The term “bed rotting” is taking off on social media. It’s when someone decides to spend all day in bed scrolling through social media or binge-watching their favorite show.
Some younger people are embracing it as a form of self-care, but when can it turn negative for their mental health?
“Bed rotting can become a problem if you are doing it in the context to avoid something, or you feel like you are not physically or emotionally able to get out of bed,” says Dr. Emily Mudd, a child psychologist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “For example, if you’re staying in bed because you’re anxious about something or you’re doing it to avoid social interactions.”
Mudd notes constant pressure to be productive can be overwhelming, especially for kids.
With this in mind, taking a day off to rest in bed isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
She says that time to relax can help a child de-stress, but urges against using a concept like bed rotting as a primary coping skill.
Spending too much time in bed can lead to social isolation, which is a risk factor for mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.
She encourages parents to keep an open, non-judgmental dialogue with their kids about mental health and adds parents should seek the help of a medical professional if a child is showing symptoms of depression or anxiety.
“If you’re a parent and your child has been spending significant periods of time in bed, that is a raise for concern,” Mudd says. “Children have social, developmental and emotional needs that cannot be met by being solitary in bed. They have activity-based needs, like being with peers and academic learning. Although rest is important, these activities are crucial for social, emotional and cognitive development.”
—Cleveland Clinic, clevelandclinic.org