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7 Tips for Getting Yourself the Hell Out of Bed When You're Depressed

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 I’m in a situation I’m sure a lot of people with depression, anxiety or any other form of mental and chronic illness can understand — I’ve spent the last month laying in my bed. While it’s not because I was too depressed to get up, (well, on some days that was the case) it was mostly because of the after affects of a depressive episode.

I wasn’t really staying in bed because I was too sad to do anything, but because I had gotten so used to not doing anything that my mind and body had become “lazy.” This, of course, brought shame, guilt, regret, self-hatred and a messy as hell house. I became so overwhelmed by all of this it made it almost impossible to get out of bed.

I felt like there was no use trying because I’ve tried literally everything I could think of before and yet, I still found myself in this position. I grew frustrated, wanting to yell out in public at times. I just wanted someone — anyone — to give me some damn advice I hadn’t heard before.

So, for those of you feeling the same way, I wanted to share with you what I’ve been doing to help myself this last week. It’s by no means a “cure-all” but it’s possible there’s something in this list you haven’t tried just yet.

Here are my tips for getting myself the hell out of bed:

1. Set a plan.

For me, my plan started off as doing a bunch of things. Over a few days of most of these things not happening, I realized these are things I would do if I were feeling better. I had to be honest with myself — I’m not yet better. No matter how much I want to be. 

Add to your plan at your own pace. You could add one thing daily, or one thing weekly. It doesn’t matter how long you take, it matters that you’re making progress. 

2. Start small.

My suggestion is to start small. Don’t overdo it because then when you look at all the things you haven’t yet been able to do, you’ll feel discouraged. While I’m stuck in bed, I don’t do a damn thing but sleep. So, maybe you can start by watching Netflix in bed or browsing Facebook in bed. Then, you can move to things like drawing in bed or writing in bed. You don’t have to leave the bed right away, the point is to get you to start doing something.

3. Get the hell out.

When you’re ready, get the hell out of bed. I know a few months ago, I was stuck on my patio instead of my bed. The weather was nice and I could smoke cigarettes out there. When I was ready for a change, I started by just moving my seat on the patio from one side to the other. You could start by getting out of bed and maybe sitting on your couch, sitting at the kitchen table or sitting outside. 

4. Breathe in some fresh air.

I highly recommend spending some time outside if possible. I live in Arizona and this week it’s going to reach 120 degrees. So, I understand not being able to go outside. What I do is I make sure I’m up to enjoy the mornings, and then I go back outside in the evenings. Usually, I just sit outside with some coffee or a Gatorade and browse social media or write.

5. Socialize.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve had experience with isolating yourself. And that doesn’t help matters much. So, when you’re ready to go back into the world, do something that involves talking to other people. Now, I’ll be honest, you may experience some pretty bad anxiety when starting this. I know I did, but I pushed through it. It’s OK if you can’t push through it, try again the next day.

I went out to a coffee shop that feels like home — I know almost everyone there. Or, the people at least look familiar. Even in a safe place, I felt extreme anxiety. I stayed for as long as I could and then I went home and hid in my bed. I tried, and that’s something to be proud of. 

6. Work on something.

Maybe you’re like me and you chose to go to a coffee shop for your socializing. I like it because I only have to talk to the cute barista and then I can sit in silence for a while and still be around people. When you’re there, why not work on something. Create something. Set a goal and work towards that. My goals are to write a blog post each day, draw something about my day and to work on my book.

7. Research.

If you’re really struggling, try researching your illness. Get a book on it, read blog posts on it, learn about ways to cope and ways others have made it through. You got this.

I hope that someone benefits from this. Anyone. We all deserve to be a part of our own lives.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via G_.

Originally published: July 5, 2017
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