#askingforme is an advice column featuring Grace Sanders, a psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience helping people improve their “human-in-process” stuff. Send questions to her by email or use the anonymous form below.
I recently turned 40 and have been struggling a bit with where my life is. I mean, I have a pretty good job that I like and a happy marriage, but lately I just find myself sort of dreading my daily existence. When the alarm goes off in the morning, I think to myself, “Ugh, do I really have to get up and go do this all again?” Am I depressed? Why don’t I want to get out of bed in the morning? Once I get up and get going about my day, I generally enjoy it. But, I’m worried that I don’t feel more excited to greet the day when I wake up.
– Don’t Wanna Get Out of Bed
Dear Don’t Wanna Get Out of Bed,
Getting out of bed is hard, so bravo, you, for doing it every day!
I’ve often thought it would make a great documentary to travel the world and ask many different kinds of people, “What gets you out of bed?”
Perhaps it would be better to ask, “HOW do you get out of bed?” Because it seems we’ve come to believe that the happy people awaken, ready to leap out of bed with a sense of joy and gratitude in the glory and majesty of being alive, eager to embark upon the opportunities that await them in the day ahead. We imagine them springing out of bed, ecstatic to greet the day, and in comparison, we think we must be doing something wrong. Moreover, and more insidiously, we think something must be wrong with us. And so begins the day with our minds already laden with self-criticism, spinning in the feeling that we don’t do enough, we don’t have enough, that we, ourselves, are not enough.
I wonder when this happened. When did the so-called “ordinary”—the get up and go to work, walk the dog, do the grocery shopping, pay the bills, make dinner, enjoy the company of loved ones, take a walk, brush your teeth, go to bed, and get up and do it all again—become not enough? When did waking up each day and doing your life as it is become not enough?
The real question, Don’t Wanna Get Out of Bed, is: Is it enough for you? And if it is (and it sounds like it is), then I encourage you to relax, enjoy, and embrace it. If it’s not, figure out what is missing and try to add that. But don’t immediately assume that because getting out of bed is hard that something is wrong with you or that you are not enough. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that others are literally leaping out of bed doing more meaningful, more exciting things than you.
Just remember to treat yourself with self-loving kindness, and understand how challenging it can be to muster the capacity to face each day with a sense of intention instead of comparing yourself with some illusive “other.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with you just because getting out of bed is hard. For many of us, getting out of bed might be the hardest thing we do all day.
With light and love,