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Over the last thirty years of being a professional counselor, I have obviously dealt with a wide range of people and an even wider range of issues. Depression is one of the issues that I have seen in a growing number of clients over the last decade. There are countless factors for this increase, and there are an equally high number of potential solutions to the problem. One of the first assignments that I give to all of my clients that are trying to overcome their battle with depression is to wake up to an alarm clock.
It sounds bizarre, I know, but I have found over the years that many of my clients dealing with depression all have one symptom in common: they sleep too much and they hate getting up and starting their days. It seems to be a quite obvious result of feeling depressed. I mean really, who can’t wait to get up and start a day if they are feeling depressed and hopeless about life. It makes total sense. And that is why I have started encouraging my clients to wake up to an alarm clock in the morning. Far too many people dealing with depression are so tired all the time that they figure that more sleep must be the answer. They figure that not setting and alarm and just letting themselves wake up on their own time must be the best way to get rested. Wrong.
If you are sleepy all the time, one of the worst things you can do is to let yourself sleep as much as you feel like. Especially when you are in the depths of dealing with depression, you need to be forced to get up and start your day even if you are tired. An alarm clock can be the perfect way to begin the battle against depression. I encourage my clients to set their alarm for a reasonable hour even if they have no where in particular to go the next morning. Making themselves get up and face the day is very important.
I have found that clients who begin waking up in the mornings to an alarm are slowly but surely gaining back a sense of purpose and even excitement about their days. They are slowly beginning to anticipate the sound of the alarm and to make themselves get moving no matter how they feel. It has been impressive to see people who were unable to get out of bed before noon getting up with an alarm around eight in the morning and taking time to get physically active before they start the day.
Waking up to an alarm will not be able to solve all of the problems associated with depression, but when partnered with other life choices, getting up to an alarm can be a great step in the battle against depression.