Mental health and addiction recovery are so important for overall quality of life for many people, yet can seem like a quagmire when it comes to the options available to help you get there. As a practical and realistic person, I think it is helpful to sometimes pull things down to the basics and start from there. Hence, why today I am writing about the importance of making your bed.
Sound like a strange suggestion? It probably will not if you have ever participated in a residential treatment program for addiction or mental health. One of the first messages that gets thrust into everyone’s faces (whether they like it or not) is to get up and make their bed. Some people become resentful of this mandate in these programs and push back, yet others can understand and experience the utility of this. So how come making your bed would have health value?
- It provides routine. Most of us understand the importance that routine has in life. Without a system to do things regularly, actions tend to happen sporadically or, even more realistically, not at all. Ever had a commitment to work out that didn’t happen? Or a commitment to eat healthier that went nowhere? Yeah, lack of routine is like that. You have intention without follow-through.
- It provides structure. Structure is an important part of routine. When we have a goal that we would like to execute regularly, we need to bring it into a framework that can support its execution. Getting up and making your bed is structured because when you get up, that is what you do, and therefore links to this becoming a routine habit. One healthy habit can then link to others.
- It sets the precedent for the day. Ever heard of the phrase “Messy space, messy mind”? There is a lot of truth to this idea that our external environment is a reflection of our internal reality. If our insides are a mess, our outsides may reflect that and vice versa. Therefore, we may not have our internal messes figured out, but keeping our environment organized, tidy, and manageable puts us on the path of having the energy and clarity to work on our internal selves.
- It is part of reparenting. When I posted this as a TikTok video, I had someone make the point that making the bed can also be part of healing from childhood trauma and the reparenting process. If these seem like new or big concepts to you, you are not alone. Let’s break it down: Often childhood trauma involves unpredictability, abuse, or neglect which can lead to the environment being in a state of disarray. While this may be familiar, it is not helpful as it triggers the brain to go back down those trauma memory pathways. Making the bed becomes a way to exert influence in your current life, change those childhood pathways, show self-love to yourself, and begin to take ownership for your self-care (which is what reparenting is all about).
- It is an act of self-love. Does anyone really like climbing into a messy, unmade bed at the end of the day? No. Making the bed in the morning is an act of kindness and self-love to your future self who is going to crawl into bed tired at the end of the day and who you believe deserves to come to a bed that is welcoming, fresh and inviting. If you don’t believe this about yourself, never fear! The act itself of making the bed, even if you start doing it for other intentions, will start to send an indirect message of worth and value which will start to translate to other areas of your life.
If I have not sold you yet on the value and significance for your mental health of making the bed upon waking, that is okay. Perhaps you are not at a point yet where this seems actionable, but I hope you will keep this idea in your memory bank and come back to it when you are ready because making your bed may be a key building block to your health and wellness and I want that for you; I hope you want it for yourself.
Happy bed making everyone!
About the author: Paige has been an avid bed maker since childhood. It has provided comfort, stability and routine when things felt unpredictable and messy in her life and the inner tidy part of her self really enjoys spreading that comforter smooth in the morning and organizing the decorative pillows. It feels great to walk into a room that looks like a hotel in your own home every night. It is the gift of luxury and love that she has needed.