Things To Do When You’re Too Depressed To Get Out Of Bed

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated April 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Depression can be a challenging mental illness, often causing sadness, fatigue, and a lack of motivation. At times, these feelings can be so strong that it may be hard to go places, be active, or even get out of bed. This may lead to a conundrum often presented by depression: The disorder can prevent you from doing the things that might help you feel better.

When symptoms are severe, it may be hard for you to exercise, practice self-care, or do other activities that are frequently suggested for those living with depression. It can help to try techniques that may be less daunting but still effective at improving symptoms. These can include watching a sitcom, listening to a podcast, stretching, coloring, and more. You may also find it helpful to connect with a therapist virtually through an online therapy platform.

Depression can make it hard to leave the house

Tips for managing depression at home

The following strategies can be beneficial if you’re experiencing debilitating depressive symptoms.  

Watch your favorite sitcom

Some days, you may just need to watch something comforting, warm, and funny. Watching your favorite characters can be like seeing an old friend but without the added pressure of being social when you don't feel up to it. Plus, research shows that laughing can have positive impacts on your mental and physical health. 

Read a book

Reading consistently has been linked to reduced depression and increased longevity. Some people find it useful to read self-help books when they are feeling down, while others enjoy sticking to fiction. If depression symptoms are making it hard to focus, consider listening to an audiobook. 

Listen to podcasts

Podcasts can be an engaging way of learning more about topics that interest you. There are often podcasts available on just about every subject, whether you like fashion, true crime, tech, sports, or art. There can even be podcasts about mental health challenges.

Play brain games

Brain games can be a great way to stimulate your mind when depression makes it hard to get out of bed or focus. There can be many types of brain games to try. You can search for optical illusions, logic puzzles, or visual workouts. When in doubt, you might try classics like Sudoku or crossword puzzles.

Call a friend

On days when depression symptoms are more severe, meeting up with friends can feel daunting, but a call may be more achievable. If it's someone you’re comfortable with, you can discuss how you’re feeling. Or, if you aren't ready to talk about depression’s impacts on your life, you may simply chat about current events or ask your friends how they’ve been doing.


Research shows that writing about your emotions can decrease symptoms of depression. Journaling can allow you to work through your feelings, understand your thought patterns, and reflect. If you aren't sure what to write about, you can find journal prompts related to depression online.


Physical activity can be a proven strategy for reducing depressive symptoms, but strenuous exercise may be too difficult when you’re living with depression. Stretching can be a healthy way of getting some movement into your day. There are even several yoga poses you can do while in bed.

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Plan a trip

When you are experiencing depression, the future can seem hard to face. If this is the case for you, consider taking some time to plan future activities like travel. Research shows that the excitement surrounding an enjoyable experience can improve mental health. Think about a vacation you would like to take, and do some online exploration of hotels, restaurants, and activities in the area. Even if traveling isn’t currently in your budget, planning a trip without booking it can be a fun activity that may lift your spirits.

Listen to music

There is evidence that music can improve symptoms of depression, particularly in those who may find traditional treatment daunting. Music can be an invigorating way to boost your mood. Consider making a playlist of your favorite tunes or finding new songs that help you process the emotions you are feeling.


Adult coloring books are a growing trend that may have positive impacts on your mental health. One study had participants either color or solve puzzles every day for a week and then report on the state of their mental health. The people who colored typically experienced significantly decreased symptoms of depression compared to the other group. You can order adult coloring books online or use digital versions.

Make your morning routine fun

Many people struggle to get out of bed in the morning because they either do not have a morning routine or don’t get the most out of the routine they do have. To make your morning routine more enjoyable, consider incorporating music, a fun activity, or something else that brings you joy. You may find that you are less resistant to starting your morning and better able to address challenges presented by depression when you have something to look forward to.

Let in natural light 

Exposure to light can not only reduce depression symptoms, but it can also be a great natural way to wake yourself up. Our bodies are generally designed to sleep when it's dark and wake up when it's bright outside, so consider keeping your blinds open to allow natural light in the morning. Light can be particularly important for those living with seasonal affective disorder. 

Depression can make it hard to leave the house

Do a digital clean

When depression makes it hard to get motivated, cleaning your space may be difficult. Digital cleaning often requires less effort, but it can still help you feel organized and productive. Grab your phone, laptop, or tablet and get rid of old apps you no longer use. You may be surprised by just how refreshing this process can be.

Travel with Google Earth

Google Earth may be one of the most incredible tools on the internet. In seconds, you can see just about any location in the world. Feel like dropping into Rome? How about Japan? You can travel the globe without leaving the comfort of your bed. You might make the experience more entertaining by seeing if you can find any interesting or unusual sights.

Be kind to yourself

On days when it is hard to get out of bed, feelings of guilt or shame can exacerbate symptoms of depression. You might feel bad about missing family, work, or school commitments or opting out of social time with friends. On these days, it can be especially important to practice kindness toward yourself. Remember, your feelings may not reflect who you are as a person.

If you’d like help with self-compassion, a therapist can give you tips for reframing negative thoughts and engaging in positive self-talk. 

Benefits of online therapy

If you’re experiencing depression, a lack of motivation, or similar mental health-related concerns, consider utilizing an online therapy platform like BetterHelp. With online therapy, you can connect with a licensed mental health professional remotely, which can help if you’re having trouble leaving home. Your therapist can also provide you with at-home exercises so that you can reinforce important concepts and learn more about depression on your own time. 

Effectiveness of online therapy

A growing body of evidence generally points to online therapy as an effective form of mental health care for those experiencing depression. For example, in one study on the efficacy of online therapy for depression, participants reported significant reductions in depressive symptoms that were typically sustained for a year after treatment. The study also noted the flexibility that online therapy can provide compared to in-person modalities. 

Read below for reviews of BetterHelp therapists from those who have sought help for depression in the past. 

Therapist reviews

“Carolynn is an angel! She has helped me immensely over the past few months with many aspects of my depression and anxiety. She comes from a place of love and understanding which is very comforting. Thank you for everything, Carolynn!!”

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“Dianne has helped me deal with my depression, trauma, and anxiety in a natural way. She really listens and helps you see the other side you might not consider. She’s helped me bring back aspects of my confidence and make me realize the choices I have made are down to me nonetheless. The therapy sessions have really given me the strength that I’ve needed to cope and become better as a person.” 

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If you’re living with depression, you may experience days when symptoms make it difficult to get out of bed. Still, there can be a variety of simple strategies to try that may help you feel better. For example, you might write in a journal, watch your favorite sitcom, travel with Google Earth, or listen to music. Working with a licensed therapist online can also be beneficial in treating depression.
Depression is treatable, and you're not alone
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