What to Do When You Have Morning Depression

December 11, 2019 Mahevash Shaikh

Is there a way to overcome morning depression that makes you want to stay home from work? After all, when you have depression, waking up can be the hardest part of the day. In fact, mornings themselves are more difficult to deal with than other times of the day because after hours of a good or disturbed night's sleep, you have to confront your depression once again. And unlike when you are sleeping, morning is when you are fully conscious of your depression and all its features.

In such a dire state, work is naturally the last thing you want to do. But you can't call in sick every day and there's only so many mental health days you can take at work. Here's how you can deal with morning depression, show up at work, and actually get work done in the early hours of the day.

Ways to Tackle Morning Depression

Accept You Have Morning Depression and It's Not Your Fault

There's this general consensus that you should feel fresh, rested, and all set to take on a new day when you wake up in the morning. Sure, there are people who declare that they are not a morning person, but morning depression is so much more intense than simply preferring to wake up later in the day.

Remember, you are not lazy, unmotivated, or worthless because you want to stay in bed all day. You are feeling this way solely because it is a symptom of depression, so come to terms with the fact that you have morning depression and you are not to blame. Acceptance and "unshouldering" the blame will help you deal with morning depression in a healthy way.

Also, always be kind to yourself and set your alarm to an earlier time than usual so you can start your day on a calm and relaxed note.

Eat a Healthy and Nutritious Breakfast

Since you haven't eaten since last night, your blood sugar levels are low and can only be replenished by a healthy and nutritious breakfast. Now some people either reach for unhealthy processed foods like cereal or skip breakfast altogether. Both are bad ideas as the former will make you feel hungry and irritable after a few hours and the latter will make you even more tired, hungry and irritable. So no matter how nauseous you feel just thinking about food, make sure you have as much of it as possible ("List of Best Foods for Fighting Depression").

A sunny side up egg, peanut butter on some whole wheat bread, and an espresso are how I start most days. On the days that I skip one of the above, I find it much harder to get through the day. Also, on days when I am feeling too sick to eat, I reward myself with a very small portion of junk food, like a chocolate chip cookie. When you have breakfast including a stimulant like coffee or tea, you are just one step closer to showing up at work on time. The next steps are to take a quick shower (if you can), get dressed, and leave your house for work. 

Make a Prioritized To-Do List for the Day

Firstly, congratulate yourself for making it to work despite your lack of motivation. Now all you have to do is wait for the morning to pass to feel better. In the meanwhile, you can dip your toe in the pool of tasks by making a to-do list and then prioritizing each task based on how soon it needs to be done. The list will help you see which tasks you need to do on an urgent basis and which tasks can wait a little while.

Once you have a clear picture of your workday, you can focus on the most important tasks and further break them down so that they are easier to accomplish. Mornings are also the time when meetings are often scheduled, so if you find yourself lost and daydreaming, take a notebook and a pen to each meeting. Taking notes will not only help you remember what was discussed, but it will also prevent you from nodding off during meetings. 

What do you do to get through morning depression? Share your thoughts in the comments.

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2019, December 11). What to Do When You Have Morning Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 20 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

December, 13 2019 at 7:41 am

I completely agree with the breakfast point. People tend to underestimate the importance of a healthy breakfast.

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