Struggling to wake up each day? Read this!

At the core of my depression is worthlessness which makes any activity I attempt to do meaningless. I don’t believe that I add value to my life or anyone else’s life by waking up, so I don’t bother. Some days I can fight it if I have help; someone wakes me up and tells me all the things I need to do for the day. However, help is hard to find when everyone around you is worried about themselves.

The only way I can fight the worthlessness is with purpose. For me to find value in waking up, it is important that I establish my worth to myself to build me up for the following day. I have certain routines that help support me when I’m at my worst.

Creating a to-do list

In addition to my many mental dysfunctions, my favorite is being controlling. I exercise this muscle hard when I’m depressed to yank me out of my depression. There are things in my house, with my kids, or at my job that only I can do properly. If I ask for help, someone will probably completely mess it up and I risk having to do it all over again! What’s the point in that?

The best time to build some worth for me is the night before with a to-do list. I get very specific about the things that can only be done by me.

Only I can properly wash my daughter’s hair.

Only I can cook honey teriyaki chicken so that it’s edible.

Only I can make up my bed the way I like it because my mom always tries to put ugly floral bed sheets on my bed even though she knows I hate floral. (Sorry mom)

I make each item specific to me (only I can) and I make sure it is an action that needs to be done. Most of the time it is something outside of myself, so I wouldn’t list anything related to self-care because my self-care abilities are shot during my depressive episodes.

However, if I can work on things around the house, with the kids or at work that is exclusively something I am good at, it gives me a reason to wake up in the morning.

Wake up early to make breakfast

If you ask anyone that knows me well, and you will be getting to know me well through my blog, I am an epic fan of food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks- all foods are welcomed with open mouth! Food literally brings me excitement and joy. I have a knack for cooking, and I marvel at what I can combine from my fridge to create a meal.

It does help me to plan an elaborate breakfast. Something as complicated as an omelet with multiple ingredients and French toast from scratch gives me a step-by-step plan to focus on in the morning.

I also value the quiet of the morning which prompts me to wake up early, make my breakfast and coffee, then sit with my devotional. The quiet helps me to listen to whatever God would like to tell me for the day and I find encouragement and hope in God’s words. When I tune in, I always find exactly what I needed to get through that day.

Something to look forward to

When I find it difficult to wake up and my morning routine doesn’t inspire me, then I reach a bit more into the future. I look for events or fun things that are coming that will inspire me to keep going to reach for that day.

Recently, my daughter had a birthday and I took her to Legoland in Orlando, Fl. Leading up to those days, I found myself crying every morning because I just couldn’t move from my spot. Despite having a to-do list, it not long enough, and I woke up so late I couldn’t make breakfast. However, I never bought the tickets to the theme park.

The only way I could keep going was if I made a deal with myself: if I could get up on time at least 3 days that week and make it to work CLOSE to on-time, then I’m buying the tickets and booking the hotel room. It was a fight.. I didn’t want to disappoint my daughter and Lord knows I needed the getaway. I had to earn it, though.

After the 3 days, I booked the hotel and gave myself 3 more days of meeting my morning goals to purchase the tickets. I found myself waking up excited everyday like a kid going to Disney world! I was antsy for the theme park and the time with my babies and it made each day bearable- regardless what came.

Now, when there isn’t a theme park or vacation in my future, I look for a potential event. Money isn’t always plentiful, but I try to do smaller things like a trip to the zoo or a planned stay-cation without my kids. I get excited about those and focus all of my energy on getting to that one event. When that one event passes, I find myself something else to look forward to.

There’s always the bucket list

Sometimes, I am really struggling with living in general and can’t find the light, I look to my bucket list. I have always wanted to go to the Maldives. On those hard nights between tears and sorrow, I watch long, detailed videos on the Maldives and that springs new life into me. I really look forward to going there one day.

You can enjoy the beautiful Maldives in this video. Perks me right up so I can be there one day!

What are some of the things you do to help you get out of bed in the morning? Please share below and let’s have a conversation about what helps so that we may help others.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed mental health counselor, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist. I am simply a human being who was diagnosed with depression and attempting to explain what I go through from my personal perspective. If you are experiencing these symptoms or worse, I would suggest that you consult a licensed mental health counselor for support.

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This Post Has 49 Comments

  1. Alexandra Wrigley

    Great techniques! I am a big follower of to-do lists. It gives me a sense of purpose and every time you tick something off I love the feeling of accomplishment!

    1. StellaB

      I’m so glad you found these techniques helpful! I look forward to adding more to my blog on how to improve mental health! Thanks for the comment!

  2. Mya Taylor

    To-Do lists are a thing for me as well…I rely heavily on writing goals and the act of checking them off, much like yourself and the previous commenter. I also know what the alternative is and those are dark days that you don’t want,…keep praying and pushing yourself. 🙏🏾

    1. StellaB

      I agree that the to-do list is vital! Thank you so much for the comment!

  3. Trish Veltman

    Depression is such a challenging, exhausting thing to live with – these techniques for managing sound like they can make a big difference.

    1. StellaB

      I really hope you’re right! I look forward to helping others!

  4. David Musielak

    To-do list is such a critical component of my effectiveness. . I’m also an early bird gets the worm sort of gy. Great strategies!

    1. StellaB

      I don’t know how I survive without a to-do list! Everything has to be on a list for me to process it or it won’t get done! lol Thanks for the comment!

  5. Heather

    My to-do list is my bible. I feel better and have a much more productive day when I have that to look forward to.

  6. Angelina

    I admire your honesty about your depression and all of the ways that you have found to keep moving forward. I love the idea of waking up early to make breakfast, that’s one I had never thought of but what a great way to start the day with purpose!

    1. StellaB

      I’m glad it was able to help you in some way!

  7. Jacklynn Watson

    You have some great ideas here for looking forward to your day. I will be implementing them myself. I really appreciated the one about having something to look forward to.

  8. Joanne

    Always having something exciting in the future helps! I am also excited everyday to learn more about blogging and improving on what I have done!

  9. Yolanda

    Thanks for your honesty in your post. I pray you became an inspiration to others who are suffering from depression.

  10. Charlene

    This is great! Whenever I get overwhelmed by all I have to do, my husband tells me to make an “only I” list too! Such a great method.

  11. Leigh Ann

    These are wonderful tips to helping all of us find more joy in our lives. I’m currently ready a book called High Performance Habits of the Workplace but it too speaks to setting ourselves up each morning for a positive outlook and more joy. One of the tips in this book is to think of at least one thing you are looking forward to, so you are right on!

  12. Nikki

    I am a to-do lister also – I always feel better when I can cross something off that list. I am also a little of a control freak – or at least used to be. It is something I have worked on over the years. Struggling with depression is hard – I have my own bouts of it at times and have worked, over the years, on finding what I need to get past those times. Great job!

    1. StellaB

      I’m also guilty of being a control freak! It’s not easy giving up control but its so necessary to keep us sane. Glad you were able to see yourself in this post! <3

  13. Theresa

    HI! Excellent article that really got me thinking. I appreciate your heartfelt words and helping me to understand. My half sister shares similar traits as you and it will help me relate to her a little better. Thank you!

    1. StellaB

      I’m so glad you are able to put this post to use! I appreciate your willingness to understand and help her. That is real love! Thank you for that!

  14. Robin

    I applaud you in your fight against these feelings of worthlessness that depression creates. I’ve been there and it can be so easy to give in, but these are wonderful ways to combat them! And thank you for introducing me to the Maldives!

    1. StellaB

      Robin the Maldives will have you saving money all over the place just to see if the place is REAL! I can’t wait to go one day! I hope we can meet up there! lol

  15. Suzan Ferreira

    So wonderful that you have found a system that works for you & helps you find the joys! The Maldives are on my list as well (love the video)…who knows, maybe we will meet up there one day 🙂

    1. StellaB

      Yes Suzan let’s do it! I can’t wait to see that place one day! And you should definitely follow the luxury travel expert. He posts these gorgeous videos all the time!

  16. Stacey

    I can relate to this. Those are good strategies to help. My biggest thing when depression hits is I feel so tired that I don’t want to wake up. I can usually get going eventually, but I feel like I never have enough sleep. I can also fall asleep at a moment’s notice when I get this way.

    1. StellaB

      My goodness Stacey I’m the same way! No amount of sleep is ever enough and I sleep constantly when I’m depressed. On those days, I practice self-forgiveness. We need the rest on those days and that’s ok!

  17. Tracy

    Great article!

  18. Carolina

    I love to do list, they help me stay focus on what needs to be done. I appreciate the honesty in your post, thanks so much for sharing.

    1. StellaB

      Thank you! I appreciate your support!

  19. Sharon

    Great strategies! I think your honest, vulnerable story sharing will help a lot of people.

    1. StellaB

      Thank you Sharon! I hope you’re right! Please share!

  20. Lina

    Having a to do list is a must for me. I would be lost without it.

    1. StellaB

      Girl me too!

  21. Kyndall Bennett

    This is beautiful. Stevenn has been helping me deal with my depression and anxiety by coming with me on trail walks on the weekends. Because finances are normally the source of most of my frustrations, we learned that a majority of the trails near Orlando are both free and fun to explore. This allows me to get away from my computer into the fresh air, take pictures of “happy” moments, and not have to worry about “issues” for an hour or so. This has helped me a lot, so I hope it’s an idea that you might like too. ❤

    1. StellaB

      Nature is wonderful! Money tends to be a source of depression for me too… but I have babies so we find free things to do around town. We’re not too far from Orlando so sometimes we go and just walk around Disney Springs. I have a post coming up on free things to do alone when you’re depressed (or with a friend)! I’m jotting that one down! <3

  22. Jennifer Morrison

    I love that you are sharing so opening from your heart. I believe this is a great conversation! I love getting up in the morning because I know my most productive hours are 6am-9am and I don’t want to miss them. So I typically make and freeze a bunch of breakfasts so I can heat up yesterdays coffee, heat up my freezer breakfast, eat, read my Bible, and be to work (I work from home) in 30 minutes. On Monday’s I am more tired so I am a little more laid back. I more struggle with pressing through afternoons. I use up so much energy in the morning I have to bargin with myself to be productive in the afternoon when I would really rather take a nap, or scroll on facebook.

    1. StellaB

      I totally get that! The afternoon push is rough! I have to be at work at 640am so I’m forced to be productive that early. By 2pm, I’m so exhausted I can’t stand straight. I try to push through but I usually need coffee to do so. It sounds like you have a great routine in place to get through the mornings!

  23. Kim

    The early mornings have become important to me too. I go to sleep the same time as the kids so early morning is my only me time!

    1. StellaB

      Girl my kids can SMELL when I wake up… and won’t shut their eyes till I sleep. So yea. No time at all ever lol

  24. Cindy

    Great suggestions! I’ve definitely rewarded myself with something fun, to motivate me.

  25. Pauline

    These are all really great ideas when you’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning. I will share them at my work.

    1. StellaB

      I’m so glad you’re able to share these! I hope it helps someone!

  26. Amanda

    I love these ideas. Especially the one about having something to look forward to. That is always good motivation for me.

  27. T.M. Brown

    I am a list maker myself, but have been struggling with getting them written down. I love planners, but can’t seem to find one that works for me. I totally hear you about trying to find motivation – giving yourself a reason to get up, to move, to accomplish at least one of those tasks on the mental to-do list. I’m glad you found a way to cope and I hope you guys had a great time at legoland!

    1. StellaB

      What kind of planner do you feel would help you? I love the ones with a lot of lines for each day so I can detail my to-do lists there. I also love using planner stickers which brighten up my planner as well! Let me know what could help and I might be able to design a planner that works for you.

  28. Nicki

    ‘Something to look forward to’ is a big one for me. Good read. Thank you.

  29. Amber Dunn

    Making plans definitely helps me when I struggle with depression

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