Monday, September 23, 2013

Getting Out of Bed. 5 Ideas to Help When It's Hard to Face The Day.

Every day begins with an act of courage and hope: getting out of bed. ~Mason Cooley

When I first read this quote it made me laugh. 

Yes! I thought. Courage is definitely needed as winter begins to hint at its arrival. 
As hope for a dry, crisp day replaces the hope of a warm, scented one. 

As mornings become darker and colder, the changing seasons do that to you. They can make you want to hold the covers high around your body and squeeze your eyes tighter to stop the grey light from seeping in.  

I wonder how many of you feel this way on a Monday morning. (Or Tuesday or Wednesday....)

Sleep is a quiet, contemplative space. A time where you can retreat inside of yourself, into your dreams and thoughts and nothingness.

For some, getting out of bed is more than just getting over the alarm clock nudge. It takes true courage and hope to face another day. 

You may have had the odd day like that. Or many in a row.

I have learned that when you live with chronic pain, emotional turmoil or serious illness as patient or caregiver, as parent or spouse - sleep is a balm, 
a relief 
and a break 
from the unpredictable, relentlessness of the situation.

I have learned that as a spouse, parent and caregiver sleep is nurturing and restorative and something that is yours alone. (Unless you have a newborn or sneaky 2 yr old).

And lack of it is detrimental to your mind, body and soul.

In these cases I think it truly takes courage and hope to get out of bed and face another day.

It takes tremendous reserves of energy, when previous days have been measured in
the volume of tears, 
the number on the pain scale, 
The quantity of pills swallowed, 
multiple doctors' or therapy visits 
or phone calls.  

When previous days have felt like you have been dragging yourself through treacle, or quicksand then each day seems to present itself in the same gloom, over and over. It becomes something you expect.


If each day's focus has become a monitoring of pain of some kind, how do you register that there is less of it or none at all? 

When you or your loved one is pain-free even for a few minutes:-Do you mark those days?
Do you take note and write them down?
Do you stop and marvel at the fact that that minute, or that hour or even that whole day was a good one?

It is not easy to pull yourself out of the waiting, fighting, recovering mode that a chronic situation can put you in.

But I for one am trying.


Because I've realized that I want to remember the good moments, I want to go to sleep more peacefully and I want to wake up with courage and hope for the new day ahead...... 

If you do too, here are 5 ideas I am working on and you can try.


At night in bed just before you go to sleep, in your head, list the people in your life you are thankful for from the day that has just past. My list might include the plumber who fixed my leaky sink. My son's pediatrician who responded quickly to a phone call I had made to him and my youngest son who made me laugh ( again) with his sweet jokes.

2. Intention

In the morning I try to set an intention for the day. As I open my eyes, before anyone can change my mind, I set out my goal. I say to myself "Today is a good day."

3. Review

As the day goes on, even if it is a tough one and believe me, just 5 minutes into it, I can be seriously challenged try to find a moment that feels good to you - 

I try to notice the sunlight streaming through the branches, the comforting buzz of a coffee shop as I write, or an email from an old friend. So that I can say "This is a good moment!" or a marvelous minute or a happy hour.........

Sometimes it has been really hard to find that 'good' moment. 

But if/when it occurs I want to remember it happened. If we don't forget the tough ones, we need to balance them and take a snapshot of the rosier times!

4. Release

I am slowly learning to say "Let it go!" when I can't do it all. And then remember not to perseverate over it. 

So even when I know a friend could do with some extra support, the school needs volunteers or I should invite my neighbors over for lunch, when I feel that 'trailing through treacle' feeling coming on, I give myself permission to let it go. Really. LET IT GO

5. Comfort

Create a soothing morning ritual and stick with it to carry you from the comfort of your bed to the first challenge of the day. 

No way am I getting out of bed if we've finished the teabags... so I always make sure we have a good stock of strong British tea. And even if it is for 2 minutes, Jonny and I sit together and sip that cuppa, before the morning mayhem begins.

These are all a work in progress. 

What gives you courage and hope each day? 

How do you mark the good moments in the tough times? 

Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

Wishing you many hopeful moments this week and the courage to recognize them. :-)


Thank you to my dear friend N for inspiring this post.

 Please email me at or leave a comment on this post below. I'd love to have your feedback. 

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  1. Weeping at my desk. Poignant, real, challenging. What a thoughtful piece. Thank you, Gilly. xx

  2. Thank you so much for this informative post! I am also a caregiver to my husband, who was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder in 2003 (my son is our research hound, and has told me it is the rarest blood disorder on the planet). I just started a blog on our experiences as well, since we have learned so much along the way, and more medically than I ever thought we needed to know. I look forward to checking in with you. Again, thank you!

  3. Hi Marie, Thank you very much for visiting and leaving a message. I made a return message and tried to leave this on your blog but was unable to input the missing piece of the sum ( I don't think it was due to my lack of simple math skills!) here is what I wanted to write on your blog...

    .Your visit to my blog-prompted a hello back! What a story you have to tell and how beautifully and poignantly you tell it. I think our boys are around the same age and much of what you describe in coming to terms with rare chronic illness resonates deeply with me. I'm so glad we have 'met' and look forward to keeping in touch.
    Warmest wishes to you.

    1. Thank you, Gilly. I also meant to mention how much I liked your son's blog, and will send the link to my boys as well. What a helpful and confident young man he is to reach out and help other kids who are going through the same thing!

      I'm sorry there was a problem with the verification on my page. I will get my tech guy (my oldest son) to fix it. Thank you for your kind words about my blog...dealing with illness has been quite the roller coaster ride, as you know yourself, and it is so hard trying to help the children understand and deal with things while we desperately try to keep it together ourselves. I am also deeply grateful we have met and look forward to our keeping in touch. Take care, Marie

    2. Marie, I will let my son know you enjoyed his post. Nothing like a child to set adults straight about what they need, in plain English! It is hard to hear their anguish and to hold them up when, as you say, we can barely keep ourselves together, but so important that they communicate it. I will subscribe to your blog so that I can keep up with your updates and keep in touch. Looking forward to more conversations and continuing mutual support. Gilly

    3. You are so right, and that is what makes children so refreshing...what you see is what you get! As you say, communication is so important. We've always taught them that any issue can be resolved if they just communicate...whether they know 'the answer' or not, just speaking about it will keep it on the table. Thank you for subscribing to my blog....I am subscribing to yours as well, and look forward to helping each other and keeping in touch. Marie

    4. Marie-I tried to subscribe, but I think I may need to be a Wordpress blogger. I will get the head tech honcho in my house ( ie anyone but me) to take a look!:-) -Gilly

    5. Thank you Gilly. Let me know if you continue to have problems with the subscription function. Marie

  4. Hi Gilly, a little story. When I was a small (American) girl visiting the home of my mother's lifelong friend in London, I encountered a little girl named Gilly. I ignored her and she ignored me. When I first came to your blog a year or so ago, I imagined you were the same person, since in my whole life, I only met one Gilly. Then I laughed at my ridiculous thought process.

    Fast forward to this past yom tov, and my mother happened to mention that the friend's cousin's daughter lives in Washington, so I think my first instinct was correct... all without mentioning your name or your blog to my mom (can't do that). But I do love small world connections. In any event, your cousins and my family have always been very close; my parents just went to London for your cousins' 50th anniversary a year or so ago.

    Your blog is very interesting to me as my youngest child is autistic; I also have a couple of other boys with more minor special needs, and three older girls that I call "regular needs". I do try to let things go when I know I've reached my limits. My life has changed a lot since having a special needs child, but it's more my perspective on the world, rather than my day-to-day existence (though that, too, has also changed). Thanks for taking the time to blog.

  5. Wow! You have a great memory and that is quite a story!Of course I am racking my brain trying to picture this scenario and put the seeds of your story together..... I'm very happy that we have matured enough to 'talk' to each other now and that you have found my blog!!
    I agree. Life altering situations with our spouses/parents and children lead to changes in our world perspectives and the value we place on certain things we might otherwise take for granted. It sounds as though you have your hands full with your brood. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I'm glad the posts resonate with you.

    What a lovely surprise. I'd love to chat to you more off-line where everything is guaranteed confidential. You can email me at if you would like, so that we can continue a very belated conversation....Gilly

  6. I never really thought about why people don't want to get out of bed on a Monday or just in general but this post hits the nail on the head as to why. Thank you so much for sharing with us on Mommy Monday! xoxo

    1. Brittnei - I guess we just have no idea what's really going on in other people's lives, but many carry and live with challenging situations, that they have to get out of bed and face each morning and they do without an end in sight...that is courage in my book. So glad you came to visit again.

  7. I love Mondays! I know that sounds crazy but I love them-- it's the day I get to date my Hubs again :) The kids are at school and it's just the two of us... we haven't been able to date much since having three kiddos. Now, that all three of my kiddos are in school and he is off Mondays, I look forward to Mondays :)
    Thanks for linking with us via MommyMonday!

    1. I think it's great that you have found a way to make time for yourself and your Hubbie, with three young kids, especially on a Monday -what a wonderful way to extend the weekend. Good for you! When my husband worked in a boarding school ,he got a Thursday off and worked at the weekends. It was fun having a weekday off together. Enjoy the time.

  8. Hi Gilly. Great post. I'm looking for share buttons and don't see them so I'll do it the old fashioned cut and paste way. You might want to add share buttons for twitter and FB and other places, or am I missing them?
    Best to you,

    1. Hi Elaine, I'm glad you enjoyed it! All the share buttons are at the bottom of the post, under the box to subscribe to the blog. They are not as prominent as hey could be. I will look in to that. Gillyx