There’s nothing like the first moments of the warm sun on your face after months of cold. And what a joy it is to see the first flowers poking through the soil in early spring. Depending on where you live, it may not mean it’s quite time to stow away your parka, but longer days and warmer temperatures usher in a time of expectancy, hope, and excitement.

There is so much to enjoy in the reemergence of spring, a quiet time of new beginnings. Once I’ve been sure to add over-the-counter allergy medicine to my grocery list, I start to look forward to the seasonal activities and treats that are particular to this time of year.

Grow something

You don’t need your own outdoor space to enjoy plant life. And for those with not-so-green thumbs, you don’t need to start with a seed, either. There’s no shame in starting your garden with seedlings from the nursery or grocery store. Consider nurturing something you can later work into a drink or meal: rosemary is delicious in a spritzer, basil is yummy on homemade pizza, and edible flowers do double duty as eye candy and a sophisticated garnish.

Take a walk

It may have been a while since you were outdoors simply for the sake of fresh air. Even when the weather is still brisk, make time a few days a week to take a walk (or run) around your block. Choose a tree or garden on your way, and make note of how it changes as the days pass. If you’re up for more adventure, plan some time at a zoo or botanical garden, where you can get your steps in and learn something new.

Purge something

If full-on spring cleaning is your thing, by all means go for it. But this isn’t an area of your life where you need to go all-or-nothing. Choose a little, contained space—your junk drawer, the space under the sink, your spice cabinet, the seats in your car—to work through once or twice a week, and your efforts will quickly add up. A fresh start on a smaller scale can still have a powerful positive effect on both your mood and productivity.

Switch to cold brew

The most certain marker of spring in our home is the bowl of coffee cold brewing on the counter once a week. Typically a week or two after Easter, we give the electric percolator a break and start to drink iced coffee. My husband’s got it down to a science: half a gallon of water and half a pound of coffee, bought as whole beans and coarsely ground in the store’s grinding machine. The mixture sits in a large bowl, covered with plastic wrap, for at least twelve hours, before being strained through a combination paper-and-plastic sieve into a glass pitcher with a lid. Note, this is not a coffee concentrate, but a brew we drink as is.

Dine al fresco

Speaking of food, it’s just about time to start enjoying meals outside again. Support a local restaurant with outdoor seating for dinner, pack a picnic lunch for the park on the weekend, or simply take your morning coffee outside to watch the world wake up for the day. Spending time in nature—even if it’s from your front stoop—has a way of grounding us and putting things in perspective.

The start of spring may not have as much fanfare as the new year, but it’s a new beginning nonetheless. “The more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate” (thanks, Oprah!). What better day to celebrate than today?

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