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

By Gabrielle Seunagal |Updated August 30, 2022

Depression is unpredictable. Sometimes, these feelings are so overwhelming it can be a struggle to get through the day. This is no surprise. Some of the most challenging symptoms of depression include:

  • Lack of motivation/interest in things you once cared about
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of hopelessness/overwhelm

If you find yourself without the will to tackle your morning routine or daily tasks, consider the following tips to try when you're too depressed to get out of bed.

Is Your Depression Making It Hard For You To Get Out Of Bed?

Watch an Old Sitcom

Some days you just need to take a mental health day and watch something comforting. Therefore, you should stream your favorite classic sitcom. There is something comforting about revisiting characters we once loved within set storylines. It's like seeing an old friend (with none of the added pressure of being social when you don't want to be). With popular services like Netflix and Hulu, the options are limitless. Plus, humor is healthy for us.

Have a Movie Marathon

On that same note, have a movie marathon in bed. While too much TV doesn't bode well for mental health, binging on movies for a short period of time may help you focus on something other than your feelings for a bit.

Read a Book

Reading can work for you in much the same way as watching TV and movies. Some people find it useful to read self-help literature when they are feeling depressed, others enjoy sticking to romance, action, or mystery. Read whatever genre you have enjoyed the most in the past. Sometimes concentration can be lessened when feeling depressed. Read what you can and then put the book down and go back to it later. Your ability to concentrate longer will return when your depression lifts.

Get Some Bright Light Therapy

According to many studies and medical associations, bright light therapy is a great treatment option to ease your depression and wake yourself up to start your morning. Light therapy balances the autonomic nervous system, which can calm and alleviate depression symptoms. If you aren’t getting enough light and are struggling with depression, talk with your doctor about light therapy and treatment.

Try Audiobooks

If reading words off a page one-by-one sounds like more of a chore than it's worth, you're in luck. Audiobooks are a great alternative if you just want to sit, close your eyes, and listen to some storytelling. Most popular audiobook apps offer free trials or have a long list of free material. It takes just seconds to get started.

Listen to Podcasts

There are podcasts available on just about every subject. Whether you like fashion, true crime, or tech, you are sure to find a channel that will capture your attention. There are even ones about mental health issues.

Play Brain Games

Brain games, more commonly known as brain teasers, are a great way to work through a mental slump that depression causes. There are many types of teasers to try. Search for optical illusions, logic puzzles and visual workouts, just to name a few. When in doubt, try classics like Sudoku or Crossword puzzles.

Call a Friend

On days when depression gets rough, it's no surprise that you don't want to leave the house. However, that doesn't mean you're destined to be alone. Pick up the phone and call or text a close friend or family member. If it's someone you feel comfortable with, let them know how you are feeling. If you aren't ready to talk about your depression, connect over a current event or something going on in your daily life.

Social Media

Social media is a great tool to use to interact with others as long as it's used wisely. Numerous peer-reviewed studies show that social media can have a harmful effect on mental health, especially when it's used to compare your life to someone else's. However, if you can find a positive community to join or are able to share your thoughts and feelings in a safe space, you may find it a helpful social outlet for the days you aren't up to being around others.

Journal

Journaling is useful to individuals struggling with depression. Privately writing your thoughts lets you work through your emotions, understand your thinking patterns, and reflect on your past ideas. If you aren't sure what to write about, do not worry. You can find journal prompts specifically for those experiencing anxiety or depression online.

Write

Not everyone likes writing about what is happening to them. If you're someone who doesn't enjoy self-reflection that doesn't mean writing is off the table for you. Writing can take many other forms, including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. In the comfort of your room, explore any genre you want.

Stretch

Physical activity is a great treatment for depression. But exercise is probably one of the last things on your mind when you're depressed. Luckily, you don't have to venture outside to get some movement into your day. Your bed is the perfect place for gentle stretching. Did you know there are many yoga poses specifically designed to do in bed?

Plan a Trip

When you are experiencing depression, the future can seem bleak. Take some time to plan a future you can be excited about. Think about a vacation you would like to take. Do some online exploration of hotels, restaurants, and activities in the area. Create a plan to make it happen. When you're back on your feet you can start taking steps to make it a reality.

Listen to Music

Music is a natural form of healing. Make a playlist of your favorite tunes or find new songs that help you process the emotions you are feeling.

Draw

In much the same way that music is a form of therapy, art is a great treatment for depression too. Anyone can draw as long as they have a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. There are many free online tutorials to learn the basics if you don't consider yourself an artist. Make art for yourself or someone you care about.

Color

Coloring isn't just for kids anymore. Adult coloring books are everywhere. These powerful tools are perfect for those experiencing anxiety or depression. In fact, expressing art in any form is so effective at healing that there is a form of therapy dedicated to it.

Make Passive Income

If your depression is causing you to miss work, you can make up for it a little bit by finding ways to make passive income right from your home. Many sites will pay you to take surveys or write content for blogs and articles. You probably won't get rich on any of these methods, but they can pass the time and help you take a small financial step forward.

Eat

Depression is a master of robbing us of the desire to do anything – even eat. But nourishing your body is still important. On days you can't get out of bed, take advantage of food delivery services like GrubHub or UberEats. All you need to do is place an order online and choose how you want your food delivered: handed to you directly or left on your doorstep.

Grocery stores are starting to catch on to the appeal of this service too. If there's not much left to eat in your house, see if your local store is offering home delivery or if services like Instacart are in your area. Letting others do the heavy lifting while you self-care will help immensely.

Is Your Depression Making It Hard For You To Get Out Of Bed?

Do a Digital Clean

When depression strikes, cleaning is likely not high on your list of priorities. Luckily, digital cleaning is a lot easier than scrubbing your floors. Grab your phone or tablet and get rid of old apps you no longer use. Delete emails, voicemails, and old text messages you don't need anymore. Go through your pictures and trash anything not worth keeping. You may be surprised at just how refreshing this process can be.

Travel with Google Earth

Google Earth is one of the most incredible tools on the internet. In seconds you can see just about anywhere. Feel like dropping into Rome? How about Japan? You can travel the globe all without leaving the comfort of your bed. Make it entertaining by seeing if you can find any interesting or unusual sites.

Research

Surfing the internet is an easy form of entertainment. Choose a topic about anything you want to learn and spend the day learning more about it. Whether you pick something practical like cooking or something more out of the ordinary, like extreme dog grooming, you are sure to have hours of new information to take in.

Be Kind to Yourself

On the days you are too depressed to get out of bed, it's all too easy to default to feelings of guilt or shame. You might feel bad about missing family, work, or school commitments or opting out of social time with friends. The days your symptoms of depression are at their worst are the most important to practice kindness toward yourself. Remember, your feelings are not a reflection of you as a person but are a byproduct of a medical condition you are dealing with.

Sometimes dealing with depression on your own, though, can be overwhelming. If this is the case with you, you might want to consider seeing an online therapist or in-person therapist. A therapist can help you manage your symptoms of depression and be a helping hand to get you back into life. You don’t have to do this on your own. Help is available.

How BetterHelp Can Support You

It used to be that when you needed help from a mental health professional, you would have to call your doctor, get a referral and make calls to find the earliest appointment. Sometimes the wait to talk to someone stretched on for days, weeks, or even months and that’s unhelpful when dealing with depression. Now, resources like BetterHelp provide confidential counseling online. This might be the ideal option for you if you need therapy immediately and don’t want to the pressure of a face-to-face visit. Below are a couple of counselor reviews from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor 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!!”

“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 strength that I’ve needed to cope and become better as a person.” 

Commonly Asked Questions Below:

Is it normal to not want to get out of bed?

What to do when anxiety won't let you get out of bed?

Can anxiety make it hard to get out of bed?

Why do I want to stay in bed all day?

What does Dysania mean?

What does clinomania mean?

What is clinomania disease?

How do I motivate myself to get out of bed?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How can I lift my mood?

 Finding fun activities, spending time with friends, getting more fresh air, and more are all common ways people go about lifting their moods. There are a number of ways to improve your mood beyond these traditional choices, such as fighting off negative thoughts, doing more of what you enjoy, being patient with yourself, getting out of the house no matter how simple, avoiding making important decisions until in a better mood, and getting more sleep. It’s worth noting that chronically being in a sad or hopeless mood may be indicative of depression, and natural strategies to boost your mood may not be as effective. If this is the case, it’s best to reach out to a mental health professional who is qualified at treating depression and providing beneficial health information.

How do you calm down a depressed person?

 When someone is coping with depression or another mental health challenge, they may not be very willing to talk. Depression makes it difficult to discuss how a person is feeling and it can be difficult to communicate emotions during a depressive episode. With that said, there are a few helpful things you can tell someone living with depression. First things first, remind the person that you care and that you are there for them with whatever they need. Ask the person how you can help, whether it’s reaching out to their family members or just being near them. Urge them to talk with a doctor, especially if you have noticed substance abuse issues such as drinking alcohol more, or if they have developed other mental health challenges such as bipolar disorder or depression eating disorders. A professional can provide advice, diagnosis or treatment to help the person recover. If you have thoughts of suicide or death, reach out to the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you are struggling with substance abuse, please contact SAMHSA’s hotline (800-662-HELP) for support and help.

What are 4 major causes of depression?

 No two people will experience depression the same way and there are a number of different types of depression. Learning to fight depression starts with determining a person’s specific type and cause of depression, as well as the health information that goes along with it. The most common causes of depression are: abuse, conflict, genetics, and major life events. There are many triggers for mental illness or mental health issues when you’re depressed but finding out the root cause of your depression can help mental health services design a treatment plan. If you have thoughts of suicide or death, reach out to the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

How do you cheer up a sad person?

 There are many different ways to cheer up a person who seems to be more sad than usual, but simply being there for them with fun activities is one of the largest. Ask the person if they want help doing things or consider taking on a creative project together. If you know what tends to make them happy, offer to do that with them. If their sadness goes beyond surface level emotions and is due to depression, consider advising them to reach out to a mental health professional for advice, diagnosis or treatment. Reaching out to mental health services is an evidence based way of receiving health information and treatment for depression, and can reduce dangerous symptoms of depression such as substance abuse, bipolar disorder, or depressive eating disorders. f you have thoughts of suicide or death, reach out to the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

How do you make someone happy?

 Making someone happy can feel difficult but there are a number of quick and easy ways to try and change their mood. Evidence based methods are simply smiling, calling them to check up, getting them something you know they enjoy, telling a joke, and generally doing something you know they will appreciate. Sometimes, simply being there for a person is all that’s needed to improve their mood.

How does depression affect synapses?

 Based on clinical studies, it has been demonstrated that depression is associated with reduced size of the brain regions that regulate mood and cognition, including a decrease in the neuronal synapses in these areas. Whether bipolar depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental health depressions, detrimental side effects such as eating disorders, drinking alcohol, substance abuse, depression eating disorders, or addiction, adhd, or anxiety, seeking help from a mental health professional should be done. There are many support groups that a mental health care provider can recommend as well as general medical advice.

What are the 4 types of depression?

 There are four main types of depression a person may experience: situational, biological, psychological, and existential. Mental health care professionals qualify situational depression as occurring whenever a negative major life event or occurrence happens. Biological depression is believed to occur when family members have a history of depression. If your family members are prone to depression, it’s possible for you to be predisposed to developing a depressive disorder. Mental health care providers also provide medical advice diagnosis for people living with psychological depression, that is believed to be caused by psychological factors such as adhd anxiety, schizophrenia, and more. Finally, existential depression is believed to occur when a person experiences a happy situation, but they feel as if that situation didn’t meet expectations. Mental health professionals should be visited for medical advice or for finding support groups that can provide health information for depression. Additionally, beyond support groups, receiving a medical advice diagnosis can help a person develop a treatment plan.

What do you do on days you don't want to get out of bed?

Everyone has trouble getting out of bed at one point or another. This can be due to having poor sleep habits or sleep disorders, experiencing depressive symptoms, not wanting to leave your comfy bed, or living with other mental health conditions. If this is a frequent problem for you, there are a few things you can do.

Set multiple alarms: If you struggle to wake up after the first alarm, then make sure to set multiple alarms. This will keep you awake and help you stay on track of the time. You can also set alarms to keep you moving through your morning routine. For example, the first alarm can be set to wake you up, the second can be to get you out of bed, and the third can indicate its time to brush your teeth.

Let in natural light: Light therapy not only helps with depression, but it is a great natural way to wake yourself up. Our bodies are designed to sleep when it's dark and wake up when it's bright, so consider keeping your blinds open to allow natural light in the morning.

Make your morning routine fun: Many people struggle when getting out of bed in the morning because they dread their morning routine. Maybe they don’t like their job or they’ve experienced a succession of bad days. By incorporating music, a fun activity, or something else that brings some joy, you will be less resistant to start your morning.

Get treatment for your mental illness: If you are experiencing depression or other mood disorders, then talk to your doctor about your sleep issues, energy levels, and other symptoms. Together you and your doctor can come up with a treatment plan (such as medication or bright light therapy) that will improve your energy and help you look forward to your morning and moving forward with your day.

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