Checking Facebook in bed when you wake up
Allow yourself to wake up without the pressure of immediately looking at Facebook’s newsfeed, and start your day with your own thoughts and plans. Maybe even a prayer to God for the day ahead. This could be quite relaxing, freeing you from the stress of feeling like you have to be constantly plugged in to the machine.
Ok, first off, knowing what’s going on in the world is important. However, in this day and age, we have a bombardment of information aimed at us and not all of it is accurate. Before reacting to a news story, do some research. How is the article or report worded? What does the original source say? Spend some time praying and thinking about what you actually think about the topic. You may find that Lent provides an opportunity to take a step back from what the media is saying and consider what’s really true.
Shouting at members of our family
We can often get annoyed with our siblings or parents. But sometimes reacting from our annoyance can make the situation worse. How about trying to let that annoyance or grief wash over you. It could be hard, but always worth a try. Letting go of what are usually trivial disagreements can be liberating, allowing us to focus on more important things.
Watching YouTube videos before bed
Yes, I know it can be entertaining to watch PewDiePie before sleeping, but wouldn’t it be better to wind down your mind, empty your head of the day’s happenings and pray a little bit – perhaps giving thanks to God and thinking about yourself and your life’s journey (you can try the Examen here).
The insatiable pursuit of material wealth
We live in a relatively affluent country, meaning sometimes we can feel we don’t have enough money to be happy. And whilst it’s nice to have enough money to buy things we don’t need, it does little for our soul and satisfying the meaning of life. Lent is the perfect opportunity to do the things that truly bring meaning to our life and answer the deepest longings of our heart – you may find that money is a happy by-product.
Comparing yourself to others
Really, it does you little good and it’s pretty much guaranteed to get you anxious and/or depressed. It’s one of the great social ills of this age, that we feel bad about ourselves based on what we perceive others to be doing, and then try to create a false mask of ourselves to others. Recognise the unique creation that God has made you to be this Lent and see how freeing it is to be loved simply for being you.
Goodness knows we spend a lot of our time wasted on this, and as a consequence leave ourselves with less time to do what we really want, thus becoming stressed and giving ourselves grief. Like Nike says, “Just Do it”. The hardest part is always starting, so do whatever it takes to make that first step.
Now I know we all enjoy checking out what Donald Trump has just tweeted, but fewer things are as bad for our concentration and ability to sustain long-term thinking than this 140-character social media platform. Like all addictions Twitter can be quite detrimental, and it encourages instant reactions to things rather than thoughtful consideration.
Not going to Mass
We know it can be hard to engage at times. Maybe the music isn’t great, perhaps you’re the only young person there, maybe you just can’t be bothered to go. But as with not meeting a friend for a number of years, by not going to Mass our relationship with God weakens and, as the Mass was created by Christ to strengthen and sustain us, it is therefore good for us, and to not go would be to deprive ourselves of something very good – even if the music isn’t very good.
Thinking that Easter is about rabbits and chocolate eggs
Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus – about the salvation of our souls and the possibility of eternal happiness. It’s about recognising that God loves us so much that He was willing to enter into our mess and restore to us our original dignity. That’s way cooler than dumb rabbits and excessive amounts of chocolate (although we don’t turn down free chocolate if you’d like to send us some; our address can be found here).