Climate Crisis and the Environment

What To Give Up For Lent

Now I’m not saying that it’s possible to live a wholly positive and fruitful life- human nature means that we all have our bad days. With Lent beginning on 6th March this year, that gives us all a little bit of time to cut out something toxic out of our life. Whether it’s excessive caffeine intake (guilty), procrastination via social media, or even just trying to avoid a certain type of animal product. Forget the plans to ditch chocolate- I do every year. Perhaps this year you should try to make a sustainable change, instead of cutting things out entirely, consume them in excess when Lent finishes.

  1. Caffeine reduction

“Now it probably goes without saying that caffeinated stimulants aren’t exactly the epitome of health”

Now it probably goes without saying that caffeinated stimulants aren’t exactly the epitome of health. In terms of health, we aren’t discussing weight loss or low-calorie beverages, as that logic would bring us to the conclusion that caffeine is GREAT for us- but that isn’t the case.

As a, probably too avid, coffee drinker myself, I notice that excessive and prolonged intake of caffeine not only damages my sleeping pattern (ever drank tea/coffee/diet coke before bed? You may notice it disrupts your ability to nod off), but also increases feelings of anxiety and jitteriness, which is less than ideal for the, sometimes, high-stress environment provided by a university setting.

“By regulating your sleeping pattern, this could make you attend your 9ams”

It may help you stay awake through the endless hours of trying to complete your work, but by giving up coffee for lent, you may find yourself able to normalise your sleeping pattern, going to bed at 10-11pm and waking up at around 7-8am, instead of mid-afternoon. By regulating your sleeping pattern, this could make you attend your 9ams, as opposed to continually snoozing those four alarms that you have set and rid yourself of that sluggish tiredness that you may feel after a day in bed, which will increase your productivity. If you need a bit of a boost in your everyday life, perhaps instead of opting for more coffee, we should replace it with less stimulative tipples.

  1. Productivity > procrastination

I know as well as you what a pain procrastination can be. We KNOW we shouldn’t be doing it, yet we carry on (almost the same feeling as streaming films online or using MP3 download apps in year 7- we’ve all done it). At the end of the day, our life is only going to change if we put the effort in to catalyse that change, and procrastinating by scrolling through social media isn’t going to bring about that change.

I’ve recently downloaded an app called ‘Forest’. The idea of it is that you plant a seed for a certain length of time that you choose. If you use your phone during that length of time, the sapling dies, and a tree isn’t planted, however if you resist, a tree grows (technologically of course), and by the end of the day, providing you’ve continually stayed focused, you will have created your own virtual forest. Realistically, it’s a small thing to do, but I’m using it as I write this article, and I can vouch for the fact that it’s one of the best ways to avoid the distraction of social media to enforce productivity.

If you’re finding social media to be the cause of your diminished work rate, perhaps consider using this app to give up excessive procrastination for Lent this year.

  1. Reducing your consumption of animal products.

Across the news, there seems a significant increase in a deteriorating quality of our Earth, propelled forwards by a rise in global warming. Did you know that, according to PETA, ‘Producing a little more than 2 pounds of beef causes more greenhouse-gas emissions than driving a car for three hours and uses up more energy than leaving your house lights on for the same period of time’.

“It doesn’t have to be a huge change, and no one is asking you to go vegan overnight”

The livestock industry is significantly polluting our planet, and therefore even a small change for Lent, such as giving up red meat, or fish, or dairy, means that you’re contributing to the preservation of our planet. It doesn’t have to be a huge change, and no one is asking you to go vegan overnight, but the simple fact is that our planet is being destroyed, and a huge factor in that is the livestock and fish farming industry.

For more information on how to cut out animal products, and the change this will have on the planet, please visit the below links:

I hope this article provided you with some useful ideas of little things to cut out at Lent that could make a huge difference to your life and the world around you. Good luck this Lent, and I hope that the changes you make will prove easy to follow through in the long term!

Grace Quinn

Featured image courtesy of greg westfall via Flickr, no changes made to image. Image licence can be found here. 

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Climate Crisis and the EnvironmentHumans and HealthLifestyleScience

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