This Anti-Anxiety Hack Actually Makes You Way More Anxious, Says A Therapist
Stress-relieving hacks truly run the gamut, and not every promising trick will work for everyone. Some people swear by breathwork, many love a good gratitude practice, and others might keep a calming essential oil on their person during times of overwhelm.
What is bed rotting?
Essentially, bed rotting involves lounging in bed for a long period of time. You may watch TV, scroll through your social media feeds, or read a book—but the key is to do those things alone. Bed rotting is a solo activity.
“They're calling it a mental health break for young people, especially,” says Grover regarding the burgeoning TikTok trend (it currently has 155 million views and counting). “They wrap themselves up in their covers, stay in bed for a good chunk of the day, and they just disengage.” The blankets quite literally create a barrier between the individual and their social world.
How it impacts mental health
Look, taking time for yourself is important, and there is something to be said about finding time to rest and recharge. We also totally believe that downtime, in and of itself, is productive time.
But as Grover declares, bed rotting is not a form of “self-care,” contrary to what many adopters believe. “Any time we disengage from our surroundings like that for a great length of time is not a very healthy choice,” she says.
I would have to agree, and I say this as someone whose bed is her ultimate sanctuary. I’m a proud Earth sign—texture is important to me, and I love being cozy. Perhaps that’s why the idea of bed rotting sounds so alluring; for many, the bedroom is a safe, peaceful space for them to recharge their social batteries.
I’d be lying if I said I never holed myself up in my room and committed to a Netflix binge. But experts—Grover included—warn that the habit can actually damage mental health over time.
See, we as humans are social beings, and quality social connections are crucial for a longer, healthier life. In fact, "Social connection is the greatest factor we know in longevity and happiness," says personalized medicine physician Molly Maloof, M.D., on another mindbodygreen podcast episode. Research has even shown that social isolation is associated with a higher risk of developing dementia.
Of course, one day of bed rotting won’t shorten your lifespan, but you might not want to let social isolation become the norm. Rather than hiding away when you feel overwhelmed, you may even want to lean into your social connections—and, on the flip-side, help out your friends who may be struggling. According to one study, people who provided emotional support to others ended up living longer lives1.
Bed rotting might sound like a harmless hack, but isolating yourself from IRL social connection will not serve your health over time. Of course, a few hours of solitude won’t completely derail your well-being goals—being alone is different than feeling lonely—but try not to make bed rotting a habit, if you can. You’d be surprised by how much better you’ll feel embracing your social relationships, as opposed to turning away.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.