Do you like to lie down?

Many of us like to lie down and spend more time in bed on the weekends, enjoying a long-awaited break. Maybe we eat breakfast in bed, read the newspapers, sleep intermittently, catch up on our sleep, get comfortable with our partners.

It’s a pleasure of a time, a lovely way to spend a lazy Saturday or Sunday. Laying back on days off or on vacation is a great way to manage stress, relax, and reconnect with important areas of our lives.

Yet throughout the global pandemic, every day has become a weekend for many of us. There is no real pressure to get out of bed. And since many children are homeschooled and companies embrace working from home as their preferred option, getting up in the morning has become a slower and less urgent requirement.

But as time goes on, is this a healthy way to live? Yes, we all like to lay down once in a while, but if every day seems like a weekend, are we creating good habits for the future? Are we in danger of getting used to sleeping too much and developing an unfortunate approach to our days?

Having a reason to get up in the morning gives us a sense of urgency. If every day feels the same, without real structure or purpose, it can become demotivating and depressing. “Why bother? I’ll do it another time” may well become the way of thinking.

Certainly the mental health of children has become a growing concern as both parents and children struggle with parents who are not equipped to teach or have other things to do. Staying in bed in the morning is a way to put off the start of another boring day, especially when there is no face-to-face teaching or social contact that children can expect.

A survey from January 2021 (The Guardian newspaper, January 29) revealed that more than 80% of teachers had found that their students’ mental health had deteriorated over the previous two years, and the number increased to 90% in higher education students. Feelings of helplessness, bad mood, loss of motivation have been evidenced. Students who refuse to get out of bed, wash, dress or attend classes, instead of staying up late, playing games with their friends online have become increasingly common.

While quality sleep is an important component of managing stress, health, and well-being, sleeping too much or the wrong kind of sleep doesn’t help and can lead to apathy, lethargy, and inertia. Think of those times when you’ve had a headache after staying in bed too long on the weekends or felt really groggy at Christmas after days of eating, drinking, and sleeping in front of the TV.

When resting becomes less of a pleasure and more and more part of our regular routine, it loses its benefits and charm. Lying down and sleeping too much becomes a problem.

– Address the reasons why are you lying so often. Is it because every day they are merging, a kind of Groundhog Day, where yesterday, today and tomorrow all have the same quality aimlessly, ‘here we go again’? Motivation, perspective, and gratitude can help raise the bar a bit.

– Reflect on what you have. Do you live near a beautiful field, do you have a nice home, food, clothes, warmth, Internet access? All of these can become invisible after spending months indoors, but focus on what you have and try to manage each day, one at a time. Appreciate the importance of fresh air and exercise and how it benefits your mood and quality of sleep.

– Enter a reason for getting up. You may decide to go for an early morning walk at your local park or field. Dog walkers have an advantage as they rarely lie down and often see familiar faces, they can share a bit of friendly interaction and some banter! Or there could be an early online class that appeals to you; Many exercise classes, network meetings, and training sessions have gone online, and several of them are free or nominally priced to attend.

– Have someone to whom you are responsible, someone who is on a similar wavelength, who appreciates your situation and understands how you feel. When you know that you are going to talk about your day, it is a good motivator to get up and encourages you to have a success or two to report.

– Plan the night before, with options for fine and rainy days. Giving yourself something to look forward to can give you the motivation and impetus to get up, get dressed, and go out.

– Commit to going to bed a little earlier. It can be tempting to waste mornings, then feel guilty and stay up late to catch up on the things we should have done. Or maybe we’ve gotten used to lazing around, staying home with little reason to go out, possibly not even dressing properly, sleeping intermittently, and watching TV until the wee hours of the morning.

Commit to cleaner habits that add a little more structure to your days. Then you can really appreciate those moments when you decide to lie down and relax.