Even though it may not seem like a big deal normally, getting out of bed when you have depression is a daunting and monuments task. When you actually make it out of bed AND shower, well, you feel you should get a huge standing ovation because it took real strength to get that far in your day. Take it from me, I know.
As you well know though, there are never literal standing ovations waiting for us after we conquer a task. However, I believe that there are metaphorical standing ovations we can enjoy while struggling with depression.
While I read through post after post, blog after blog, about recommendations to help get me up and doing at least something, none really seemed to stick out as being particularly rewarding. Now I know we aren’t little animals wishing for a treat after doing a trick, but we are human beings who need to feel a sense of worth and accomplishment, especially when dealing with depression.
Here are five things I’ve found that help me get out of bed, be productive, feel better about myself, or find rewarding when I’m dealing with depression.
1. Make your bed
Yeah, yeah. You can probably hear your Mom’s voice telling you to get your little self back in that room to make that bed of yours. Well, once again your Mom is right!
I found that making my bed not only got me out of bed but helped me accomplish something at the start of my day.
Step 1: Get out of your bed. (Great job!)
Step 2: Neatly make your bed. If you are new to this bed making business, look for some tutorials on YouTube that can help you become a bed making master.
Step 3: Look at your great job! And if it wasn’t so great, you’ll get to give it another go tomorrow. Today already you got something done and you haven’t even strayed more than three feet from your bed!
Step 4: Enjoy your made bed from a respectable distance, until it is actually bedtime. As tempting as it may be don’t let the siren sheets pull you back in!
Getting something done, and making a little part of my life look well put together helped me to feel a sense of accomplishment. I think to myself, “if I could make my bed, what else could I do?”
2. Be somewhere in your home where other people are or will come through
To be honest, this one was a hard one for me to recognize as something that would help, and was (and sometimes still is) difficult to actually put into motion. If you made that bed of yours then this suggestion will be easier to tackle.
I think this idea helps because it forces you in a way to get out of your little (or big depending on the day) depression bubble and be influenced by others.
The majority of the time the people you are surrounded by are more than willing to help you in any way then can. Even if that means all they do is smile and say hi as they pass by or sit in the same room with you and occasionally make small talk. This interaction helps poke a hole in your bubble where you can get some fresh, depression free air.
If it works well for you, head out of the house or apartment to a favorite place or a public place where you can enjoy and view your surroundings. Even if you don’t have a lot of one on one contact with people, the surroundings still help poke that hole we talked about.
3. Pick a small area to clean, organize, or rearrange
This idea ties back to the making the bed idea in some ways. As I said before, getting something done, and making a little part of my life look well put together helped me to feel a sense of accomplishment. Plus it makes where I live a little more… livable!
Clutter, mess, and dirtiness helps fuel the depression (at least for me). So taking TINY steps to clean up helps tremendously.
Step 1: DO NOT look at everything you have to do and start feeling overwhelmed. But if you do feel overwhelmed, that’s okay! You don’t have to do it all, just make a dent. And that dent, believe me will make a difference.
Step 2: Find one small thing you can do such as:
- clear the table
- declutter your nightstand
- reorganize a single drawer
- wash or put away five dishes
- wipe down one cabinet
- arrange your fruit in a bowl
- put away five pieces of clothing
- round up all the trash in one room
- take out the trash
- delete five unneeded emails from your inbox
- wipe down your mirror
- go through your apps and get rid of ones you don’t use
Step 3: After finishing the task make sure that you take the time to look at and appreciate what you’ve done! Think about what you’ve accomplished and how it effects other things in your life positively.
4. Set a daily steps goal
Many phones now have apps and features that track your daily steps. If you don’t have a phone with this option you could always use a pedometer easily found online and priced between $8 and $25. And of course if you have anything like a Fitbit that will work too.
When giving this a go for the first few times I didn’t set any goals, since I was worried about not feeling up to reaching them. Instead I started out by looking at how many steps I took and thought about them in a positive light.
Such as, “I took 1897 steps today! That’s pretty good, and much better then not getting out of bed and taking zero steps.”
As I got better at taking steps and seeing it as something I could accomplish, not something I had to accomplish, then I started setting goals. Start small and slowly.
5. Turn the lights on, open the windows, or go somewhere sunny
I don’t know about you but when I’m feeling the heavy effects of depression, darkness in most cases makes me feel more hopeless. At least getting up and turning the lights on, or opening the curtains can make a big difference.
When I’m really struggling with getting out of bed I ask my husband to open up our black out curtains when he gets up. This not only helps me wake up but get up feeling less blue. If you have roommates ask if they could do something similar for you. Or if you live alone get a lamp right by your bed and make it a habit of turning it on when your alarm goes off the first time. (I believe in you!)
Sunlight has long been salve for depression. Some say it’s the vitamin D, while others say it’s the full spectrum light, but for whatever reason natural sunlight helps. However in the winter months it is especially hard to get out in the sunlight if you live in a place that isn’t temperate all year round. Many suggest getting full spectrum light bulbs and replacing or adding them into your house or apartment if you suffer with depression.
I know it is hard to get up and out, but if you make it you won’t regret it!
There you have it! My five tips for getting out of bed when you have depression. While I know that depression is a very difficult thing to deal with, I do know that things will get better.
To end with I’d like to share one of my favorite quotes.
This quote has helped me so much. When I feel like quitting or when the going gets rough I remember to read this quote.
Thanks for reading, and remember that I believe in you! You can do this! Don’t give up!
All my love,