One of the most difficult things when you’re depressed is getting out of bed. It’s often early in the morning that facing they day just seems too much. Everything seems too difficult, on top of this your mind doesn’t want to be faced with more decisions as it’s already tired and stressed. Everything seems unbearable and unmanageable. This article is written from my own personal experience and also working with depressed populations for nearly a decade:
Why can’t I get out of bed in the morning?
- Depressed people do not sleep well. They often have nightmares reflecting subconscious or conscious fears. REM deep sleep is not common depressed people often wake up feeling awful. Frequent complaints include waking up with headaches, jaw pain, not feeling refreshed and energised.
- Depressed people often have poor sleep hygiene. This vastly contributes to the previous point. Read our post about sleep hygiene here. Finding it hard to switch off is a function of having an over-active mind in an under active body. When most people are naturally tired from the day’s activity, a depressed mind seems alive with ideas, projects and interests.
- People often believe that they will not be able to cope with the needs and demands of the day. They don’t want to face people and feel continual dejection and pain
- Depressed people find it really hard to get motivated and get going. Being in a mental fog significantly impairs decision making and planning. Planning a day and doing simple things in a straightforward manner is more difficult and requires time and effort to think.
- Depressed people simply don’t want to get up as they believe there is nothing to get up for. Nothing is motivating them to move.
How to improve this area of your life
- Work on sleep hygiene and normalise your circadian rhythms. This takes some time and persistence but it definitely pays off. Sleep disturbance is a big problem in mental health.
- Exercise, exercise and exercise. If possible exercise in the morning. It will increase your energy for the day and also get you ready to be tired at night.
- Realise that people who get things done are early risers. There’s less of the day to worry. Getting stuck into activities when it is still quiet is an excellent way to establish a good pace during the day.
- Try and get into an activity straight away to avoid thinking to much. You really want to be out of bed as soon as possible. More time to think and ponder is dangerous and often leads to nothing. Part of good sleep hygiene is avoiding spending too much time in bed.
- Get into positive devotional reading. Read positive quotes and motivational stories. If you are Christian use daily readings, if you are in a 12 step program like AA or NA find their daily reading books and read these when you get up. It doesn’t have to be long but start the day with some positive encouragement and wisdom.
- Do something nice for your partner or spouse. If you live with a partner or spouse, go out of your way to show them love. Take the focus off yourself. Doing these things is called decentralising and they help with recovery immensely.
- Use CBT. The one sentence I love is, “I can compel my muscles and limbs to move in spite of my feelings”. Listen to our podcast about How CBT Beats depression for more information about this.
We hope this list helps. We know it’s not easy and there will be days in which nothing seems able to help you haul yourself out of bed. On some days, like weekends, allow yourself to sleep in and reward yourself from time to time. Getting support and ensuring you have friends and families you can call in will also help you immeasurably too.
Don’t give up. We believe in you and want you to beat depression!
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