When you are depressed, even waking up and greeting the new day is a small triumph. Depression murders motivation and ambition while you sleep, so even the moment the alarm goes off, you are already exhausted.
Revving yourself up to get out of bed and start moving may seem impossible, but if you follow some guidelines, waking up becomes less of a chore and more enjoyable. It is not going to be a magical experience either. But just remember that once you get out of bed, managing depression is more doable than letting the voices attack you while you are down.
1. Be depressed elsewhere
That is the main thing. Some people get so depressed they become inert. The sun goes up and down, yet they remain in a fixed position. Tell yourself to “show up” for something, whatever it is. Make dates or appointments that you have to keep and just get up.
Whenever depression tries to coax you into dormancy, respond back with, “I might be depressed, but I can still go to the supermarket” or “I am depressed, but my kid needs me to wake them up.” But just like the Law of Inertia, once you are in motion, you can stay in motion.
2. Take it slow
Baby steps here. Never attempt to leap out of bed when you are depressed and try to climb K2. It just will not happen, because your body is functioning at around 15-20% productivity. Instead, set some small, realistic goals for yourself. For example, dust the TV screen. Once you complete the TV screen, you might want to do more.
If you are not up for more, do not force yourself to do more. Switch to another thing, like unloading dish drainer. Do not overwhelm yourself with a complete to-do list. Build yourself up gradually.
3. Love yourself
As you get ready for the day, practice positive self-talk in the mirror. Override the negative voices in your head with nicer thoughts like, “I am actually brushing my teeth today. Go me.” Pat yourself on the back for what you have already completed rather than focusing on the bits and pieces that could potentially upset you. Every time you do something that makes you feel a little triumphant, reward yourself with praise.
4. Be mindful
As soon as you wake up in the morning, take an inventory of how you are feeling. Ask yourself what you can do to relieve some of the anxiety or tension. Whether that method is taking a warm shower or doing an AM yoga sequence for several minutes, realize that anything is better than merely laying there.
As you go through the motions, be aware of the sensations, such as the warmth of your skin, the feeling of the floor against you bare feet, and during the breakfast, single out the textures of your food. The more you think about the world around you, the less you focus on the sadness in yourself.
5. Encourage yourself to be uncomfortable
While the idea of going against what makes you comfortable can provoke anxiety, sometimes doing the exact opposite of what feels right (or what depression is driving you to do) can relieve some of the negative effects. Think of it this way, if you continue to lay in bed, nothing will change.
If you want to change, you have to get moving. Go against the routine. Seek out new things to try, whether it is a new hobby, a new cereal, or even buying new clothes. Then when you do try something adventurous, congratulate yourself for it.
To open your eyes and tell yourself you have a life to live is not simple when depression is looming overhead or clinging to you like a wet sheet.