A Chronic Pain Life: Finding Motivation When All You Want To Do Is Stay In Bed

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There are probably two reasons why you don’t want to get out of bed today. The first one is because you have chronic pain and it is painful to get out of bed (duh!) You don’t want to be in constant agony by moving around throughout the day, so you’ve decided to hunker down under the covers. The second reason you don’t want to get out of bed is because you are feeling the depression that comes with a difficult disease, such as chronic pain. You feel unmotivated and useless. You don’t see any reason to get out of bed because it’s not like you can do much with your day anyway.

Both of these reasons totally suck, but they also are very real. Pain and depression that come alongside a chronic pain diagnosis are crippling. Chances are that if you could, you would just stay in bed for the rest of your life. But, you’re also a smart, dedicated, delightful person underneath it all. You don’t want to feel this way. It doesn’t feel good to lie in bed all day.

So if you hate the feeling of being trapped in your bed all day, try these simple tasks to help you find motivation to get up.

Set one goal for every day.
When we say that you need to make a goal, you’re probably already assuming it’s going to have to be a large and impossible task, like cleaning the entire first floor of your home or going grocery shopping and cooking a fancy French dinner. No, that isn’t what we mean by a goal.

In fact, when you’re truly feeling the wave of depression that comes with chronic pain, it’s a good idea to keep the goal as simple as possible. Maybe your goal could be just getting out of bed long enough to take a shower. Or go sit on the couch when your kids get home from school.

Your goal doesn’t need to be flashy and outrageous. Think of something really small you’d like to accomplish that day. Then, do it. Even if you really, really don’t want to.

Avoid putting too much on your plate.
Sometimes the hardest days with chronic pain are the ones where you know that you have a lot going on and you have already decided that you can’t do it. When you’re feeling especially unmotivated, try to avoid taking on too much. The simpler you can make your schedule the better.

We know that there will be days when you just have to be somewhere and can’t get out of it. But try to even out those days with a few days where you don’t have a lot of priorities, errands or tasks. Don’t overwhelm yourself or scare your motivation away with too much to do.

Work your way up to a whole day out of bed.
When you’ve gone a few days (or weeks) with very little motivation, it may be time to begin working your way up to a habit. You can begin by simply trying to stay out of bed for two hours every day. When you have successfully done that for a few days, move on to three hours out of bed every day.

Push yourself to keep up with these goals. They will be beneficial for you because they’ll give you little goals that you know you’re capable of, and it will also help you build up some stamina and confidence. When it comes to tackling a monster as large as chronic pain depression, it’s the little things that will make all the difference in the world.

You will likely still have plenty of days where getting out of bed is the toughest obstacle you’ve ever faced. This is just the reality of living with chronic pain. But, your success comes from every time you try something little to stay motivated. We know you can do it.


About the Author
Katie Cleary is founder of  She lives with her autoimmune conditions and her family in Austin, Texas.

This post contains opinions of the author. is not a medical practice and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  It is your responsibility to seek diagnosis, treatment, and advice from qualified providers based on your condition and particular circumstances.  Camino Real Ventures, Inc., the company that makes available to you, does not endorse nor recommend any products, practices, treatment methods, tests, physicians, service providers, procedures, clinical trials, opinions or information available on this website.  Your use of the website is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy


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