As someone who coexists with clinical depression on top of other cognitive disabilities, I know better than to judge anyone who cannot get out of bed.
Difficult Life Lessons
When my father died, my husband catered to my every need and the kids. It’s the first time that I couldn’t get out of bed, with the exception of substance abuse withdrawals during active addiction.
It’s something that one can never fully understand until living through it. My mind nags me to get up. I logically know things like showering and brushing my teeth are critical for maintaining physical health. But mental oppression keeps me planted in the bed.
So, I sought ways to help motivate me to get up for myself and my family. Of course, depression isn’t the only thing that makes it difficult to get out of bed. Sometimes it is as simple as early mornings suck!
Nonethless, here are a handful of things to try if you can relate to not being able to get out of your bed. I hope you find one (or more) that helps.
The most effective strategy in my life is prayer. Being able to reflect on things the Lord put on my heart or the blessings God answered my prayers with makes prayer journaling my favorite means of communication.
You can say prayers throughout the day. Varying from a sentence request like “God. I’m grateful for (whatever that is for you). Please motivate me to get out of bed today and enjoy life as a blessing” to making small talk in the car or at the sink doing dishes.
2. Turn On Your Happy Music
Some songs are instant mood brighteners. But song choice depends on personal tastes. What songs can you not help but move your body to? What songs make you smile — laugh even? Perhaps one with a joyous memory attached? Start your day waking up to them.
3. Put Your Feet on the Floor
Put your feet on the floor. This may sound ridiculous, but it’s a tried and true method that works for some people.
After your alarm sounds, place your feet on the floor. One foot at a time. Sit with yourself for a moment and then rise to the occasion. Say something that rewards you by tickling your dopamine center.
For instance, “I’m incredible.” Or, “Look at you getting out of bed today (your name). Let’s get it.” Those are motivators for me. At first, an awkwardness follows.
But with practice, it grows into a happily-forced smile first thing in the morning. Condition yourself to believe those things. What do your motivators sound like?
4. Go to Bed When You’re Tired
Many people struggle to get out of bed because they don’t go to bed when they feel tired. Instead, they are getting one more episode that turns into three — or mindlessly scrolling social media and short-content videos.
5. Put Your Phone Outside Your Bedroom
Are you aware that smartphones emit harmful radiation that can disrupt self-regulatory processes, including our biological clock and heart rhythm? This can create sleep difficulties and induce nightmares. It also increases your risk of developing cancer.
Have a designated phone spot in your home and assign a time to place it there for the night. The time away from your phone will help you sleep earlier and more quickly than taking it into the room with you and scrolling.
6. Challenges Alarm Clock
Did you know there is an app called — Challenges Alarm Clock? It’s an alarm that requires you to do challenges to stop it. For example, you may need to solve a math equation, play a memory or sequence game, or take a picture of something like a toothbrush or spoon. It forces alertness and maybe even laughs.
7. Make Mornings Enjoyable
I’ve never been a morning person. From hitting the snooze multiple times to waiting until the last minute to jump in the shower, I’ve struggled to get up in the mornings. A lifetime of working swing and night shifts may add to that. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Find something to spark joy in your morning. Whether it’s mastering the art of espresso with an at-home machine, morning yoga, a walk or jog outdoors, or starting your day in God’s word, what does morning joy look like to you?
8. Create a Morning Checklist
Checking things from a to-do list starts your day with a sense of accomplishment. Make the first bullet on your list: “Get out of bed,” and smile when you check it off each morning.
You can create this list in a few ways, including pen and paper or a whiteboard. A colorful way is with post-its and a whiteboard. Do what is going to work for you.
9. Adopt a Fur Baby
This advice is not for everyone. If you have never owned a pet, it’s something to research before committing. Don’t do it if you know you won’t get out of bed to properly care for the animal.
Caring for dogs and cats is a beautiful thing. Cats are easier because you need to walk dogs. If you feed your cat at the same time every morning, they will get you up. Problem solved. Similarly, a dog needs to do its business outside and will ensure you’re up to take them out.
10. Get a Sunrise Alarm Clock
Don’t use your cell phone as an alarm clock. A sunrise alarm clock gradually wakes you up with a light that brightens (usually 10%) until it hits 100% (30 minutes) before the alarm goes off.
The sound isn’t an obnoxious jerk, you awake sound. It soothes your eyes open. I know some people have luck with the loud, annoying sounds, but who wants to be scared awake every morning? That’s not a fun way to start the day.
Keep your alarm clock on the other side of the bedroom so that you need to get out of bed to turn it off.
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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.