What consequences do you suffer with 40 days of denying yourself chocolate, wine or caffeine or whatever your so-called ‘vice’ is? Do you subsequently fill the ‘void’ with copious amounts of cheese perhaps and for the lack of coffee, you wind up over doing it on the chai lattes and hot chocolates? Come Easter Sunday many of us who forbade a morsel of sweet cocoa beyond our lips for six whole weeks are gorging on more chocolate than we’d probably have consumed in the first place. Right?
Why not try one of these eight more mindful actions for Lent that avoid dizzying side-effects and are good for your health too.
8 Mindful Actions
- Inspect your Food Labels and Opt for Local. Check where your food is coming from. Is the carrot grown in the Netherlands or in Ireland for example? Buy Irish first. (less of a journey to your plate & you are supporting the local economy.)
- Cook from Scratch. If this isn’t something you do regularly try to make a homemade meal at least once a week. This means no cheat jars of asian stir-fry sauces, no Dolmio day, no shop-bought pastes. Just you, your recipe book, your favourite tipple, and some Simon Garfunkel or Elton John on loop. Perfection.
- Put Food Waste in the Compost Bin or at least in a brown bin. If you aren’t already separating food waste from other waste, ask yourself, why?
- Say No to Plastic. For example, in the supermarket buy loose peppers void of plastic and buy bananas just in their own skins. Avoid punnets of fruit, plastic bags of herbs, leaves in a bag and so on. This one is tricky – see no. 5 below to make it easier!
- Shop at a Farmers Market. Find an Irish farmers market near you here. Why? Opportunity to buy organic vegetables, fish and meat and support local artisan producers. Going to markets makes no. 1 & 4 super easy to achieve!
- Refuse the Straw. 90% of ocean debris is made up of plastic and straws are one of the many plastic objects ingested by sea life. Saying no to the plastic straw is fairly easy to accomplish as you go about your daily routine. Easily forgotten when you are ordering your choice of poison on a night out – remember to tell the waiter or barman, “no straw, please” and just sip it like a lady.
- Travel with a Travel Mug. Don’t go without your morning brew but a suggestion is to use a refillable mug, preferably glass. Ask the barista to make it for you in your own mug and if you are in the office, opt for the mug over the paper cup. You can invest in a chic glass ‘KeepCup’ from this cool Irish company who sources them.
- Spring Clean your Wardrobe. Is there anything here you haven’t worn in over 12 months, ahem, or even 12 years?? This decluttering exercise might take the full 6 weeks for some people but simply put, be ruthless. Donate what you have gathered to a local recycling bank or a charity shop and anything really old can be used as cleaning rags. What is key here is not replacing what you have thrown out. Bask in the free space in your closet and let it sit with you for a bit.
So you see, they aren’t really sacrifices at all, just a few baby steps to more conscious living.