Doing lent your own way

I've never been one to join the fasting wagon over the period leading up to Easter. This year however I have decided to try it out...  yet a little differently.

The essence of fasting is a clearance of your body's toxins and habitual substances to prepare for a holy significance. The norm is that people usually cut out meat, fish and dairy. Yet these aren't the only substances that consume us. When choosing to fast, you abstain yourself from some usual delights in order to release spiritually and physically. Besides physical toxins, there are emotional and behavioral habits that need to be flushed out every once in a while, so it's important to choose something whose absence you'll really notice. Hence, why not take the tradition of fasting a step further and give your bad habits or your routine a detox?

Plenty of the practices we do daily don't benefit our physical or mental health.  And it's good to take a break even from some practices we enjoy as a test. This idea came to mind after Green Monday, when we hit the 40-day countdown towards Easter and the fasting began. Not being a follower of traditional fasting, I started contemplating its core purpose; to cleanse and purify the body and soul by constraining yourself of something that's important to you.

The philosophy of fasting calls upon us to know ourselves, to master ourselves, and to discipline ourselves the better to free ourselves. To fast is to identify our dependencies, and free ourselves from them - Tariq Ramadan

With this inspiration, I realized that fasting can be adapted to each and every one of us and can agree with what we want to better in our lives. So instead of fasting food, you could do a digital fasting for example.

If you're struggling to comprehend this concept or to pin-point a few alternative detoxes, here are a few suggestions:

-limit the time you spent scrolling through social media

-quit or decrease smoking

-stop using electronics right before you sleep

-cut out the all-time-favourite caffeine, including black tea (!)

-go sugar-free

-don't get take outs and cook healthier dishes at home, you'll save up some money too

-if certain thoughts are troubling you, try to snap yourself out of them by doing an action instead

-don't check if your crush/ex/partner is online

-unplug your TV

There are a dozen habits you could cut and it all depends on your lifestyle and psychology. The fundamental meaning of lent is to nurture your body with things that are healthy for it, so a change in a mental state can also be as gratifying as a food detox. You don't necessarily need to limit yourself of things, you ccould perhaps add healthy habits as well:

-drink more water

-practice gratitude

-spend more time with your loved ones

-sleep earlier

-exercise more or pick up a fitness challenge

-commit to reading two books in that 40-day period

You see, I've understood that just like many other things, fasting is entirely a personal choice and thankfully society has become more acceptive of unconventional lent practices. So why not come up with your own? One that works for your body, mental state and emotions without the need to follow the norm.

If you think about it, the fasting period is a sort of challenge. And sure, you could take up a challenge any time of the year, but if you need that extra push, it might seem a little easier to do it over the Easter period when others are fasting too, whether or not it goes under the same branch.

So think about it. What would you like to detox yourself of?

Let me know in the comments and if you like this concept, share to spread the idea.