40 days without (or with): Fasting ideas beyond the classics

Petra Kurzmann
Petra Kurzmann
Liebt es zu Kochen und sagt nie nein zu Kaffee und Kuchen. Ordnungsverliebt und doch in ihrem eigenem Chaos daheim, gibt es für die Weinviertlerin nichts Schöneres als ihren nächsten Urlaub zu planen. Ob Stadt, Berg oder Meer jede Destination hat für sie ihren Reiz. Und ist sie doch mal zuhause, lässt sie ihre Abende gerne mit einem Buch und einem Glas Wein ausklingen.

Punch, biscuits, doughnuts – the Christmas and carnival season is a busy time, especially from a culinary point of view. Lent is the perfect time to give up one or two things. But it’s not just about giving up meat, alcohol, or sweets, it’s about trying new things and doing something good for yourself. We have collected some ideas for fasting that go beyond the well-known classics.

40 days without Netflix, TV & Co.

No plans for the evening? No problem, TV and Netflix always have something to offer. And so we spend many evenings on the sofa watching a programme we’re not really interested in. Lent is the perfect opportunity for an alternative evening programme. Books, games nights, catching up with friends or trying out a new hobby – the possibilities are endless.

Of course, if you don’t want to give up your favourite shows, you don’t have to fast completely. Streaming or watching TV only on certain days is a good place to start.

40 days without social media

From the time we wake up in the morning until we go to bed at night, our smartphones and social media apps are our constant companions. And although the apps promise to entertain us with beautiful and entertaining content, more and more users are finding that constant consumption is not good for them in the long run. Try reducing your social media and smartphone use for Lent and see for yourself how it changes your daily life and mood.

There are many different approaches to social media fasting. Many start by deleting all apps to avoid temptation.

Some install apps to lock their smartphone for a period of time, while others set specific days when they want to be mobile-free.

40 days without takeaway packaging

Coffee to go, a bowl for lunch, or a takeaway meal in the evening may be convenient, but they also generate a lot of waste. In Vienna alone, takeaway packaging generates around 1,700 tonnes of waste every year. Avoiding takeaway packaging does not mean you have to give up your coffee or food. Just bring your own cup or box. It tastes just as good and the bin won’t fill up as quickly.
If you want to go one step further, you can try to avoid plastic packaging altogether for Lent. There are already some alternatives available in the supermarket. Or try one of the many unpackaged shops.

40 days less CO2

Climate action has never been more urgent. Everyone can make a difference by producing less CO2. Lent could be the perfect place to start because any small step is better than none. Here are some ideas for your everyday life:

  • Heat and ventilate more consciously
  • Swap your car for a train or bicycle, especially for short journeys.
  • Switching appliances off completely instead of leaving them on standby
  • Buy more local & seasonal produce
  • Eat less meat or none at all
  • Reduce packaging waste as much as possible
Eating leftovers for 40 days

Who hasn’t been there: the freezer and cupboards are full of food that you’ve stored up only to forget about it for the next few months. An idea for Lent: look at the treasures you find in the kitchen and use up your supplies. Well, it probably won’t be 40 days, but most people should be able to get by for 1-2 weeks.

40 more days of exercise

40 days of exercise doesn’t mean you have to go running every day. This fast is about incorporating more exercise into your daily routine:

  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator or lift.
  • Walk around while talking on the phone or brushing your teeth.
  • Work standing up more often
  • Get on or off the train one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.

Make an appointment to go for a walk instead of meeting in a coffee shop

40 days of fresh air

In keeping with the theme of exercise: Use Lent to get outside more often. And no, going to the tube doesn’t count 😉 Try to consciously spend at least half an hour in the fresh air every day. After a few days of oxygen and vitamin D, you’ll notice the difference.

40 days of saying no

The gift for grandma, the project at work, or the presentation at university. Despite our own to-do list, we often take on tasks because we want to do a favour for friends and family. But in many cases, it’s not necessary and we only do it because we find it hard to say no.
If this sounds like you, Lent is the perfect opportunity to practice saying no.

And don’t worry, just because you say no once doesn’t mean others will get angry.

40 days without fasting

“I should exercise more”, “I should eat healthier”, “I need to lose a few kilos”. Throughout the year there are always things we tell ourselves to do. So here is our slightly different fasting suggestion: use the 40 days to do something good for yourself. Do and eat what you want and enjoy the time.

Fasting 1×1

Deciding to fast is easy, but sticking to it is often difficult. So here is a little fasting 1×1:

  • At the very beginning, think about why you want to give up something during the fast, why you want to do something consciously, and what you personally associate with it. This will motivate you even more.
  • Find a partner to fast with. It is easier with two people.
  • Motivate yourself with a reward at the end of the 40 days.
  • Even if you break your fast, it does not mean that your plan has failed. Just keep trying.

Fasting, the partial or total abstinence from all kinds of stimulants, has a long history in many cultures and religions. Even the ancient Egyptians had a form of asceticism. The aim of traditional fasting is to practise abstinence through renunciation, to do penance, and thus to strengthen one’s faith. The most common period of fasting in Europe is the Christian fast, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.

Whatever type of fast you choose, we wish you success and stamina!

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