Let’s celebrate the arrival of spring and give our minds, bodies and spirits a real spring clean. Here are a few Jack hacks to get us ready to embrace the brighter days ahead.
So, farewell then, winter. Bye-bye beast from the east, so long storm Emma. Spring is here. And, while the mercury is still hovering somewhere beneath where we’d like it to be, there is a definite freshness in the air. The promise of sun, spring flowers and of heading outdoors again and our sap begins to rise. And what better way to spring into action than these five to bring you alive...
Head to the water...
...No, we don’t mean the beach. It might still be a bit nippy out there. But in spring, our rivers are in spate, and it’s the perfect time to explore them in all their wet and wild glory. Canoeing, kayaking or white-water rafting is brilliant fun, and a great way to get your pulse racing after the winter doldrums. And you don’t need to head to the Colorado rapids to try it. We’ve plenty of navigable stretches of rivers and lakes to explore. White water rafting in Llangollen is world class (there’s a LOT of rain in North Wales). The River Dee is the place to head - with the Serpent’s Tail, Town Falls, Campsite Weir just some of the bubbling, turbulent obstacles on your route down river.
Seek out solitude
Spring is the best time to see Scotland at its finest. The midges have yet to make an appearance and, in May, rainfall is at its lowest in the western Highlands. It’s also a good time to make use of the country’s network of mountain bothies. Reconditioned crofts, shepherd’s huts or farm buildings, they’re free, usually have an open fire, perches for your sleeping bag and a rudimentary area for a spot of cooking. But really, it’s about the solitude. A crackling fire, a dram of single malt and a view to die for. Silence really does clear away the cobwebs and let you plan a brilliant year ahead. That’s worth taking the path less travelled for in Jack’s book.
Give some of your time
Volunteering is as good for your soul as it is for the projects and people you’re giving your time to. So how much time can you spare? Even an hour or two makes a huge difference. And anyone can do it. Clearing woodlands, helping at a soup kitchen, making tea at a hospice or becoming a befriender for the Alzheimer’s Society. Volunteering isn’t about working for free - it’s about gaining valuable life skills, and returning home with an enormous sense of achievement. That’s a fair exchange in our book.
Plant your lunch
Got a garden? A balcony? A window ledge? Spring’s the time to sow your wild oats - or at least your salad vegetables. There’s few things more satisfying in life than watching your first little seedlings peek out above the soil, and then munching your way through your own first crop. You’ll be surprised how addictive it is - and how much better food tastes (even humble rocket salad or herbs) taste when you grow them yourself. You can buy seeds, or get a head start and buy plants that have been grown on a bit in a nursery. And if you catch the bug, why not put your name down for a local allotment and really start to nurture those green fingers!
...and finally, rather than suggesting something you can do, how about we suggest something you don’t do. Going off line is more challenging than you might think. But it’s one of the best, too. Think about what you spend most time online doing, and then think about ways you can replaces it in the real world. So you mostly shop online? Make an effort to shop locally instead. Watch music videos online? Go catch a local band live instead. Social media? What about spending quality time with the people you care about and love most rather than posting heart and celebration emojis? Unplugging for one day, or even one evening, a week allows us to devote time to something else more productive in our own life, and that gets a thumbs up from us (a real one, not a digital one).