Fasting Ideas for Lent: In this post I will be sharing 40+ ideas for Lenten fasting and sacrifice that are unrelated to food.
I started this list several years ago when I came to the realization that I had been pregnant or breastfeeding most of my adult life, and that was likely to continue (yay for babies!). Read more about my little family of 6 here.
I started this with the idea that I would sometimes be in a place where I desired to make sacrifices but ultimately was not being called to survive on bread and water. Then the list developed as the kids and I came up with little daily sacrifices they could do, too.
I made this list of fasting ideas for Lent, but a lot of these ideas are great to use all year round, too. For example, if you want to add an extra penance for a special intention, or if you need an idea for a Friday that accidentally started with bacon. Just me? No?
The only common thread here is that not one of these offerings are food related, but in an attempt to give some structure I am dividing it by headlines with type of fasting.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, none of the things on my list of ideas are required. These are all merely ideas.
List of Ideas for Lent Fasting
Fasting from Daily Comforts
If you are like me, you likely live a more comfortable and convenient life than at any other time in history. Sometimes making small comfort sacrifices can be just the ticket to helping me have a grateful heart.
- Fast from the light switch in your bedroom. Put a piece of tape over it. Get dressed in the dimness. It will get brighter throughout Lent. Did you know, the etymology of the word Lent actually connects to the lengthening of the day? Read about that here.
- Fast from your pillow, or from your favourite pillow, your second pillow, or your body pillow. If you are pregnant or have chronic pain or sleep problems, this may not be for you.
- Fast from your comfy duvet. Use a quilt that you don’t prefer. Maybe don’t do this if you have sleep terrorist children though.
- Fast from putting your cold feet on your spouse (I can’t be the only one).
- Or fast from your favourite sweater or leggings.
- Fast from your slippers. Brr! This is the stuff of medieval hair shirts folks. Definitely don’t combine this with #5.
- Fast from inner criticisms and negative self-talk.
- Give up bad language.
- Fast from criticizing others.
- You can fast from impatience.
- Fast from the need to control others.
- Give up listening to entertainment in order to listen more to God.
Fasting from Little Vanities
- Fast from your favourite jeans and wear a skirt to mass.
- Go an extra day before washing your hair.
- Turn the water just a little cooler than you wish it were while you shower.
- Skip conditioner.
- Give up your blow dryer or styling tool.
- Skip your favourite styling product.
- Fast from scented products.
- Replace your hand cream with a simple homemade salve.
- Use a regular toothbrush instead of electric. Go zero waste and switch to bamboo!
- Fast from makeup, or from one makeup product you ran out of. Donate the money you were going to spend at BeautyCounter to St Vincent de Paul Society.
- Avoid clothes shopping. Donate your budget for that to a pregnancy centre.
- Fast from using the mirror. Tape a sheet of paper onto the mirror. Write some scripture up there and read it instead while you brush your teeth. If you have to ask someone “Is there anything on my face?” I give you a spiritual high five.
- Fast from getting a haircut. Easter will feel extra magical!
- Fast from nail polish, or fun colours, or even just from taking photos of your nails for the internet.
- Fast from your accessories. Or pick one scarf and simple jewelry and wear them exclusively. You could totally go next level with this and make a simple Lenten capsule wardrobe!
Fasting from Media and Internet Conveniences
- Fast from Netflix, or your streaming app of choice. Maybe only do spiritual reading as a replacement.
- Fast from Amazon Prime shipping.
- Lean into silence by fasting from music, audiobooks, and podcasts in the car.
- Fast from Spotify or other subscriptions. Cancelling subscriptions for Lent is a great way to find more room in the budget for almsgiving.
- If you can, fast from your phone, or have certain times where it goes away.
- Fast from gaming (this is a great one to do as a family and add in a rosary!)
- Replace a couple of apps you use with the old-fashioned way. Put a record on, go to the actual bank, play cards in real life instead of online, or do a crossword in a book.
- Fast from plugging your phone in next to your bed (we pretty much all do it).
- This one is a bit silly: fast from emojis. You heard me.
- Fast from Googling things the instant you want to know them. Keep an encyclopedia nearby at dinner for kid’s constant questions.
Fasting from Appliances, Remotes, and other Modern Conveniences
- Fast from using your remote car starter. Can you tell its winter here?
- Fast from the dishwasher. Pray the rosary while hand-washing the dishes!
- Fast from single-use plastics. If you can, make lifestyle changes that can last beyond just Lent!
- Abstain from pre-made convenience foods and make those things from scratch.
- Turn your heat down half a degree. Don’t do this on the same day as you decided to give up your slippers.
- Fast from the dryer and hang your clothes to dry on a drying rack. Conveniently wash all your delicates on this day if that seems hard.
- Don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets. Just permanently stop doing this because it is super bad for your toxic load.
- Fast from your microwave. Tie a rosary on the handle to remind you.
- Fast from paper towel by getting a pack of bar mop rags instead. Save money and reduce waste!
- Fast from disposable diapers for a day (we all have a cloth diaper addict friend who is happy to lend a day’s supply).
- Fast from buying plastic wrap. Beeswax wraps are a great alternative, and you can check out my tutorial for a DIY version that works great.
- Turn off all electric light for an evening.
Fasting from Simple Pleasures
- Fast from your current novel and read something edifying that is harder to reach for.
- Abstain from cream or sugar in your coffee (maple syrup and cream for me!). Oops, this is a food-related one! But can we really discuss simple pleasures without mentioning coffee?
- Fast from singing or listening to music to reflect in silence instead.
- Fast from your favourite cozy spot.
- Give up your personal time to spend extra quality time with someone who needs it.
- Don’t buy any new books.
Miscellaneous Sacrifices for Lent
- If your kids are old enough, consider doing a “silent retreat” day, or even just an afternoon.
- Sacrifice time and energy to declutter or do extra cleaning
- Take the extra time and effort to send someone a letter.
- Sacrifice your lunch break to attend daily Mass.
- Walk somewhere you would normally drive.
- Shovel or mow for a neighbour.
- Pick up litter.
- Do someone else’s chore for them and don’t take credit.
- Fast from interrupting.
That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed my list of non-food fasting ideas for Lent. I would like to follow this up with a list of things to try for family prayer this Lent. If I have time! It is a busy Lent for us.
May your Lent be sacrificial and fruitful! Praying for you all.
Let me know in comments if you’d like to see a printable version of this one to hang on the fridge for east ideas.
No time right now? Pin it for later!
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