It’s normal to occasionally feel overwhelmed, stressed, and down. Everyone feels blue and in a low mood to some extent at some point in their life. What’s not normal, however, is experiencing what feels like can’t get out of bed depression for a long period of time. This is a mental health problem that can affect your ability to take on the day. If you’re in that place right now and experiencing this type of depression, we’ve got some tips to help. 

Depression can make the most basic, everyday tasks feel virtually impossible. If your morning depression is making everything from showering regularly to getting dressed in the mornings more difficult, you should know: you don’t have to be depressed in bed today

Read on to learn more about how to get out of bed when depressed and miserable. These tips can be helpful in moving ahead and trying to manage your depression.

1. Light Therapy

Research shows that light actually can help improve our mood. Light therapy has proven effective in treating depression symptoms, which is known to affect circadian rhythms and sleep cycles. 

“Light therapy is an incredibly effective tool for individuals struggling with depression. The amount of comfort and energy sunlight affords us is huge. Light exposure boxes are great in allowing this to occur but nothing beats the power of the sun.”

Talkspace therapist Minkyung Chung, MS, LMHC

You don’t even need a light box or any fancy, expensive equipment to see the positive effects light can have in helping you get out of bed every day. Even just opening the blinds to let natural light in might be just what you need to help you get up and out of bed today.

2. Establish A Morning Routine You Enjoy

From our sleep habits to work life, we naturally thrive on schedules. If you’re constantly feeling like you must drag yourself out of bed every day, that mental mindset might be contributing to why it’s so hard to get up in the first place. These negative thoughts can hold you back immensely and, in some cases, make your depressive symptoms worse.Instead of focusing on those negative thoughts, which can ultimately lead to a stressed and rushed morning where you’re constantly feeling behind, try creating a routine that you can find joy in.Whether it’s meditating in the morning, doing a quick 10-minute stretch, making a fun breakfast, getting outside for a walk, or even getting a full 30-to-60 minute cardio workout in, giving yourself something you enjoy to look forward to might make it easier for you to begin your day. 

3. Find A Reason to Get Out of Bed

If routines you enjoy can help motivate you, finding a fun or exciting reason to get out of bed in the morning might help even more. Maybe it’s a special breakfast or treating yourself to a fancy cup of coffee on the way into the office. 

Giving yourself a reason to get up is always a good motivator. Positive reinforcement can be a great influencer and help you break the hold that I can’t get out of bed depression has on you. 

4. Start Your Day with Baby Steps

If just the thought of swinging your legs over the edge of the bed feels overwhelming, keep in mind that you don’t have to take on the whole world at once. Take baby steps. Be kind to yourself and have a plan with small, attainable, achievable tasks that are easy for you to take on, one at a time. Think in terms of 1-foot-in-front-of-the-other. This can be a great mindset if you’re trying to overcome feeling depressed in bed.Start with something as small as getting a glass of water. Know that you’ll have a light breakfast just after that. Then move on to brushing your hair and teeth. Getting dressed might be after that. Keep moving forward with these small, isolated tasks, one after the other, until your morning routine is complete and you’re ready to take on your day.

“Even the smallest of acts can be a massive struggle but trying to do something you would already do is starting the day. It may not be precisely in the morning but doing something is starting down the path. Including our basic needs into the small steps counts.”

Talkspace therapist Minkyung Chung, MS, LMHC

5. Let Your Appetite Draw You Out of Bed

Our bodies have a way of telling us it’s time to move forward. If you’re hungry, or if you really enjoy that 1st cup of coffee every morning, you might be tempted enough to actually get out of bed. The idea of a tasty breakfast might just spark your appetite. You might even discover that it’s a blueberry muffin and a glass of orange juice every morning that encourages you to get out of bed despite feeling depressed.

6. Set More Than One Alarm

If the temptation to turn off your alarm and go back to sleep feels so strong that you can never get up the first time, consider setting more than one alarm, 5 to 10 minutes apart. You might need to set your first alarm earlier to allow for multiple alarms without you being late, but that can be easy to fix. 

7. Make (and Stick To) A Schedule

When you don’t have a schedule in place, you might feel like you need to make constant decisions about every little thing. Creating and sticking to a schedule can take the stress out of your mornings. Having set times to start and end tasks can be very helpful in reducing some of the morning dread you might be feeling. Additionally, depression is known to have a significant impact on how well you can make decisions. Having that schedule set can help eliminate some of the decisions you need to make — from what to wear, to what to eat, and more. 

8. Plan for the Occasional Day in Bed

We all have bad days from time to time. Some days can be worse than others. Plan ahead for the times you just can’t find it in yourself to jump out of bed and take on the world. It might be something as simple as throwing on some comfy clothes, having a special treat in the freezer for breakfast, or maybe even keeping face masks, lotions, or other at-home spa treatments readily available for those extra difficult days. 

9. Reach Out for Help

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might just feel too depressed to get out of bed. You should know that it’s OK if this happens. Recognizing the fact that your depression is getting worse, or that you’re no longer able to manage it on your own, is a huge step. If you’re starting to feel like the number of days your depression is making it hard to get out of bed is increasing, it might be time for you to reach out for help.

If you’re starting to feel like the number of days your depression is making it hard to get out of bed is increasing, it might be time for you to reach out for help.

You can talk to a friend, your partner, or even a doctor or online therapist to ask for help. You might even find that just verbalizing how you’re feeling can be empowering. At the very least, you might be surprised to learn that you’re not the only one who feels like they can’t get out of bed because of depression. Sometimes knowing that you’re not alone in how you feel, and that others are experiencing something similar, can be helpful.

10. Talk to A Mental Health Professional About Your Depression Treatment

Don’t let your depression go on so long that it becomes debilitating. If you’ve tried all the tips we’ve given here today and you’ve talked to a friend or loved one about how you’re feeling, you should be proud. However, if you still can’t seem to shake your depression, and being depressed in bed is becoming something that interferes with your daily life, you should consider talking to a mental health professional.

A doctor or therapist can help you come up with a new depression treatment plan or adjust your current one to help you manage depression. Make sure that you’re communicating with them so they know how severe your depression has become. They can help you better understand what type of depression you’re dealing with or if other mental health conditions are affecting your energy levels. 

It might be something as simple as adjusting the dosage or type of medication for depression you’re on, or it could also be a matter of finding the right combination of therapy and medication.

11. Let Yourself Have a Mental Health Day & Stay In Bed

Remember that you don’t always have to be 100% on point. Maybe you need that mental health day today. Maybe staying in bed and watching a movie, or reading, or catching up on emails and working from bed is exactly what your body and mind have been craving. Sometimes you just need to make self care a priority, and that’s OK. 

We often convince ourselves that persevering is the most important thing, but sometimes it’s important to acknowledge the importance of taking care of our most basic needs, like rest and relaxation. 

“Pushing ourselves constantly when struggling with depression takes its toll on us. Ensuring some sort of self care day is important. This may be the day you allow yourself to stay in bed or just stay in your PJs and lounge.”

Talkspace therapist Minkyung Chung, MS, LMHC

This essential part of self care is just as important as knowing how to get out of bed when depressed. In fact, it might be the best thing you can do, so tomorrow you can get out of bed just a little bit easier.