Lent takes place every year in the 40 days leading up to Easter, and is treated as a period of reflection and a time for fasting from food and festivities.

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday which is the day after Shrove Tuesday - otherwise known as Pancake Day.

So this year the start of Lent will be on Wednesday, March 1 and it will come to an end on Maundy Thursday (April 13).

Lent symbolises the days which led up to Jesus' crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, when Christ spent 40 days and nights alone in the Judaean Desert being tempted by Satan.

Traditionally people, whether religious or not, use Lent to 'give up' something, whether it's drinking, smoking or overspending.

Ideas of what you could give up for Lent:


If you swear like a trooper it might be time to put a lid on it. Giving up the bad language could be something you do with your friends. Make a swear jar and stick £1 in it every time you swear. Forking out money for naughty words might make you think twice about saying them.


We know it isn't Stoptober but quitting the cigarettes is something that's beneficial to you any month of the year. There are various techniques you can use including gum, patches, inhalers, sprays and even lozenges. If you are not sure which one would work for you Boots has a handy guide on how each one releases nicotine into the body and how effective they are.


"I'm tired". "I'm hungry". Quit your moaning it's time to turn that frown upside down. Learn how to change the way you think and adopt a positive attitude. Be more mindful about your thoughts and learn how to recognise the negative ones and change them around. For example, when the alarm goes off in the morning and you think "oh no, not the alarm again" think of all the great things you can accomplish in the day instead.


Could you go 40 days without an alcoholic drink? The health benefits are surely worth giving it a try.


If you're never more than two feet away from your XBox, PS4 or other gaming device maybe it's time you put the controller down. Getting lost in a video game can be a great way to escape the daily trudge but if you feel like you're beginning to miss out on real life then maybe it's time to arrange to do something fun with your friends instead.

Facebook and other social media

If you find yourself checking Facebook every time you have a spare minute you might be more connected to your social media than you would like to be. You don't have to delete your profile to beat the habit though. Simply uninstall the app on your phone and see how you do without it there.

It will decrease the time you spend checking your feed as it is no longer at your finger tips. The break might come as a refreshing surprise - you might even end up having an actual face to face conversation.

Junk food

Giving up junk food will obviously help you lose weight as greasy pizza, burgers and fries are laden with calories. But they're also high in saturated fat and salt which can lead to chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and high cholesterol.

Quitting it for Lent will encourage you to eat more fruit and veg so it will help you to get in your five-a-day, and will help you get in your essential nutrients and vitamins from other healthier options.