"The 'One Hour Rule' I use on days when mental illness makes it hard to get out of bed."

As much as I would love to be one of those people who jump out of bed in the mornings, wide-eyed, refreshed and ready to take on the day ahead, it just isn’t me. I am not a morning person at all. That being said, on the good days when I plan things to look forward to, or am in a good head space, mornings are inevitably easier. However, on the difficult mornings, my bed holds me hostage. I don’t want to face the day, I don’t want to wake up and I certainly don’t want to leave the cosy sanctuary of my blankets.

But I have found something that helps. I call it the “one hour rule.”

Within one hour of waking up, I have to be out of my bed. If I look at the clock when I wake up and it is 9 a.m., by 10 a.m., I cannot still be lying in bed. I am a competitive person, and even some gentle competition with my own brain helps me sometimes.

I tell myself: Just try. Get out of bed and get up. If it doesn’t work, and in an hour you feel worse, then you can go back to bed. And sometimes, I will. And that’s OK. But I make myself try. Try to taste the day. I don’t have to like it, I just have to do it.

I have to be up though. I have to be doing or moving or creating. It can work like a domino effect. If I am up, I may as well take a shower, may as well make some breakfast, and hey — seeing as I’m already up, I might just leave the house today.

Listen: Robin Bailey and Bec Sparrow talk about why you need more sleep and how to get it. Post continues after audio.

I can’t promise that it always works like this, but one thing I do know is that I always feel better for giving it a go.

I encourage you to give yourself one hour, 60 minutes, 3,600 seconds.

It might suck, and you may get out of your bed just to end up on the floor instead, or sitting on the landing, or you might sit on the shower floor. But at least you tried. You got up and you gave today a chance. You did the absolute best that you could, and there is no shame in that. It does not go unnoticed.

There is so much power in baby steps. You can do a lot with sixty minutes.

You are fighting. You still got out of bed.

This article was first published on The Mighty and republished here with full permission.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner or in Australia, contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.