When you’re suffering from a mental health challenge or struggling with substance abuse, sometimes it’s all you can do to get out of bed. It can be challenging to engage with a world that doesn‘t seem to understand what you’re suffering from or interact with strangers or friends who can’t imagine what you’re going through. It’s days like these that you may be tempted to stay put and disengage from the world. It’s days like these when you draw the curtains of your bedroom, curl up underneath your comforter, and grip your pillow in hopes that, if you close your eyes long enough, the list of daily responsibilities and temptations that thwart your recovery will just disappear. The road to recovery is a long process, and it starts with getting out of bed.
It may be tempting to keep those curtains closed, but studies show that opening curtains and letting sunlight stream into your bedroom awakens the brain and even release feel-good hormones like serotonin. When your brain tells your body it’s awake, it becomes easier for your body to get moving. The light from the window also reminds you that there’s a whole world out there waiting for you. It’s a world of new opportunities and second chances. There are so many beautiful things to enjoy just beyond your bedroom window.
Pull one foot out from beneath the covers and place it on the floor. Then bring the other one down to meet it. Just by standing on your own two feet, you can awaken your body and mind to begin the day. It can also be harder to get back into bed once you are physically outside of it! Putting your feet on the floor prompts your mind that there’s a full day ahead of you. The act of putting your feet on the floor in the morning is a metaphor for the little steps you will later take throughout the day, as well as the mental progressions you take each day to feel a little better.
Think of one positive thing that you get to do if you get out of bed. It could be as simple as that first cup of coffee in the morning or putting on your favorite sweater. It could be playing with your pet, watching your favorite TV show, going to the park, attending a class, or meeting a loved one for breakfast. Imagine yourself participating in that activity, and this will help motivate you to get out of bed. By thinking of something positive you enjoy, it serves as a bribe. Another way to think about it is that if you don’t get out of bed, you don’t get to enjoy the little joys found throughout the day. You can’t enjoy that cup of coffee or tea if you don’t get up to make it. You won’t get to see your pet’s smile or feel your friend’s hug if you stay in bed.
Listening to music or playing a podcast can get you out of bed. There’s something instinctive or primal when you hear music -- it makes you want to move! The rhythm of the music is highly motivating because our bodies were made to move. The sound of voices over a podcast can also be motivating as you listen to other people talk about topics that interest you, engage you, and challenge you. Listening to other people’s voices can also evoke a group mentality, and it may feel like you’re not alone. In a way, the people on the other side of the speaker are with you. You’re all in this together, getting out of bed, moving in the morning.
Some people are highly motivated by scheduled plans or assigned tasks. If you’re one of those people and have trouble getting out of bed, intentionally schedule a meeting for the morning. A meeting can be for professional or personal reasons. Pencil in a meeting for work. Schedule a phone call with an important contact. Coordinate with a friend to meet for breakfast. If you have someone else counting on you to get out of bed, you’re more likely to do it.
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s worked for many people. The farther away from your alarm clock, the greater chances of you getting out of bed to turn it off! Having an annoying siren or chiming bell motivates many people to put their feet on the floor and silence the alarm. You’ll notice that since you’re already up, you might as well stay out of bed.
If none of the above tactics work, feel free to enlist the help of a family member or trusted friend. Kindly ask that they call you in the morning. You can discuss what time is reasonable for them to contact you, and when they call, you’ll know that it’s time to get up. It’s also harder to argue with someone other than yourself. Accountability is everything in recovery.
The inability to get out of bed is a common symptom of someone suffering from a mental health disorder or substance use disorder. Often people who struggle with depression, anxiety, or any type of substance abuse may find it challenging to face the day each morning by getting out of bed. This is no way to live your life. If you know you are suffering from a mental health disorder or substance abuse, or if you just find it hard to get up in the mornings, our trained professionals at SokyaHealth can offer you guidance in seizing your days once again. To schedule a consultation or talk to someone who understands and can provide you with practical tools to help, call SokyaHealth today at 866-932-1767. We offer services in the California, Oregon, and Alaska regions. Our trustworthy team wants to see you back on your feet again!