It’s true that one person cannot take on the world’s burdens, but that doesn’t mean we don’t do it anyway. Let’s face it; life is super heavy right now. The weight of the pandemic, lost lives, constant uncertainty, and managing to stay afloat in a crumbling economy are the most recent stressors.

But life doesn’t stop throwing curveballs just because we’ve had enough. We still have to move through each day doing the things expected of us regardless of how down we may feel.

Moment to moment things are manageable and if we’re lucky there are even times that feel pleasant, but inevitably there are the days that feel thick and oppressive. Sometimes this heaviness shows up as a headache, fatigue, and irritability or sometimes its insidious and creeps into the psyche without our awareness.

Underneath any symptom is the potential for this darker more hopeless space that ultimately leads to feeling unmotivated, uninspired, bored, and stuck in inaction.

Hopefully we are all practicing daily personal care and finding ways to balance the stress and overwhelm we are dealing with. This is essential, but every once in a while those things don’t work or are not enough.

During this unprecedented time we have to be willing to try anything and everything until we discover what works. Here are three things that have been shown in research to shift mood and lift spirit that are not as frequently suggested by professionals offering advice on depression.

Sit Under a Tree
The natural world does wonders for mood and mindset, and nature offers a brief respite from the current reality of our uncertain world. Nature is resilient, cyclical, and serves as a reminder of possibility and hope through its ability to repair and renew. Trees in particular can serve as a metaphor for strength, grounding, and safety. When you feel the heaviness of the world try sitting under a big tree and you’ll find that you feel sheltered, connected, and lighter in mind and spirit. Add a little nature therapy by touching the trunk of the tree, mindfully looking at its leaves, and physically leaning on it for added benefit.

Explore Brainwave Therapy
If you sometimes wish you could just wave a magic wand and be in a better mood then you need to know about Binaural Beats. Sometimes called brainwave subliminals, Binaural Beats are considered to be “auditory illusions” that have been shown in research to have many potential health benefits including fostering a positive mood. Listening to these specifically designed meditations will balance your right and left hemisphere to achieve specific mental states that support your wellbeing. Slipping on a pair of headphones and letting your unconscious be slathered in delicious sounds will be your new favorite prescription. Brain Sync is a favorite resource.

Make Yourself a Smoothie
This may sound trite for a blog giving advice to lift a low mood, but the food-mood connection is not a trivial concept anymore. How you feel emotionally directly correlates with your diet, and there are specific foods that can uplift your mood. Smoothies are the easiest way to do this when you don’t feel like doing anything, and they are almost always filled with delicious mood-boosting ingredients. Fresh fruits are a key ingredient as fruits are a part of any healthy diet, but you can also throw in some cocoa, banana, nut butter, and even a shot of coffee if the timing is right. You will immediately feel better because who doesn’t love a refreshing smoothie in the midst of summer?

There is no doubt that what we are all enduring right now is beyond what any of us should expect to handle. The onslaught of information we are bombarded with combined with gaps in the knowledge we need to feel a sense of safety in the world could push anyone to the brink of poor mental health.

If things ever feel too heavy, or like the dark cloud will not lift seek help from a professional or reach out to a close friend. Know that you are not alone, and take steps every day to maintain your mental and physical care.