Between the ongoing navigation of the Covid-19 pandemic confusion and the painful headlines, many of us are feeling some mental and emotional strain.

Remember when I was telling you how some days I struggle a bit with melancholy? Yeah, the struggle is real, y'all. More so lately. I'm not sure what all the forces are that coalesce to cause a dip into a blue mood, but I'm fairly certain of some of the most common factors.

Some of the most common things? Well, we have to look at our stress levels. Whether it's work-related, relationship-related, or just existential angst, stress can wreak havoc on our sense of well-being. Other known factors include eating poorly, reactions to prescriptions one may be taking, trauma, even brain chemistry. You can read more in-depth info on causes of depression here.

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Another cause for a dip in your mood is not getting enough exercise. I can absolutely confirm that this has been enormous for me. If I'm not at least getting some amount of exercise on a regular basis, I can FEEL it. The good news is, there seems to be a corresponding counter-effect. The irony is when we're feeling down, taking a simple 20-minute walk sounds like exactly what we don't want to do.

However it was a beautiful day, and despite my internal resistance, I flung on my walking shoes, grabbed my ear buds and phone, and out the door I went. (After putting on sunscreen--don't forget that.) It took about seven minutes before I started to feel my mood lighten. Seriously, it doesn't take long. It's like some kind of endorphin-infused magic, I tell you. The combination of sunshine, music, and movement came together and before long I was sincerely smiling. I felt so much better, my initial plan to walk for twenty minutes evolved into a sixty-minute walk/RUN.

When I returned home, I had much more energy and whatever it was that had caused me to feel blue had dissipated. Frankly, I can't even remember exactly what it was. The uplift in mood and energy even inspired me to make a much healthier dinner choice.

So, I'm not sharing this with you for a virtual *high five* although I'll take one. ;) Rather, I want to encourage YOU. I *totally* get how difficult it can be to make yourself get moving when you'd really like to lay as still as possible and binge-watch something you can zone out to for twelve hours, whilst inhaling your junk food of choice. (There's a time for that, too, though.) I want you to know that the difference between feeling blue and having a renewed sense of "everything's gonna be okay" may literally only be a 20-minute walk.

Check out some of the many benefits of walking regularly here.

Disclaimer: We are not medical doctors. If you have been diagnosed with depression, please take your prescribed medications and see your medical professional to make sure you're taking care of yourself properly. 

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