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What To Do If Depression Is Making It Tough To Get Out Of Bed

There are lots of reasons why you might find yourself not wanting to get out of bed. You might just feel like you didn’t get enough sleep, or you’re stressed, or feeling a little anxious – and that makes catching a few extra Z’s that much more tempting. But what if it’s not just insomnia, stress, or anxiety that makes you want to stay in bed all day?

Depression can be even more of a reason to want to stay under the covers. If you think it might be depression that keeps you habitually reaching for the snooze button, here are some tips that can make it a little bit easier to get out of bed in the morning…

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Fill Your Calendar

Having a planned event – something as simple as a family meal, or a trip to the movies – can have a positive effect on your mood, especially if you’ve been dealing with depression. Special events give you something to get out of bed for and banish some of the day-to-day negativity.

Don’t feel like you need to fill every single day with an activity, though. Time to rest between events can help you recharge your social batteries, and be ready for the next one.

Focus On Success

If you’re like most people, you can probably recall a time when you felt really successful and proud of yourself. Maybe you got a raise at work, aced a test, or even made the perfect soufflé.

No matter what it is, focusing on a positive moment that made you feel really good about yourself can go a long way to helping you take control of your mood. Tapping into that feel-good moment might even help you get out of bed.

Get An Accountability Partner

If you find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning, consider recruiting a friend or family member to be your accountability partner. Being accountable to someone else can be an excellent motivator to get up, if only so you can tell them that you did.

You can set goals with your accountability partner for just about anything:

  • Exercising first thing in the morning
  • Carpooling to work
  • Meeting for coffee once a week
  • A daily phone call to check in and talk about the day

Having a close friend or family member involved in your daily life in this way can also help you battle the feeling of isolation that so often comes with depression.

Photo: Creative Commons/Garden State Hiker

Make Time To Go Outside

You’ve probably heard that being outside in the fresh air and sunshine can improve your mood, right? Many studies suggest that getting outside and exposing yourself to green spaces and sunlight can reduce mental fatigue and stress.

A person should plan to spend at least a little bit of each day walking, reading a book, or doing another activity outside.

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Make Your Room Brighter

It’s true: cutting down on ambient light is a tried and true way to help you fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer. But, if you’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning, waking up to a dark, cave-like space might be the opposite of what you need.

If this sounds like you, try opening the curtains once your alarm goes off. You can even install a timer for your lights, or invest in a wake-up sunrise clock that gradually lights up your room for a gentle awakening.

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Focus On What Makes You Feel Well

Just like thinking about a cherished event or success can help lift your mood, focusing on the simple, day-to-day things that make you happy can also help motivate you to get out of bed.

  • Make your favorite breakfast
  • Plan a lunch with your best friend
  • Hike your favorite trails

Whatever makes you not only feel good about yourself but feel good physically is a great motivator to help you get up in the morning.

Break Your Goals Down Into Small Steps

Sometimes, your big-picture goals can really start to weigh you down, especially if there’s a deadline hanging over your head. You’re supposed to have it all done at once, right? But, what if you flipped the script?

Instead of focusing your energy on completing the entire goal at once, shift that focus onto the next small steps towards accomplishing your goal. If your goal is to simply get out of bed, break it down into smaller steps:

  • Use the bathroom
  • Get dressed
  • Make breakfast
  • Brush your teeth

Truly any goal can be broken down into bite-sized steps that keep you on the path toward completing everything on your to-do list. Plus, it’s great motivation to keep going and move on to the next goal.

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Play Some Music

Research has shown that listening to music every day can significantly improve your mood and alter your feelings.

If you use music to help you meditate, you’re likely to find that the music, itself, helps you relax or fall asleep. because you now associate it with meditation and a sense of calm. Alternately, the music that you listen to at the gym can also help you feel more “pumped up” during the day, and might be just the thing you need to get you out of bed.

Photo: Creative Commons/Miikka S

Spend Time With Your Pet

You know that warm, fuzzy, safe feeling you get when you’re cuddling with your pet? Well, there’s real science to back up those fuzzy feelings. Studies have shown that when you interact with your pet – dogs, in particular – it can help reduce feelings of loneliness, stress, and anxiety.

Having a dog can also encourage you to be more active, too. Fluffy does need a daily walk, after all.

If you don’t already have a pet, though, it’s important to remember that they can require a great deal of care. So, before you commit, do a self-assessment to make sure that’s a responsibility you’re interested in taking on.

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Don’t Stress About Day-To-Day Tasks

Listen, finding your way out of the fog of depression can take time. And when your life is piled high with to-do lists, you can quickly get overwhelmed – especially first thing in the morning. While easier said than done, remembering to be kind to yourself and not stressing about getting everything done can significantly ease the burden.

Tomorrow is a new day with endless possibilities. Instead of focusing on trying to get everything done immediately, focus on the little steps you can take towards whittling down those to-do lists without totally overwhelming yourself.

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When Is It Time To See A Doctor?

Having days when you just don’t want to get up is totally normal. You might just be feeling stressed or anxious. In most cases, these feelings will pass in a few days, and you’ll be ready to get back to it. But, if you’re finding that these feelings linger, and you’re noticing symptoms of depression, it might be time to seek help.

Schedule an appointment with your therapist, counselor, or healthcare provider and start the conversation. They’re all there to help you feel better, and can recommend more strategies to help you navigate the murky waters of depression.