Bed Rotting the latest millennial lingo: Is Gen Z falling prey to another ‘harmless’ trend on TikTok?

Bed Rotting is a new social media 'self-care' trend where young people lay in bed to binge-watch TV shows and devour junk food in an attempt to 'detox' themselves.

The Gen Z have discovered a new trend. On TikTok, feeds related to a phenomenon named “bed rotting” have garnered more than 130 million views. Despite its distasteful name, Gen Z has been endorsing it as a positive practice or a coping mechanism to deal with the over-stimulating, relentlessly busy, and fast-paced world.

What is ‘bed rotting‘? It is the trend of staying in one’s bed for extended periods to relish a state of torpor by not sleeping but engaging in passive activities like snacking, binge-watching favourite TV shows, doing skin care, or just laying awake and staring at the ceiling. In simple words, this is the youth’s way to normalise inactivity and a sweet rebellion against toxic workaholism.

Fortunately, this is one of those ‘low risk’ trends where young people do not pose an immediate danger to their well-being. However, elders and experts have opined that if not carried out in moderation, engaging in ‘bed rotting’ shall eventually end up jeopardising Gen Z’s mental and physical health.

Why did ‘bed rotting’ become popular?

Psychologists have deduced that the act of ‘taking a break to do absolutely nothing’ can help relax the body and enable one to cope with stress and exhaustion. ‘Bed Rotting’ can work remarkably for those who toil for long hours in physically or mentally demanding jobs or activities. 

Since lounging on one’s bed for an extensive period is frowned upon by society, ‘bed rotting’ emerges as a guilty pleasure that gets collectively endorsed by the youth. Our society takes pride in glorifying the ‘grind culture’ — being productive or busy the whole time. Hence, the youth have countered this narrative by introducing ‘bed rotting’ as a way to recharge themselves without anyone calling them ‘lazy.’

How ‘bed rotting’ can become as bad as it sounds?

Experts opine that ‘bed rotting’ may benefit in the short term, but it gets concerning if carried out for more than one or two days. They believe that if ‘bed rotting’ becomes a habitual behaviour — it serves as a precursor of clinical depression and other mental health issues. Lack of physical activity and exercise in the farce of ‘bed rotting’ might trigger cardiovascular diseases and diabetes among the youth.

Doctors believe that spending excessive time in bed can lead to sleeping disorders. Since our minds ideally associate our beds with ‘sleeping’ and ‘intimacy’, lounging in bed can end up confusing our minds, and it might take us more time to unwind or fall asleep than usual. Researchers have discovered how excessive screentime before hitting the sack can lead to insomnia. 

Teenagers across the globe have the misconception that staying in bed can alleviate their anxiety and troubles. However, a habit like this can lead to acute ‘social isolation’ that can invoke further mental and physical complications. Since we have been living in gregarian societies since the dawn of mankind — socialising and communicating have always served as a natural energiser. Thus, cutting oneself off from the intricate nexus of society and shifting to social media can be devastating to mental health

A psychologist has rightly deduced, “Bed rotting could start as self-care to rest but then turn into fewer productive or enjoyable activities, more time on social media, more sleep issues, more social isolation, and lead to more depression.”

How you can ‘bed rot’ in a safe way:

It is perfectly okay to feel lethargic now and then. However, there are healthier ways of spending leisure time than binge-watching movies or scrolling through social media while devouring junk food. One can talk to one’s friends, practice mindfulness through meditation and yoga, or engage in other ‘feel good activities’ like writing a journal or reading a book. 

One must realise that though bed rotting may provide temporary relief, it should never become a daily habit. The urge to shut oneself out from the world can be a symptom of clinical depression or acute mental anxiety. Hence, seeking professional help can go a long way to saving one’s life. 

“Closing your eyes at a problem doesn’t make the problem go away.” Gen Z must realise how social isolation is a greater threat to mental health than workaholism.

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