Oh, how I hate to get up in the morning...

Deborah Gray Health Guide
  • "Oh! How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning,
    Oh! How I'd love to remain in bed
    For the hardest blow of all is to hear the bugler call:
    'You've got to get up, you've got to get up,
    You've got to get up this morning!'"

    I may be the only person my age who knows all the words to that Irving Berlin World War II song. My grandfather taught it to me, along with other early 20th century songs such as "Come Josephine, in My Flying Machine." When I was suffering through major depressive episodes before I was diagnosed, though, the Irving Berlin song was the one that used to run through my head every morning.

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    For me, as for many people with depression, morning was the most difficult time of the entire day. I'm not sure if it was that my depression was chemically the most severe at that time of the day, or if the temptation to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head was a factor, or what. But I definitely remember lying in bed trying to think of good reasons to get up.

    Not only was my mood low, but my energy level was low, no matter how early I'd gone to sleep the night before. I would lay in bed trying to think of reasons to get up. I think that was the only thing that would work - fixating on something positive that was going to happen that day. Not an easy thing to do when you're depressed, granted, but it was the only thing that worked for me.

    Then I would boost my energy level as soon as I got up, generally by doing a small amount of yoga. Again, not easy to do when you're depressed, but the anticipated increase in my energy level was usually enough to get me going.

    So if you have to get your get-up-and-go going, you need to reward yourself for getting up and, hopefully, boost your energy level. Here are some things you can do to get yourself up in the morning:

    • Have coffee, latte or tea, but high quality, not McDonald's. If it's too expensive to buy it at a coffee shop, make it yourself. You'd be surprised at how cheaply you can make a $3.95 mocha yourself. If you have an automatic coffee maker with a timer, learn how to use it so the smell can wake you up.
    • If you don't like coffee or tea, make a smoothie ahead of time and freeze it in a microwave safe container. Then you just zap it in the microwave for a short time in the morning and you're set.
    • Do yoga or another gentle exercise. Before you fall over laughing at the idea of being able to exercise in the morning when you're depressed, remember that not only can you do yoga or tai chi in your pajamas, but the instructors on the DVDs or tapes are generally soothing as opposed to irritating. A.M./P.M. Yoga is my favorite.
    • Dry skin brushing. Yes, I can hear the "huh?"s right now. It sounds kind of silly till you try it, but believe it or not, using a brush to exfoliate your skin gives you a real energy boost and gets your circulation going.
    • What else do you like to do? Give yourself some extra time in the morning to play with your dog, or read a book or Tivo your favorite show and watch it in the morning.

    Even if none of these suggestions are to your liking, the point is that you should come up with a strategy that gets you past that rough spot in the morning. Experiment until you find out what works for you, and do as much preparation as possible the night before, if necessary, so that you don't have to expend much effort in the morning.

    Do you have any tips and tricks for getting out of bed in the morning? Share them!


    Tai chi: Stress reduction, balance, agility and more
    The Dry Brushing Technique

Published On: June 11, 2007