Pope, but dogs are way less controversial. There’s nothing like a dog’s love ─ or wait, that’s a mother’s. The point is animals are amazing and pure.

8. Go to church every Sunday.

Creasters make up a significant portion of the religious or spiritual population, and if you fall into this category, perhaps committing to going to church every Sunday of Lent would be a good low-commitment way to participate in Lent. Plus, it’ll save you from the “I’ve never seen you before” glances on Easter Sunday.

9. Get personally involved in making someone’s life better.

Volunteer where you’re needed. Reach out to your friend who’s been feeling down and offer to work out with them. Help your sibling do that thing they’re afraid of.

10. Call someone every day and tell them you love them.

It doesn’t have to be the same someone, but maybe it can be. Either way, calling your grandma or your cousin or your best friend or your partner and telling them that you love them is a great way to spread love in the world.