Depression: How to Get Out of Bed on the Days You Feel You Just Can't

There’s a reason I’m writing my first post today at 2 p.m. I couldn’t get out of bed this morning. I don’t mean the feeling you get after you fall asleep too late, or partied too hard. Having bipolar disorder, there are days it feels physically impossible to keep your eyes open long enough to get your brain to communicate with your body to get up. So on days like today, I have to work extra hard to get moving. Here are some tips to get yourself out of bed on those days it’s harder than usual:

While You’re Still In Bed

Don’t worry about keeping your eyes open for long periods of time. For me, the strain of forcing my eyes open actually makes me sleepier. While you’re laying there, start wiggling your toes and fingers. Then start pumping your legs and arms. Stretch by reaching your limbs to the corners of the bed. Then slowly flip over into a crouching position. Allow yourself to remain in that position and arch your back, feeling the tingle of energy shoot through your body. Use this momentum and step out of bed.

Immediately After Getting Out of Bed

Drink something hot. I prefer coffee, but for those who forgo it, there are several other options and could be as simple as a lemon and honey tea. You just want to get your metabolism going. If you can, stand while you enjoy your hot drink, even if you have to lean on something. Immediately after (it’s important to maintain your momentum), jump in the shower. This is the hardest part for me. The idea of getting in the shower and completing an entire bathing routine can be daunting on days like today. So what I do is I don’t put any expectations on myself. I simply focus on how good the warm water will feel. Some days, I’m able to wash and rinse appropriately. Others, I just stand there. Do what feels good for your body and mind on that particular day. Don’t worry about getting super clean; that’s not the objective today.

Throughout the Morning

The worst thing you could do is lie on the couch following your shower. The warmth of the water could easily lull you into a nice nap. If you’re brave, I recommend shocking yourself with a cold rinse in the shower right before jumping out. If this is not your style — it isn’t mine — an ice cold drink of water and a cool apple will work just as well.

The important thing is to keep yourself stimulated. Fine motor skills such as writing, knitting, sewing etc. require you to really focus and are more likely to keep you awake. Try to stay away from technology; the glare of the screen will quickly tire your eyes and make you feel drowsy.

Lastly, have some breakfast. If you’re like me, my body is too sleepy in the mornings to even think of having a meal. But after having kick-started your metabolism with the hot and then the cold drink, you’re going to need something to keep you going.

The important thing is to listen to your body. While you do want to push yourself to get out of bed if possible, there will be some days you need to just give yourself what you need and sleep it off. No one can make that decision better than you. However, if you’re noticing a consistent streak of difficult mornings, I suggest speaking to a doctor.

Follow this journey on the author’s blog.

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