12 joyful things to do in spring

By Cara Waudby Tolley | May 24, 2022

As the days lengthen and get warmer, Jenny Oldaker suggests the best ways to make the most out of your time this spring.

1. Declutter your life

This is the season of renewal and it represents a good opportunity to take stock and consider the things that make you happy, as well as the things you’re ready to cast aside. When you clear out the clutter in your life it can help promote feelings of freedom and clarity, and make you feel more productive and energised. Go one step further and deep clean your home, cultivating a space that feels both relaxing and nurturing.

2. Swim wild

For an exquisitely invigorating sensation, there is nothing quite like the cold-water thrill of swimming outdoors in lakes, rivers or the ocean. Now that the days are warming up, it’s a great time to give this exciting hobby a try and enjoy the many physical and psychological benefits it brings. Remember to swim safe, though: know your limits and take a buddy with you. For more tips and advice, the website
wildswimming.co.uk is a fantastic resource.

3. Tend to your garden

Whether you have your own green space, a bijou balcony or a window box or windowsill, tending to plants is a potent mood-booster and now is the perfect time to get planting. From planning what you’d like to grow – herbs, flowers or fruit and veg – to getting seeds, compost and pots together and planting, the act of gardening makes you feel good. You’ll feel even better when the seeds sprout and you can watch your shoots grow.

4. Listen to the birds

The positive effects of listening to wake up to birds are well documented: it can help us switch off, destress and focus, while offering a powerful connection to the natural world. As spring gets into its stride you’ll notice a lot more birdsong, and this sound is at its joyful best during the dawn chorus. Open your window on a warm spring feathered ensemble – or, even better, set your alarm and go outside in time to hear the chorus in all its glory and start the day feeling at one with nature.

5. Take a walk

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? And it is! A gratitude walk is the ultimate joyous activity for this season. There are ways to enhance the experience too…

Leave your phone at home so you’re not tempted to check your messages or social media and you can focus fully on the world around you. Tune into the movement of your body and increase your awareness of your environment as you go – by doing so you will naturally enhance the emotional and mental benefits of your journey, no matter how long it is.

6. Be a citizen scientist

Getting out in the warmer weather is wonderful for our physical and mental health, and if you’d like even more of an excuse to get outdoors, consider joining a citizen science project. Such projects help to build vital information about the natural world, and many don’t require more than basic knowledge. Check out
wildlifetrusts.org/citizen-science for ideas that include the monitoring of beach habitats as well as a range of region specific wildlife projects, or you could chart what’s happening with the wildlife near you for the Woodland Trust.

7. Exfoliate

It’s time to slough off dead skin cells and get glowing. A great way to do this is by dry brushing – use a brush with firm, natural bristles to gently massage your body with firm strokes upwards towards your heart. Not only is this good for removing dead skin cells, it is also
thought to help boost circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system. Best of all, it’s easy to fit into your daily routine. Spend a couple of minutes brushing before you shower for the best effect.

8. Bring the outdoors in

From flinging open your windows to let the spring air freshen up your home to introducing bright seasonal flowers into every room, now is the ideal time to reconnect with the outside world and bring a sense of springtime joy inside. Selecting home accessories in natural materials like wicker, rattan and jute can also help reinforce this sense of nature in the home, while pots of herbs and house plants offer a welcome splash of green.

9. Comb the beach

The experience of being by the sea is a soothing and joyful one in itself. Add another layer of mindfulness to this by dedicating yourself to some beachcombing. Whether you’re seeking sea glass, shells, fossils or other beach finds, the act of focused gazing at the treasures beneath your feet becomes meditative and helps to foster a sense of calm. You can enjoy the fulfilment of making a positive difference too by removing any rubbish you find along the way – visit beachcleans.org.uk to get inspired into action.

10. Trawl charity shops

If you’ve had a spring clear-out and fancy adding some new lines to your wardrobe, why not treat yourself to a couple of hours of leisurely browsing charity shops? Not only will you come away with the buzz of having new items to wear (for bargain prices!), you’ll also be able to enjoy the glow of knowing that the money you’ve spent has gone to a good cause and that you’ve shopped sustainably to give these garments a new lease of life.

11. Bake

Set aside a leisurely morning to cook up a selection of treats – baking is a wonderfully mindful and satisfying activity and is a feast for the senses, from the feel of dough in your hands to the rich smell of your handiwork in the oven and the sweet taste of the end product. Invite friends over for afternoon tea to enrich the experience… The anticipation of a social occasion and the act of sharing the fruits of your labour with others will make your cakes taste so much sweeter.

12. Plan a trip

Whether it’s a local day trip, a weekend staycation or a full-blown holiday, spend time this month planning a getaway or a treat of some kind. Research has shown that anticipation can be a powerful positive emotion and giving yourself a pleasurable activity to look forward to can help energise your life and fortify you through tough times…

And of course you’ll have the real thing to thoroughly enjoy at the end of all that waiting!

About the author

Jenny Oldaker is a Bristol-based freelance writer, specialising in travel, wildlife and lifestyle topics. She is inspired by nature and fuelled by coffee.