People warming up for exercise in park

6 things you should take up for Lent this year

Rather than giving something up, why not take something up?

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6 things you should take up for Lent this year

Chocolate, alcohol and social media are just some of the most common guilty pleasures Christians and non Christians give up during Lent. 

Lasting 40 days and 40 nights, the period symbolises the number of days Jesus spent fasting in the desert.

But this year, if you're thinking of giving up something for the six weeks, why not try taking up something, too? Whether it's something to help yourself, or to help others - it should help form a positive habit, and that has to be a good thing! Here are a few suggestions to start you off...

1. Make the time to eat breakfast

Whether it's in the comfort of your own home, at your desk or on your morning commute - take some time out to eat something for breakfast every day. “A healthy, fibre and protein-rich breakfast will fuel the day ahead," says home economist Cate Dixon. And not only that, but taking a few minutes to concentrate on your breakfast will help instil a bit of calm to a morning routine.

You could try a warming bowl of porridge topped with fruit or honey, or try making our overnight oats for those who are short on time in the morning. Egg lovers will go mad for our Middle Eastern-inspired one-pan wonder, Shakshuka and peanut butter fans will love the combination of nuts, strawberries, bananas and rye bread

2. Make time to read a book

Remember the good old days before work, a busy family life and constant chores took over your life? The days when you actually had time to sit down and enjoy a good book?

Well, why not put aside 15 minutes every night or every other night before you go to sleep, to read. From a gritty courtroom drama, Anantomy of a Scandal to John Grisham's latest crime thriller, Camino Island  - there's a range of good reads to get stuck into. Plus, it's good to give your eyes a break from screens after a long day.

3. Make your lunch instead of buying

Buying a nice hot lunch while you're out and about is always great, but it can leave your purse feeling a bit light.

However, thanks to our long list of family-friendly meals - you'll never have to (or want to) buy lunch again. You could whip up a big batch of beef stir-fry with noodles in a black bean sauce, have a couple of leftover slices of a roasted vegetable pizza or indulge in a speedy squash curry. You'll be the envy of all your colleagues!

4. Always opt to take the stairs

We all know that exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle but it's not always easy to fit fitness in, especially when your working day isn't just 9-5. So, whilst you're on the move and at work, make sure you tackle the stairs, and ignore the escalators or lifts. Set yourself a daily step target and make sure you hit it by getting off the bus a stop earlier, offering to take someone's dog for a walk, or making sure you get out and about at lunchtime. Top tip - always pop your trainers in a bag, and then there's no excuse!

5. Learn another language

Going away this year? Well, how amazing would it be if you could speak the country's language whilst you're there? You can improve your skills by listening to language learning podcasts on your way to work, write words on post-its around the home, find a learning partner or language buddy and start watching TV programmes in the language to get your ear in tune. Bon chance! 

6. Give more compliments

This one's really easy, but also really rewarding. Saying 'good job' or 'I like your outfit' is an instant mood booster for you and the person receiving praise. Plus, being nice doesn't cost a thing!

For everything you'll need to take up a rewarding activity this Lent, make sure you head online to Asda or pop into your local store