When you live with depression, sometimes starting the morning can be the hardest part of your day. When you’re fighting the fatigue, ruminating thoughts and feelings of hopelessness characteristic of depression, getting out of bed can be a real struggle.
So how can you fight the debilitating weight of depression when every morning it makes you want to retreat under the covers? Is it possible to get out of bed on days when it feels impossible?
We wanted to learn some tips for getting up when you’re struggling with depression, so we asked our mental health community to share one thing they do first thing in the morning to get themselves out of bed.
But you may not be able to get out of bed sometimes — and that’s perfectly OK, too. If nothing works, don’t be hard on yourself, and keep these tips in your back pocket for next time.
Here’s what they shared with us:
1. “[I] break it down into small increments. Starting the day can be overwhelming. I tell myself, ‘All you have to do is sit up.’ When that is done, ‘OK. Good. Now, just got to bathroom and brush your teeth.’ Breaking the whole getting ready routine into small, seemingly manageable chunks helps [so] much.” — Karen P.
2. “My kids jump on my bed first thing in the morning [and] tell me, ‘It’s wake up time, Mommy! It’s time to eat! Come on Mommy, I love you!’ Their smiles and laughter [are what] motivate me to get up. All four of them.” —Courtney N.
3. “I set my alarm to a song by Ed Sheeran, one of my favorite music artists. Hearing something I enjoy first thing in the morning helps to try to set my mind in a good place to get moving.” — Diedra S.
4. “I immediately go on my phone and talk to people. That usually gives me the energy I need to get out of bed. It’s still really difficult some days though.” — Dannii Y.
5. “I read a daily devotional, wake up to my favorite song and in my head, go though what I need to do. That helps me to prove to myself that I need to get out of bed to complete my to do list.” — Kaity J.
6. “[I] have my dog jump up (if he is not already there) and get hugs, kisses [and] wags. It reminds at least someone is ‘in my corner’ for today. If he loves me, then that’s a start. If everything goes to hell, I always have him there. [It’s] reassuring.” — Penn C.
7. “I think of at least five reasons why I should get out of bed. For example this morning’s list was: 1) I’m hungry. 2) I have school work to do. 3) It’s a beautiful day outside. 4) The kids I babysit are looking forward to seeing me. 5) I need to pee. They are small things, most very mundane, but it reminds me I’ll have to get up at some point, so why not right now?” — Elizabeth C.
8. “I’m a teacher [and] the thought that I’m going to affect lives by being there and the sense of responsibility to change the world into a better place, gives me hope to get up and get going.” — Rishika G.
9. “My cat sleeps in my closet on a blanket. I get up and crawl in bed with him and get my morning dose of warmth, love and purrs from him. He’s been the most stable part of my life and has helped me through many internal battles.” — Jessica M.
10. “I use all of my force to get ready and go for a run. While running, I aim to tire myself and enjoy the serenity of my surroundings. I remind myself there’s beauty in life. The day suddenly becomes plausible.” — Frida P.
11. “I set myself six alarms over an hour so I feel like I’ve slept in.” — Ephraim S.
12. “Remind myself I woke up next to the person I love the most which is one of the biggest joys of my life. [It] doesn’t always help the depression, but usually gets me out of the bed.” — Stephanie F.
13. “If I know I’m going to get up and do the most gentle yoga ever, then I feel somewhat inspired to get up. This is not to say ‘yoga is the answer’ to serious depression, but knowing that all I have to do to get out of bed is move to a mat and barely move my body gives me the energy to at least move out of bed. Usually, after the yoga, I feel like I at least took some form of care of myself, and it puts me in the right frame of mind to be optimistic.” — Lacey W.
14. “[I] get myself some coffee and take my time drinking it. It’s just a nice way to start my days, especially when I had a bad night.” — Courtney H.
15. “[I] feed my Guinea pigs. They are quite good at helping me stay in a routine. If they have not been fed by a certain time in the morning, they are at the bottom of the stairs, squeaking me up and out of bed.” — Donna B.
16. “I have an alarm set for around 10:30 a.m. and I try to get up then, the reward being if I do, I get to watch a few episodes of my favorite show and drink coffee and plan out my day as I do before the work starts.” — Anna E.
17. “I get out of bed to make my children breakfast every morning. It’s one of the few things that I know will motivate me to get out of bed.” — Steven M.
18. “I force myself into the shower and allow myself the luxury of a long hot relaxing shower with my favorite shower gel. Makes me feel a little more positive about facing the day.” — Bekah J.
19. “I count to 10. Very slowly, following deep breaths. I used to list 10 things I was grateful for [each] morning, which would become difficult sometimes — [it] would unfortunately jumpstart the downward spiral. So I stopped that, and just stuck to the count. Simple, controllable and if I felt like I needed more time, I’d just start the count again until I felt ready.” — KC C.
20. “If I have something to do that day and I know what time I need to leave, I wait until I absolutely have to get ready to leave on time so that way I’m rushing, and I don’t have time to think about things.” — Lexi L.
21. “Food is a big motivator for me. If I recently bought a breakfast item I enjoy, it can often bring me to get dressed and go to the kitchen and enjoy a sweet or savory breakfast.” — Tiffany P.
22. “I give myself a little pep talk. I tell myself I am worthy of waking up and living through this day and I am worthy of being happy.” — Emally B.
Thinkstock photo via IPGGutenbergUKLtd.