This basic ability is among the most necessary for people with mental illness. After all, it pretty much enables everything else!

*As a personal statement, when I wake up early in the morning, I find myself liberated from a ton of emotional baggage*.

When we wake, a lot of us feel that where we are is exactly where we want to, and should, stay. A warm, insulated little nook, promising ultimate escape from the immense challenges we’re forced to face, bliss in favor of discomfort.

But this is not the greatest part of ourselves speaking. It’s the part that keeps us from accepting and working with the world to reach a better existence.

In short: it’s not looking out for our higher goals.

One way or another, you’re getting out of bed. And, in the end, getting up in the morning is much more beneficial than not. If we can isolate the driving forces behind not waking early enough, we can begin to do so.

As an example myself, I was waking in the afternoon and with a lot of fatigue. I finally found that it was because I would drink tons of water before bed, half-consciously making my way to the bathroom five times per night.

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?

You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you.”

-Marcus Aurelius

Different people face different challenges. It doesn’t matter if something is easy for someone else. If getting out of bed at a reasonable time has been significantly difficult for you, and you did so in spite of that difficulty, shout it to the world!

This infographic relates some valuable ideas…

Image result for how to get out of bed infographic

Here are more tips on the matter:

  • It may be as easy as going to bed earlier
  • Don’t eat within three hours of bed
  • Have a set, gradually calming, bedtime routine
    • For example
      • Have a little food and liquid
      • Stop playing music 
      • Shut down electric screens
      • Journal one’s challenges and one’s victories during the day
      • Turn off all lights but one, and read
      • Put meds near bed
      • Turn off all lights and sit comfortably in the darkness
      • Gauge yourself to see if sleep is near
      • Lay in bed for a quality sleep
  • Be active during the day
    • When we have productive days, we are both more satisfied with ourselves and feel more tired at the end of the day
    • Mind
      • Examples: reading a multi-page article in The New Yorker, cleaning and organizing one’s living space, or participating in an online class from Coursera
    • Body
      • Examples: taking a 30-minute walk, working out, or riding a bike
    • Spirit
      • Examples: meditating for 20-60 minutes, making dinner with a friend, or playing with a pet
  • Get an alarm clock
    • This is pretty basic, most people have alarms to wake up, or at least to get out of bed
    • This is indispensable for me
  • Move the alarm clock away from arms reach
    • We don’t want any, semi-conscious hands to quiet the clock!
  • Set the alarm clock to something that will be motivating
    • This means not so loud that it must be quieted, but not so quiet that it can be slept through
    • Some alarm clocks work with increasingly louder noise
    • Some alarm clocks work with an increasingly bright light
  • Set multiple alarm times, with multiple alarm sounds, in succession
    • If one tune won’t get you up, there will be another tried shortly thereafter!
    • Maybe the first tells you to drink some caffeine and take your meds
    • Then the next, in perhaps a half hour, will go off while the caffeine has made its way to your brain
  • Use a motivating, favorite tune for one’s alarm clock to play
  • Get some food in you
  • Simply don’t press the “snooze” button
  • Don’t do computer work on your bed!
    • Bed is for food and sex
  • Look forward to at least one pleasure in the upcoming day
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Sit up, and resolve not to lie down
  • Ask someone who’s had sleep issues for advice
  • Keep the idea of how better you’ll feel in mind
  • Try to fall asleep, and wake up, at the same time each day
    • Once a pattern develops, a lot less effort is needed
    • A pattern takes about a month, but as little as three weeks
    • Exercise your free will!
  • Make sure you give yourself time for a healthy amount of sleep
    • This varies individually, but there are some general recommendations
    • Go to bed at a reasonable hour, given that you’ll be able to fall asleep then!
  • Try not to look at the clock when laying in bed
  • If it’s been a long time, check the clock, and if it’s been 30 minutes, get up and engage in a light activity before trying again
    • Ultimately, staying in bed longer to try to fall asleep oftentimes readily causes one to be more tired in the end, than if they got up and did something else before trying to fall asleep again
  • On weekends, try to not deviate from the pattern!
    • It can be spiritually healthy on special, celebrative occasions to go to bed late and wake up late, but rarely so, or the hard-won pattern will be compromised!
    • If you don’t work out on weekends, go for a short walk
    • That said, everyone deserves a day out of the week to do mostly what they want to, which is fine, assuming it isn’t damaging
  • Give yourself at least an hour, and ideally several hours, before sleep without looking at a screen
    • In addition, for computer use, try flux
    • Reading engages one’s mind more, and thus helps tire us out before it’s time to sleep

  • Eat a little bit before bed
    • Just a *little* snack, as a hefty meal will have the opposite effect
  • Don’t have caffeine in the afternoon
    • This is a big one. Try to not have any caffeine within eight hours of going to bed.
    • Everyone has their limits
      • There are those who can fall asleep after drinking coffee
  • Don’t drink alcohol
    • It’s a fact: alcohol promotes falling asleep, but it compromises quality of sleep
    • If you actually have insomnia, please talk to your provider
    • Alcohol should otherwise not be used to self-medicate an illness
  • Do what you can the night before to make starting your morning routine easier
    • Maybe have your clothes set out for you
    • Prepare the coffee maker
    • Have morning meds next to you
    • Wake up with a purpose for the day in mind
  • Put some water an arms reach from bed
    • Drinking replenishes us from the dehydration of sweat and breathing that a healthy amount of sleep brings
    • That said, too much water can impede sleep and cause several nighttime bathroom visits
  • Make yourself a bit more cold
    • The shift in temperature gives a minor shock, waking us up
    • If the environment is too cold, however, we might retreat into their blankets
  • Have something to do in mind, a productive task, right after you wake
    • Perhaps making breakfast and coffee, walking the dog, doing yoga, or writing an email
    • Something to achieve that morning
  • Keep in mind an incentive for waking (again)
    • Such as looking forward to a nice cup of black coffee, or watching the sun rise
    • Give yourself a treat for waking up early
  • Similarly, don’t think of everything you have to do that day, just what you planned to accomplish in the immediacy
    • It can be as simple as “drink cup of water”, and then move on to the next tiny task
    • One step at a time
  • Make it into a good deed: think about how many people you’ll be helping, and in which manner, by getting up and going through your day
    • It can be a small thing, but if you just can’t think of anything and anyway you’d be helping someone else, start doing so today!
    • Even just in general, push the comfort zone in the name of doing something good for another
  • Try to imagine those who have it worse off than you
    • They exist, if just in hospitals due to being suicidal. You are stronger.
    • There is always someone of lesser means, and of lesser peace of mind, than oneself
  • Work with a therapist or other mental health professional on how to uncover and combat thoughts and feelings that might keep you in bed
    • A lot of this will be cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
      • Teaches the patient how to succeed by countering negative thoughts with positive thoughts, and negative feelings with negative feelings
    • One’s provider can use CBT as one brings up their issues in life
    • After enough time, one learns how to use CBT without being directed by an outsider
    • This is invaluable!

Image result for CBT infographic

Sources: Marcus Aurelius, http://www.wikihow.com, http://www.everydayhealth.com, https://www.theparisreview.org/, http://www.huffingtonpost.com, Dr. Maura Mccauley, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/500321839836769950/?lp=true, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/500321839836769950/?lp=true, https://www.buzzfeed.com/tabathaleggett/helpful-tips-for-getting-out-of-bed-from-actual-morning, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/11-ways-get-out-of-bed-fa_b_4741041, https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/depression-get-out-of-bed, https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/getting-out-bed-snoozing-wake-up-tips-alarm-clock-curtain-open-no-alcohol-caffeine-a8117911.html, https://www.addrc.org/tips-to-get-up-and-out-of-bed-on-time/