Mental stress is a part of life. Even our forever First Lady Michelle Obama admitted to experiencing “low grade depression” last week.

The stresses of today, the trauma we’re enduring from racial injustice, the pandemic, and uncertainty can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.

Luckily, we all have tools at our disposal to combat the blues.

Establish a routine. An idle mind is fertile ground for depression. During these difficult times, it’s important to establish a routine. Upon rising, clean your space. Make your bed. Do some light stretching. Read your affirmations. Feed yourself some good, nutritious food. Make your to-do list for the day. That’s just a sample of a morning routine. Make it your own.

Disconnect. Often, scrolling online or on social media can trigger negative thoughts, anger and sadness. Unplug from the digital world. Set aside “digital time” and when it’s over, trade your phone for some family time or “me” time. Relax, breathe and focus on the positive.

Stay connected. Getting together with family and friends is not like it used to be, but it’s important to stay connected with friends and those you love. Hop on Zoom or Google Meet once a week to catch up or uplift each other.

Get some nature. Never underestimate the power of nature and just being outside. Get out early to beat the summer heat. Move around, breathe some fresh air, soak in some sun. It’ll do your mind and body good.

Get movin’. Exercise has been scientifically proven to boost your mental health and release “feel good” chemicals in the body. Take a brisk walk or challenge yourself with a vigorous routine.

Nourish yourself. What you eat affects how you feel. Be sure to eat nutrient-dense foods throughout the day. Click here for a list of foods to boost your nutrition.

Be inspired. What you think affects how you feel. Feed your mind with positive messages. Recite affirmations to get your mind on the right track. Make these affirmations your own and add to them.

Be still: Purposeful reflection and meditation can help ease the mind and calm an uneasy spirit. Set aside time each day to sit and be still. Tune out all around you and relax into that quiet space. Imagine you’re in a beautiful place. Breathe and release any tension. For tips on meditating, click here.