You can’t believe it’s morning already because you don’t feel rested at all. Your body feels heavy, like the weight of the world is pushing down on you. A lump rises in your throat, as images of happier times collapse into a moment of grief.
You remember when getting out of bed wasn’t a big deal. But all that seems a million miles away now.
Your mind starts to cycle around in a loop, telling you “it’s hopeless, there’s no use even trying to get up”.
I know how debilitating it can be when it’s time to get up and your body is screaming. I also know how exhausting it feels to be fighting with your mind over trivial things, like getting out of bed.
But here’s what you need to know — Depression fatigue is real, and the pain of trying to get out of bed is far from trivial.
That’s why I’ve put together seven tiny ways to help you get out of bed when crushing depression fatigue strikes
#1 Don’t Beat Yourself Up for Feeling Unmotivated.
Be kind to yourself. You are fighting a battle many people do not understand. Some people perceive depression as a motivational issue, mood phase or mental block. But this distorted view is dangerous because it completely negates the clinical nature of depression.
You can’t mend a broken leg with your thoughts, or use affirmations to treat diabetes. So why do people think you can motivate your way out of depression?
Don’t let depression guilt take hold. Instead, conserve precious energy with kindness. According to a clinical study, adopting an attitude of kindness reduces self-criticism and depressive symptoms.
Point #2 Become Aware of Your Breath
When depression has you struggling to get out of bed, think of each breath as a resilient friend, cheering you on.
Take a deep inhalation and feel your belly expanding. Let out a long, slow exhalation to the count of five. Repeat several times.
Studies show that breathing in this way rejuvenates the nervous system, reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Point #3 Do This One Stretch in Bed
Curl up and roll over, pushing yourself up onto all fours. Kneel back over your heels and lean forward, bringing your chest as close to your knees as possible.
Lower down so your forehead comes to rest on your pillow. Stack your hands underneath your forehead and breath (5–10 breaths or more).
This yoga stretch called Balasana, or Child’s Pose, helps relax and calm your body and mind.
Point #4 Motivate Your Tired Mind with a Tiny Step
You can combat the debilitating fatigue that makes getting out of bed so difficult. Start with tiny steps like having a shower, brushing your hair, or going for a walk.
One five-year study investigating the effects of making small daily goals, reported doing so reduces the symptoms of depression.
Judith Maskowitz, a medical scientist inspired by the study tells us, “When you feel as though you’re making progress — even if you aren’t necessarily achieving success — that increases positive emotions”
Point #5 Treat Yourself with Something That Brings You Joy
Small significant triumphs bolster your energy, giving you an immediate sense of accomplishment. Once you are up out of bed, do something that nourishes the senses and brings you joy.
Play your favourite music, brew some tea or coffee, have a shower or go for a walk.
Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before, says while “treating yourself. sounds like a self-indulgent, frivolous strategy, it’s not. She goes on to say how treats helps reinforce the effort involved in forming good habits
Point #6 Track Your Activities (aka Bullet Journalling)
Have you heard of the trend bullet journaling? A Google or Pinterest search for “bullet journal” or “BUJO” will bring up an array of tracking pages. The concept is about tracking your moods, energy levels and activities.
Creating a record of the small, but significant changes you make is powerful. Studies show tracking your activities helps reinforce your efforts. But don’t make the tracking process too complicated.
Start by jotting things down on a notepad. Doodle, experiment and have fun with the process.
Point #7 Be Patient With Yourself
A mind addled by depression affects self-worth, triggering a crushing cycle of rumination.
Depression has a bio-medical component and is not a personal weakness. That’s why it’s important to be patient and forgiving with yourself. You are doing the best you can under very trying circumstances.
According to Dennis Tirch (Ph.D.) cultivating compassion “allows us to engage our brain and body’s basic soothing system”
You’ve got this.
When you wake up with paralyzing depression fatigue, you’ll remember you are stronger than depression says you are.
When depression tells you “it’s hopeless, there’s no use even trying to get up”, you’ll see through the lie.
And at some point, you’ll notice how resilient you actually are.
Never stop believing in yourself.
You can do this, just take the next tiny step.
I believe in you.
Always remember: depression does not define you. You are stronger than you think you are and you matter in this world.
DISCLAIMER: Bravely She Blogs is not intended as medical or therapeutic advice. For immediate help please call one of these support lines