In a culture that often glorifies a hustler’s mentality (like Steve Harvey saying “Rich people don’t sleep eight hours a day”), the idea of doing nothing, for many people, can bring about feelings of guilt. This is likely why many of us will believe we wasted a day off if we don’t get something, anything accomplished. You’ve probably had a friend, or been the friend, who even when given opportunities for rest, spent free time doing everything but resting, only to find themselves complaining of being weary when it’s time to return to their regularly scheduled program. So maybe it’s time they, or you, get into the latest TikTok trend: “bed rotting.”
So the name is gross. We can all agree on that. However, the practice is not. Gen Z, who are all for doing less, whether that’s lazy girl jobs or living the “soft life,” are behind this trend. It entails, according to CBS News, lying in your bed all day, doing things that might help you relax; this includes binge-watching TV shows and movies, eating snacks, mindlessly scrolling, and sleeping, of course, all from your bed.
It’s received some criticism from experts who believe that when done excessively, bed rotting can do more harm than good. But alas, to that I say, isn’t that the case with everything? If not done in moderation, you can fall into a pit of problems with just about anything that is meant to be a good thing. And the alternatives they suggest, for instance, going for a walk, exercising and more, still involve being active, as opposed to really just sitting still. Sometimes what busybodies really need is to be still.
But if done every now and then, allowing yourself to truly just kick back and rest, it could be a great way to practice self-care. And if you’re someone who rarely feels relaxed, it could be a useful practice to integrate into your routine sometimes.
Truthfully speaking, as a mother of two who works long hours and finds myself at the very late end of the night realizing I didn’t get to do much for myself, even if it’s not a full day and instead, short blocks of time, it could also be to the mental benefit of overworked and overwhelmed Black women to “hit the sack.”
But no, it doesn’t need to be about sitting up, eyes wide open on phones, tablets and laptops. We need to do a lot less of that. Instead, productive outlets for the exhaustion that’s led you to bed rot in the first place, is key.
Experts say that coloring can put your mind in a meditative state, allowing you to relieve stress and improve your mood. Adult coloring books can certainly be calming outlets. There are many that can be affirming, like Color Me Melanin by Brooke T. Rankins, and fun too, like color it black by Jassimine Davis and Marcia Ximena.
Catch up on reading
If you can’t think of the last time you read a good book, or any book for that matter, “bed rotting” could be a good time to catch up on the recommendations you’ve had written down in your Notes or saved in your cart for far too long. If following a plot feels like too much work for you while “rotting,” a magazine is always a great option. Not to toot our own horn, but ESSENCE’s print magazine has stories that are both insightful and entertaining!
When life leaves you overwhelmed to the point where you can’t focus in on your own thoughts, write them down. Journaling not only helps you to manage anxiety and stress, but it also allows you to see patterns in the way you think, things you feel and how you deal with them, which are important things to share with a therapist. In addition to that, it’s stress-reducing because it allows you to get it all out without judgment.
You don’t have to rot alone! Cozying up in bed, doing a whole lot of nothing with your romantic partner, your BFF or your kid(s) can be a nice way to spend the day. Order in, agree on a movie (or to watch both of your suggestions since you have nothing else to do) and kill two birds with one stone by relaxing and spending quality time with your favorite person – or pet!
You can’t go wrong in your rotting practice if the time is spent catching up on sleep. Stress is unavoidable for most people, but it can be a lot more difficult to cope with if you aren’t getting enough rest. It can expose you to more opportunities to get sick, to put on weight and to fall out with people because you’re cranky due to a lack of sleep. Of course, if you’re sleeping to the point where you can’t seem to get out of the bed for much at all, that is a signal of something deeper going on that you should speak to a mental health professional about. But taking time to make love to your pillow when your body says you need to is nothing to wag a finger at. Sleep, sis.