5 ways to make your Lent more meaningful
MANILA, Philippines – For one week every year, you get a chance to pause.
To stop whatever it is you’ve been busy with. To take time off and perhaps get away from it all.
During Lent, many opt to fly back to their hometowns and join in on services in their parish. For some, the Holy Week is an opportunity to get some downtime and head to the beach with family or friends.
However you choose to spend the last days of March, be sure to make the most of it.
Go on, relax in your own room, take a solo trip, or even join a retreat. Lent is a time you can spend by yourself and for yourself.
Disable your inbox
Since Maundy Thursday is a regular holiday, your time off officially starts on March 24 this year. Before then, try to finish all your pending tasks. Once you’ve tied loose ends, give yourself a proper holiday and stop checking your emails.
A study done in 2012 revealed that 60 percent of smartphone-using professionals kept in touch with work for more than 12 hours per day, and also spent another 5 hours juggling work email each weekend. That’s a lot of time to spend on scrolling through emails and work-related chat groups.
Turning off those notifications during Lent could be difficult, especially for those who thrive on busy schedules. But it’ll do you good. After all, letting go of that to-do list isn’t a sign of laziness; it’s a way for you to gather your thoughts, re-examine yourself, and do even better once the holidays are over.
Go on a social media cleanse
While it seems impossible to totally give up on social media during a vacation, there is some merit in limiting your use to the essentials. Go on, fix your schedule through Facebook Messenger or check traffic updates on Twitter, but skip that Buzzfeed Tasty food video for now.
Use the long weekend to sift through the issues and ideas you’ve encountered on your feed in the past, and determine which ones ring true for you. From all the information you see on your newsfeed, weed out the bad from the good. Identify the issues which truly matter to you.
Worried about being distracted by your friends’ breathtaking vacation photos the week after? Remember: FOMO is just a state of mind. If you take time to appreciate the present, you’ll never feel like you’re missing out.
Catch up on some reading
Another thing you can do during your time alone is to rip through the books on your reading list (not literally, of course). And we don’t just mean self-help books; read whatever your heart desires. Stories allow you to escape and force you to concentrate and eliminate distractions and potential stressors.
An experiment by the University of Sussex showed that reading can almost instantly help a person relax. It turns out that it only takes 6 minutes of reading to slow down heart rate and ease tension in the muscles. According to the experiment, this decreased stress levels by 68 percent, higher than the results for listening to music (61 percent) and drinking a cup of tea (54 percent).
Keep a journal
Your grade school grammar teacher was on to something when he required you to keep a diary. For grown-ups, journaling helps you to gather your thoughts and make sense out of your usually fast-paced life.
During your time alone, try expressive writing. Jot down your thoughts, scribble down good and bad memories, and write as if you’re ranting to your best friend. Doing this will allow you to know yourself better, solve problems, and keep the stress away.
Determine what means most to you
Why do you do what you do? What can’t you live without? Those are just some of the important questions you can ask yourself during this period of introspection. If you’re in a job you don’t like so much or are stuck in a toxic relationship, this is a way for you to weigh your options and figure out if you should hold on or let go.
Zero in on your priorities. Faith? Family? Career? Think long and hard, and then list them down. After that, determine parts of your life that contribute to the growth of these priorities. Say goodbye to everything else that doesn’t make the cut and focus on doing more of the things that’ll make you a better, more joyful person. — Rappler.com
Jot down your goals, to-do lists or reminders in the ‘You Only Live Once’ Journal. Made by Rappler in partnership with Viviamo, Inc., it’s a multi-functional refillable journal that you can take along with you in your life’s adventure. Buy it at Lazada’s Rappler XChange page here.