“Taking On” the Season of Lent, No Matter Your Religion: Using Lent as a Means of Self-Care and Progress

by Andrea Traietti on February 27, 2020

Editor's Column

by Kerry Torpey ’20



This week marked the official start of the Lenten season with Ash Wednesday. As many students walked from class-to-class after receiving their ashes, I overheard several conversations discussing what people should “give up” for Lent.

The concept behind giving something up for Lent, also known as a Lenten sacrifice, traces back to the early days of Christianity. Theologically, the idea is meant to deprive individuals of certain pleasures in order to reorient themselves on a path back towards their faith and God. Common sacrifices I have heard among college students include sweets, soda, swearing, and social media.

Although I find the challenge of giving up coffee for 40 days to definitely be a personal sacrifice, something I feel that gets lost during Lent is the idea that you have to limit yourself to giving up something—it can be just as impactful to “take on” a new positive habit or lifestyle as it is to make a sacrifice.

For example, as college students, we sometimes get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day lives that we forget to stop and take a moment for ourselves to relax. Especially with the stress of midterm season upon us, placing greater value on your mental health with moments of reset and repose will positively impact your well-being.

Take advantage of things like Active Mind’s “Inside Out Week,” which encourages students to “cultivate self-care practices from the inside out.” Clubs like Active Minds provide resources like these year-round on campus, making sure students continue to talk about mental health to end stigmas and promote wellness.

Even though Lent is a religious observance, the benefits of “giving up” or “taking on” habits can be life-changing and fulfilling. You do not have to be Christian or a religious person to take the leap and start taking on a healthier lifestyle, and I encourage anyone in the PC community to consider doing so.