Living with depression is hard, regardless of your symptoms. Sometimes, just getting out of bed is a real struggle.
When I suffered from depression, I struggled to get through the day. But sometimes, the hardest thing was actually getting up in the first place.
Here are some strategies to help you get yourself out of bed.
A Morning Routine You Look Forward To
Many people get stuck in a rut in the mornings. They have to drag themselves out of bed to go to work.
But you can turn this around and make your mornings something to look forward to. All you have to do is create a morning routine you actually look forward to. Luckily, this is not hard.
1. Start Slowly – Sit Up
Start with something simple and easy. Just sit up in bed. Make sure you are comfortable, using pillows or whatever. Sometimes, just the act of sitting up can help prepare your mind for getting up and starting your day.
2. Start Thinking About Food
Thinking about food, or even just a cup of coffee, can help encourage you to get up. And if your stomach starts rumbling, you’ll be even more motivated.
Of course, this won’t always work. For example, if you’ve lost your appetite because of your depression. Still, it’s worth a try.
3. Have An “Attitude of Gratitude”
Reflecting on things you are grateful for can really help your depression. Try this first thing in the morning. It’ll help you start your day on a positive note.
Make a list of things you have to be grateful for. For example, owning a pet or being physically fit are both good reasons to be grateful. Then read through them when you first wake up.
Pets can help motivate you to get up in the morning. It might be because you need to take care of them (feeding & walking). Or maybe just spending time with them (cuddling & playing). This can really lift your mood and get you off to a good start.
5. Ease Into Your Routine
When you wake up, don’t rush to get up and ready. This takes all the pleasure out of your morning routine.
Instead, try starting your day with a small, enjoyable ritual. Anything that doesn’t take long, and helps you feel more positive, awake and calm.
Some good examples:
- make a brew and sit outside for 10 minutes
- do some gentle yoga stretches
- practice meditation
- have breakfast while listening to music
Try looking at mornings in a more positive light. Don’t just think of it as a time when you have to get up and do things you don’t like.
You’ll start to enjoy your morning routine, and get your day off to a good start. This will make it easier to get through the rest of the day. And it’s just one more thing you can do to help manage your depression.
Ask For Help
If you really struggle to get out of bed in the morning, try asking for help.
If you live with someone, ask them to wake you. Maybe get them to sit with you for a short while. Even just having coffee together can help.
You could ask a close friend or relative to give you an “alarm call”. Answering the call, and talking to someone who cares, will put you in a better mood. You’ll feel more like getting up, and you’ll feel better about the day ahead.
Your Current Plan
If you really struggle to get out of bed, you might need to change your treatment plan. A doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist can help with medications, helpful techniques and alternative therapies.
Maybe your medication is causing you to feel sleepy in the morning. If you take medication with a sedative effect, only take it at night before bed. Likewise, if you are on medication that is activating, you should take it first thing in the morning. Regardless, speak to your doctor or psychiatrist before making any changes.
Bright light therapy (white light therapy) is often recommended for people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Sometimes it’s also recommended for people with other types of nonseasonal depression. It can benefit people with depression by helping reduce their symptoms.
The typical recommendations for seasonal depression:
- 10,000 lux light box
- 16 to 24 inches from your face
- use daily for about 20 to 30 minutes – preferably first thing in the morning
You can use a light box in bed, so you won’t have to get up immediately. You can check your phone, or make a brew and go back to bed while you soak up the rays. By the time it’s over, you’ll be ready to get up and get going.
You can easily find a light box online.
Take The Day Off (Sometimes)
There may be days when you just can’t face getting up. You may feel so overwhelmed by depression that it’s just too much. Don’t worry, it’s okay to feel like that occasionally.
Take the day off, just as if you had the flu. Don’t feel guilty about it. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
I’ve shared 5 strategies for tackling morning depression, and getting yourself out of bed:
- A Morning Routine You Look Forward To
- Ask For Help
- Your Treatment Plan
- Light Therapy
- Take The Day Off (Sometimes)
These strategies can really help you tackle morning depression. Not only will they help you cope better, they’ll really help get your day off to a good start.
Start incorporating these strategies into your morning schedule. Pick just one to begin with, and put it into practice. Start tomorrow morning, as soon as you wake up . . .